Death & Dying

Benefiting Those Who are About to Die

First we generate compassion by contemplating their suffering and how they have no choice over their next rebirth. Immediately after death they will experience the fears and suffering of the bardo.

“How wonderful it would be if this person were free from samsaric rebirth. I myself will make this happen.”

If they then take rebirth as a human being they will have to experience all the various human sufferings, if they are reborn as an animal they will have to experience the sufferings of an animal, and so forth. Contemplating their suffering, from the depths of our hearts we pray:

“How wonderful it would be if this person were free from samsaric rebirth. I myself will make this happen.”

Helping The Dying

Generally, when someone is close to death it is very important not to touch any part of their body other than the crown. By touching their crown we shall cause the door of their crown chakra to open, and this will enable their consciousness to leave the body through the crown, thereby leading it to a higher rebirth. If the consciousness leaves through any of the lower doors of the body it will take rebirth in one of the lower realms. Understanding this is very important.

Also, while the dying person is still able to hear and understand what we are saying it is very important to keep their mind calm and peaceful, to encourage them, and to prevent them from becoming upset or unhappy. In this way they will die peacefully, without any disturbance.

If the dying person is a spiritual practitioner we can remind them of their daily practice, or at least recite or chant their daily prayers and mantras for them. We can also remind them of their Spiritual Guide in whom they have faith.

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All quotations from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's books copyright The New Kadampa Tradition - International Buddhist Union, all rights reserved worldwide. For more information on Geshe Kelsang's books visit Tharpa Publications.