Author Topic: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism  (Read 20549 times)

DSFriend

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2011, 06:36:26 PM »
What would you share with people who thinks this life is the one and only?

Big Uncle

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #16 on: March 08, 2011, 01:36:59 AM »
What would you share with people who thinks this life is the one and only?

It depends on their level of thought. For some people who are thinkers, talking to them about death and impermanence is the best thing to move them because these are both inevitable and irrefutable nature of our existence. Thinkers are usually easier to explain to if you present facts in a logical manner.

For some people, cause and effect is too subtle for them to comprehend and talking about death and impermanence is just too much. I would go all new age about it and talk about taking charge of our lives with tenets and facts that are logical and how spiritual practice opens our mind to change and transformation that makes for a happier living. There are many angles in Buddhism towards achieving happiness. One angle is to think and act for others is the source of all happiness while thinking and occupying all our effort and time towards ourselves is the source of all unhappiness.

For most people, when you talk of happiness and finding it will make it a very good way to talk to them about spirituality. It really depends on what they know and how much they know before you so one can approach the subject of death and impermanence without sounding too morbid.


Helena

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2011, 04:59:54 PM »
Those who firmly believe in this being the one and only life will definitely be the same people who buy life insurance.

They are really afraid of dying, falling sick and suffering.

Hence, they will also find ways to live life to the fullest but within the safety comfort zones.

So, Dharma Practice or collecting merits by doing some Dharma work or sponsoring Dharma work/projects can be 'marketed' t these types of people as their "life insurance" just incase they find out later that they are wrong and it is not just this one life.

There is no harm in buying more life insurance to protect those who feel that they need protection 24/7 because they have only one precious life to live.

Gradually, after doing a little more for Dharma, they will feel a sense of deep gratification and purpose. That sense of joy and purpose will come to mean more to them over time.

This has worked for some of my friends. That was how I began talking to them. But not everyone is the same. I guess, knowing what the individual fear most is always a good start. The fear of not wanting something to happen to them is usually strong enough to start them off doing something, however minor, for themselves.

It definitely got me started to do more Dharma and practice harder, that's for sure.

Helena

diamond girl

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2011, 07:07:05 PM »
After reading this thread I am thinking why we even bother to make such a huff and puff about celebrating birthdays! Every birthday, as ironical as it sounds, is a year closer to death. Of course many can rebut and say that we are celebrating being alive. Yes, I can entertain that but then I ask: Alive doing what?

Unless every year which passes we have done something to benefit many others and thinking about others and transforming our lives from selfish to giving, anger to compassion - what are we celebrating? And imagine we have industries which flourish from this whole birthday celebration fiasco...

Positive Change

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2011, 08:54:12 AM »
After reading this thread I am thinking why we even bother to make such a huff and puff about celebrating birthdays! Every birthday, as ironical as it sounds, is a year closer to death. Of course many can rebut and say that we are celebrating being alive. Yes, I can entertain that but then I ask: Alive doing what?

Unless every year which passes we have done something to benefit many others and thinking about others and transforming our lives from selfish to giving, anger to compassion - what are we celebrating? And imagine we have industries which flourish from this whole birthday celebration fiasco...

I personally do not feel there is anything wrong with "celebrating" birthdays. It is as you say, and should, be a celebration of life... what we have accomplished, bringing together friends, etc.

Birthdays are indeed a marker for a year gone by and a step closer to our grave. No denying that! However, if it can be used as an "excuse" to get people together to catch up and share on how our lives are at that point... sometimes we are able to share with certain friends and change their perceptions towards spirituality and that can be a positive thing.

In the past, my brithdays have always been having the most fabulous party and get together with mindless activities but recent years with a more spiritual mind set, I find it to be a great way to "use" my birthday as a get together to share good times AND to help others in need. Expensive presents and lavish gifts are now translated into donations or volunteer work to various charities that I help highlight. In this manner, celebrating a birthday becomes a real celebration of life and a brilliant opportunity to show by example the closest to oneself how we have changed for the better and that spirituality does indeed bring happiness!

WoselTenzin

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2011, 01:23:56 PM »
What would you share with people who thinks this life is the one and only?

From a Buddhist point of view, it is wrong view to think that this life is one and only.  It is wrong view because it means that karma do not exist and everything done in this life whether good or bad ends in this life and does not carry any karmic repercussion beyond this life.

It is not easy to change the view of someone who has wrong views and sometimes it may not even be possible due to strong karmic imprint from the past.   

However, since they only believe in this life, they would be more receptive to methods on how to achieve happiness in this life.  For eg, initially we can share with them on the benefits of compassion and thinking about others that will bring happiness in this life, the disbenefit of anger, jealously and hatred that will cause immediate unhappiness in this life not to mention future lives.  In this case, the cause and effect of application of these principles can be seen in this life alone.

When these principles are applied to their lives and when they can see the benefits from what has been shared with them, it would be easier to introduce them to the right view of past and future lives and the law of cause and effect.

DSFriend

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2011, 05:24:50 AM »

There is no such thing as "positive thoughts switch" and we can turn on as we like when we are dying, if there really is such switch, then the trigger must be the merits that we have accumulated over the years.

That is why day to day, moment to moment practice is so important while we still have the physial and environmental endowments to do so.

We cannot wait till the last moment to do practice, it simply doesn't work that way.

Mana

Mana is so right on.

I can certainly relate to the "positive thoughts switch". 

Nobody can debate against the four noble truths but majority of the people, myself included,..live each day thinking I can handle the sufferings of sickness when it comes, thinking i can handle sufferings of old age and death when it comes, cos i have that positive thoughts switch to flick on. How wrong.  There's constant fluctuations of emotions on a daily basis due to the smallest issues and how can one find that switch when bigger, inevitable sufferings hit us...

much appreciation for the reminder to practice day by day, moment by moment.

WoselTenzin

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2011, 06:12:08 AM »

There is no such thing as "positive thoughts switch" and we can turn on as we like when we are dying, if there really is such switch, then the trigger must be the merits that we have accumulated over the years.

That is why day to day, moment to moment practice is so important while we still have the physial and environmental endowments to do so.

We cannot wait till the last moment to do practice, it simply doesn't work that way.

Mana

I totally agreed with Mana with regards to there is no such thing as a "positive thought switch".  We are all creatures of habituation.  If we have consistently been having one mode of thinking throughout our lives, it is unlikely that we are going to think otherwise at our death bed.   Every thought we have is being reinforced the more we think of it.  By the time we are nearing death or at our death bed, our habitual thoughts would have such a strong hold on us that it would be almost impossible for other thoughts to take it place.

Therefore, like what Mana said consistent day to day practice is utmost important to re habituate our mind positively while we have the physical and environmental endowment.   

There is no shortcut to "salvation".  We have to put in the hardwork and we must do it before it is too late for us!

diamond girl

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2011, 07:44:59 AM »
I totally agreed with Mana with regards to there is no such thing as a "positive thought switch".  We are all creatures of habituation.  If we have consistently been having one mode of thinking throughout our lives, it is unlikely that we are going to think otherwise at our death bed.   Every thought we have is being reinforced the more we think of it.  By the time we are nearing death or at our death bed, our habitual thoughts would have such a strong hold on us that it would be almost impossible for other thoughts to take it place.

Therefore, like what Mana said consistent day to day practice is utmost important to re habituate our mind positively while we have the physical and environmental endowment.   

There is no shortcut to "salvation".  We have to put in the hardwork and we must do it before it is too late for us!
[/quote]

WoselTenzin, I could not agree with you more. There is truly no shortcut if what we want is a better life with quality and purpose. Plus, to be able to bring the merits into our next life so that we have the karma to learn the Dharma and attain Enlightenment.

Many of us live life day to day and think that it is enough, without remotely connecting to the fact that we came from past lives and there are many more lives ahead of us. If we have been obsessed planning for better financial gains, business ventures, holidays, etc... Then I strongly ask that we put out the same, and more, into planning our better lives now and future.

dsiluvu

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #24 on: July 19, 2011, 12:29:46 PM »
After reading this thread I am thinking why we even bother to make such a huff and puff about celebrating birthdays! Every birthday, as ironical as it sounds, is a year closer to death. Of course many can rebut and say that we are celebrating being alive. Yes, I can entertain that but then I ask: Alive doing what?

Unless every year which passes we have done something to benefit many others and thinking about others and transforming our lives from selfish to giving, anger to compassion - what are we celebrating? And imagine we have industries which flourish from this whole birthday celebration fiasco...

I personally do not feel there is anything wrong with "celebrating" birthdays. It is as you say, and should, be a celebration of life... what we have accomplished, bringing together friends, etc.

Birthdays are indeed a marker for a year gone by and a step closer to our grave. No denying that! However, if it can be used as an "excuse" to get people together to catch up and share on how our lives are at that point... sometimes we are able to share with certain friends and change their perceptions towards spirituality and that can be a positive thing.

In the past, my brithdays have always been having the most fabulous party and get together with mindless activities but recent years with a more spiritual mind set, I find it to be a great way to "use" my birthday as a get together to share good times AND to help others in need. Expensive presents and lavish gifts are now translated into donations or volunteer work to various charities that I help highlight. In this manner, celebrating a birthday becomes a real celebration of life and a brilliant opportunity to show by example the closest to oneself how we have changed for the better and that spirituality does indeed bring happiness!

I think in Buddhism the highlight of Birthdays is not there because anything that is in celebration of one self is considered ego stroking. We celebrate our lama's birthday because He/She totally benefits so many people and infact He/She dislikes Birthday celebrations but does so for the benefit of others, allowing people to make offerings, collect merits and get blessings from the lama. As for ourselves, most of the time, I think it is more self-indulgence. I guess we can use the 8 worldly concerns, hence it is yet another frivolous self-cherishing event because it actually enforces us to "cherish ourselves". If we have been celebrating our Birthdays as an excuse to get together and have fun and catch up and drink etc etc, probably when we are in Dharma, if we still celebrate... it would be for the same self preserving reasons... because like what Mana said there is no such thing as a "positive thought switch". This takes gradual time, training and life and life time of rehabituating our self-cherishing thoughts.

It is not that I am saying it is a big No NO to Birthdays but question to ask ourselves is, is it really to enforce our own ego or is it really meant to help others? If we can use our Birthdays to help others, then sure, why not.

Birthdays is a great time reflect how much have we done so far in our lives, and if not much, not much to celebrate or shout about I suppose. Taking time out to contemplate and make offerings on that day is always meritorious and this is what most Lamas advice on our Birthdays :)   So in other words... everyday could be your "Birthday" if we do offering and contemplation daily hu? At the end of it all.... everything is just labels.

Big Uncle

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2011, 05:20:10 PM »
After reading this thread I am thinking why we even bother to make such a huff and puff about celebrating birthdays! Every birthday, as ironical as it sounds, is a year closer to death. Of course many can rebut and say that we are celebrating being alive. Yes, I can entertain that but then I ask: Alive doing what?

Unless every year which passes we have done something to benefit many others and thinking about others and transforming our lives from selfish to giving, anger to compassion - what are we celebrating? And imagine we have industries which flourish from this whole birthday celebration fiasco...

I personally do not feel there is anything wrong with "celebrating" birthdays. It is as you say, and should, be a celebration of life... what we have accomplished, bringing together friends, etc.

Birthdays are indeed a marker for a year gone by and a step closer to our grave. No denying that! However, if it can be used as an "excuse" to get people together to catch up and share on how our lives are at that point... sometimes we are able to share with certain friends and change their perceptions towards spirituality and that can be a positive thing.

In the past, my brithdays have always been having the most fabulous party and get together with mindless activities but recent years with a more spiritual mind set, I find it to be a great way to "use" my birthday as a get together to share good times AND to help others in need. Expensive presents and lavish gifts are now translated into donations or volunteer work to various charities that I help highlight. In this manner, celebrating a birthday becomes a real celebration of life and a brilliant opportunity to show by example the closest to oneself how we have changed for the better and that spirituality does indeed bring happiness!

I think in Buddhism the highlight of Birthdays is not there because anything that is in celebration of one self is considered ego stroking. We celebrate our lama's birthday because He/She totally benefits so many people and infact He/She dislikes Birthday celebrations but does so for the benefit of others, allowing people to make offerings, collect merits and get blessings from the lama. As for ourselves, most of the time, I think it is more self-indulgence. I guess we can use the 8 worldly concerns, hence it is yet another frivolous self-cherishing event because it actually enforces us to "cherish ourselves". If we have been celebrating our Birthdays as an excuse to get together and have fun and catch up and drink etc etc, probably when we are in Dharma, if we still celebrate... it would be for the same self preserving reasons... because like what Mana said there is no such thing as a "positive thought switch". This takes gradual time, training and life and life time of rehabituating our self-cherishing thoughts.

It is not that I am saying it is a big No NO to Birthdays but question to ask ourselves is, is it really to enforce our own ego or is it really meant to help others? If we can use our Birthdays to help others, then sure, why not.

Birthdays is a great time reflect how much have we done so far in our lives, and if not much, not much to celebrate or shout about I suppose. Taking time out to contemplate and make offerings on that day is always meritorious and this is what most Lamas advice on our Birthdays :)   So in other words... everyday could be your "Birthday" if we do offering and contemplation daily hu? At the end of it all.... everything is just labels.

Who are we all kidding? Since when do we lay such a massive guilt trip on our most favorite celebrations? I always believe that Buddhism is not about guilt trips, it is about finding the real source of happiness. Since, our problems have been consistently been a problem because of our egos, so we reverse the attention towards others. Birthdays are a typical celebration of me, myself and I, so we celebrate it by making an offering to our Lama or spend it in virtue by liberating animals, going vegetarian or some other virtuous actions. We need not mope and groan about our age being closer to death. Let's not kid ourselves, we can still celebrate it  but just find a more meaningful way of doing so. That's how I would do it as recommended by my Lama.

kurava

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2011, 04:41:39 AM »
We  expect to receive gifts from families and friends on our birthdays. If  they forget to give a gift , we will sulk and be unhappy.

Since the practice of giving is the first of the Six Perfections, as Buddhist practitioners, we can celebrate our birthdays by giving instead of just taking.

The great Trijang Rinpoche in his autobiography had recorded that  throughout his life (previous incarnation) he had been giving - give offerings, give teachings, give food , give care etc.

We are not like Trijang Rinpoche yet. We are not always mindful of  creating the right causes everyday. But let's start by the  sincere practice of giving on our birthdays - a day we seldom forget . This way we can celebrate birthdays in a meaningful way.

buddhalovely

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2012, 02:56:14 PM »
Everyone who has ever lived has died. We are all dying - whether we have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness or not. Death can come at any time, at any age and in countless unexpected ways.
How will we handle it? How can we help others?

The following are some Buddhist teachings on death and helping the dying that you can download.

May all who read these teachings be blessed with easy, painless, peaceful deaths and be born in Amitabha Buddha's blissful pure land.

Buddha's Last Words from the Parinirvana Sutra

Caring for the Dying and Dead
Essential Advice from Ven. Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Death And Dying Module by Dr Nick Ribush in the Discovering Buddhism at Home series

Death, Intermediate State and Rebirth by His Holiness Dalai Lama
H.H. Dalai Lama discusses the importance of a virtuous mental attitude at the time of death and the effects after death.

How to Care for the Dying and Benefit the Deceased by Ven. Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Ven. Lama Zopa Rinpoche gives specific Buddhist practices that benefit a person's mind before and after death.

The Five Powers to Develop for a Happy, Successful Death by Ven. Lama Zopa Rinpoche
based on the thought transformation texts. This is the very essential advice for Buddhist practicioners.


Preparing for Death and Helping the Dying by Ven. Sangye Khadro Highlights include: the 8 Stages of the Death Process, How to Prepare for (Our) Death and How to Help Others (Buddhist and Non-Buddhist).

Zen and the Good Death by Frank Ostaseki (Founding Director: Zen Hospice Project) "In dying, spiritual support is every bit as important as good medical care."

dsiluvu

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #28 on: October 06, 2012, 08:11:53 PM »
Death Meditation when done daily and with focus... we realised that a lot of things really does not matter except for the Dharma. Sometimes a death of someone close also could change your perspective of life, wakes you up to what truly matters and truly last and what does not.

Definitely all the silly grudges, anger, differences, chase for fame, fortune and that perfect little advertised life of happiness to consume more and more seems to be more and more a shame. All is but a deception which we choose to deceive ourselves in because the cold hard truth is death and most of us grew up with an imputed concept that "death" is a taboo and something bad. But in reality it is nothing bad nor good... it is part and parcel of life and it is inevitable... which can be scary when we don't believe in karma and taking any responsibility for any of our actions. This can be really something we ought to think about... what happens after your eyes closes and your 5 cognitive senses dissolves and you see the light... what happens next???

I find the process of death in the Lamrim really profound teachings and a way we can meditate upon to get us ready for when the time comes... we kinda sorta know what to expect.

RedLantern

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Re: Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
« Reply #29 on: October 07, 2012, 12:01:40 PM »
Death is certain as there is no possible way to escape death.Life has a definte limit and each moment brings us closer to the finality of this life.We are dying from the moment we are born.Death comes in a moment and it's time is unexpected.One breath separates us from the next life.This is the simplest,most obvious truth of our existence,and yet a few of us have really comes to terms with it.
The body can be easily destroyed by disease or accident,therefore we must ripen our our inner potential without delay.The only thing that can help us at the time of death is our mental/spiritual development.