Tag Archives: Living and Dying in Peace

CONTEMPLATIONS

Contemplations on no coming, no-going
This body is not me,
I am not limited by this body.

I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.

Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
Manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.

Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.

So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.

We meet today,
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.

Source: Living and Dying in Peace

HOW WE CAN HELP A DYING ANIMAL

Dear Friends,
Many of us have pets, work with animals and care about their end of life. We asked the following two questions:

1. How can we help a dying animal?
2. How can we help an animal that has died?

These two questions have been answered by Ringu Tulku, and Lama Tenkyab from Mindrolling monastery:

Ringu Tulku’s response:
« Generally there’s nothing separate, you don’t need to make any separation or any difference for what you do when you do when a human being dies or an animal dies from a Buddhist point of view.
So you can do anything or everything you do for a human being.
Also you can recite the names of Buddhas. Recite any mantras like Amitabha, vajrasattva, Chenrezig, Tara.
All these kind of mantras you can say.
You can also give blessed medicine to the animal before it dies or whatever you can do. »

Lama Tenkyab’s response :
« I think there’s no difference when you do puja for dog, creature, animal even the human being. These are all the same. There’s no particular practice/prayer for the dog, creature, animal, insect.
When you do prayers it’s the same for every being.
Even a small insect has consciousness,there’s no difference, only the body. Some have big bodies, some have small bodies.
Otherwise all creatures, animals, everyone needs happiness, nobody wants to suffer
There’s no particular prayer/puja for dog, creature, small insect, human being as everyone has Buddha nature. That’s what I’m thinking:-) (chuckles).»

Khenpo Rangdol’s response:
“The first question is: How can we help a dying animal.
If you know some prayers like Chenrezig, Tara, Amitabha etc you can chant these.
If you don’t know these prayers then you can just make wishes.
You can make lots of wishes like, ‘May this animal die very peacefully, without having big problems, and big difficulties.’
So making wishing prayers is very important.
If you are a Buddhist devotee you can put a little bit of these precious, blessed pills in the animal’s mouth to connect with the dharma. This is because the animal doesn’t know anything about the dharma. Wish for them to have a good rebirth in the next life as a human being or other being.
Make lots of prayers for this and share, and care, and love this dying animal.

The second question is, how to help an animal once it has died.
OK, and what practice do we do? So when the animal has already died, it’s good to recite the prayer ‘The King of Prayers’, an aspiration prayer which is one of the most powerful texts. Not only this prayer, but also Buddha Amitabha’s Pureland, Chenrezig prayers etc.
There are a number of wishing prayers as well as your own.
It would be good to offer some butter lamps, either in front of the dead animal, or at your home. Also anywhere, it doesn’t matter.
If you have some good connections with monks and nuns you can request them to say prayers for your lovely dead animal. That would be very useful.
At the same time you can make your own wishing prayers, offer butterlamps (tea lights/candles).
This is a practice that can be done.”

First published in Living and Dying in Peace.

See The Question of Euthanasia in Animals.

How can we best prepare ourselves for death?

 

That’s the same way, actually. In a way, the way you prepare others for death and the way you prepare yourself for death is more or less similar. You have to see what would work and what would not work for yourself. It’s important that as a practitioner facing death you try to prepare yourself, because when you are prepared then you don’t leave things unfinished. If you have a property, or if you have money you do whatever is necessary, you just give them to whoever you want to give to, make things clear, so that there are no problems afterwards for those left behind, fighting and things like that. Then you can concentrate on your own path and not on other irrelevant things.

Also, I think that it is important that in your life maybe you have done some good things, maybe not so good things but that’s all past so we have to forgive everything, forgive everybody, including yourself and then start a new way of life, from now. The past is past, whatever I have done, something not so good, that’s ok, it’s done, finished; if it’s something good, that’s very good. Now this moment I don’t have to feel guilty, I don’t have to feel bad about things because there’s nothing I can do about it, it’s all done but now I don’t hold onto it, I start fresh in a positive way because if I can do that, that’s the best purification.

So, about yourself, you just do what you want, really preparing yourself to die, be ready to die and then concentrate on your practice, inspire yourself, remind yourself of the teachings, listen to inspiring teachings and as much as possible you can kind of put your mind on something positive. That’s why thinking about the Buddha, thinking about the Buddha realms like the realm of Amitabha, or any other Buddha, whatever is interesting to you and also listen to the teachings of Bardo and things like that is also important. And if you can read yourself, or listen or otherwise if you cannot listen then whatever abilities you have, the main thing is that as everybody has to die, then just get ready for it, just let go, relax and don’t hang onto anything positive or negative of the past, just let go.

Q- Would Rinpoche say that we die as we have lived, that our experience of death reflects the engagement we have had with dharma and life generally?

Of course, we die as we live, it is about a state of mind, it’s not so much what I do but how I experience. So whatever happens, if I have certain emotions, strong emotion like too much attachment, too much ignorance, too much anger, too much fear then that can become stronger so therefore what I experience in my life now creates the circumstances for what I do in the practice; that we try to let go of our fear and our aversion and attachment are the three most important things. And if you can a have a little bit of control or have a little bit less aversion, less attachment, less fear and not too much clinging then I think you can face death with much more clarity, much more confidence.

So, therefore, it’s like that but when we are in a disturbed state of mind at the time of death, death is not easy, death is not always easy, it can be a challenging time. Some people are lucky and they don’t have much pain but, because of different circumstances, different diseases, different situations, some people have more pain, some have less pain. But the most important thing is that the life has to be a preparation for the death, the practice for life is actually the practice for death. If we look into most of the vajrayana practices, the sadhanas, the creation stage and the completion stage practices, all of them are actually a direct preparation for death, this is very important to understand.

Ringu Tulku Rinpoche

Article first appeared in Living and Dying in Peace

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