When a person is coming to the end of his life...

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When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby M.Takoda » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:17 am

A warm hello to everyone.

I have been pondering on these questions for the last few days.

According to the teachings found in Theravada Buddhism, Is there any way to mentally and emotionally prepare for death?

When a person is coming to the end of his life because of a terminal illness,is there any recommended meditations or sutta readings to help a person facing death?

Is there any way to ease a person’s mental suffering, for example when it comes to fearing death itself?


Kind Regards to all.

:namaste:

Mike
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:19 am

Greetings Mike,

Whilst it will be possible for people to give generic answers within a Theravadin perspective, I'd just like to clarify something with you first...

- Is this a real or upcoming situation you're facing? (or are you asking generally / hypothetically?)
- Assuming real, is the person in question Buddhist?

A dying person who is "born-and-bred" Theravadin, is likely to have different requirements (for want of a better word) than an atheist, a Christian, a Jain etc.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby M.Takoda » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:34 am

retrofuturist wrote: Is this a real or upcoming situation you're facing? (or are you asking generally / hypothetically?)
- Assuming real, is the person in question Buddhist?


Retro,

Sorry for not clarifying myself.

Fortunately Its not an upcoming situation, so you might say it is hypothetical.

In the case of a Buddhist, how does he prepare for death? Is there any suttas he might read or meditations to ease the mind and to avoid any fears and delusions?

With kind regards,

:anjali:

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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby Ben » Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:59 am

Greetings M.Takoda,

Each year I give a talk to the students at the christian school where I work on the Buddhist perspective on death and dying.
One year, as part of my talk, I presented a letter that Ajahn Chah wrote to an elderly English disciple who was dying.
Living with the Cobra: http://www.ajahnchah.org/book/Living_With_Cobra1.php

And there are, of course, many discourses in the suttas and commentarial literature on the subject of death, the recollections of death, and its inevitable approach.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby pegembara » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:59 am

And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby ringo » Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:24 pm

Hello,

Here (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html) is the beautiful Anathapindikovada Sutta - instructions from Venerable Sariputta to a dying Anathapindika. This Sutta touches me every time I read it.

Regards,
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby marc108 » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:02 pm

Beyond Coping: A Study Guide on Aging, Illness, Death, & Separation
http://dhammatalks.org/ebook_index.html#beyond_coping

A Refuge from Death. - A collection of 20 Dhamma talks, chants, sutta readings and guided meditations for listening as one approaches death.
http://dhammatalks.org/mp3_collections_index.html#death
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby Kenshou » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:28 pm


This is a very good little talk, how have I missed this? A deceptively large amount of wisdom in that short letter.
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby ringo » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:26 pm

Here's a 'charm' which might help cultivate calmness, serenity, ease etc.

I have good will for footless beings,
good will for two-footed beings,
good will for four-footed beings,
good will for many-footed beings.

May footless beings do me no harm.
May two-footed beings do me no harm.
May four-footed beings do me no harm.
May many-footed beings do me no harm.

May all creatures,
all breathing things,
all beings
— each & every one —
meet with good fortune.
May none of them come to any evil.

Limitless is the Buddha,
limitless the Dhamma,
limitless the Sangha.
There is a limit to creeping things: snakes, scorpions,
centipedes, spiders, lizards, & rats.
I have made this safeguard,
I have made this protection.
May the beings depart.
I pay homage to the Blessed One, homage to the seven rightly self-awakened ones.


From: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .piya.html
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby Son » Thu Jun 28, 2012 10:59 am

All beings pass away. Dying comes equally with being born; this is something that anyone, religious, non-religious, or Buddhist alike, should contemplate deeply before dying. Dying is an intense experience, and as we pass into a successive existence, the experiences are normally overwhelming. The most important thing is that they are not apathetic toward their death. The must have compassion for themselves, and they should rely on loving kindness for everyone around them. They shouldn't be plagued with questions, or undergo some religious upheaval where they "find god" or something like that. They should be as calm as possible. No amount of radical thinking is going to help them, it's not going to change the life they've lived or improve their state of mind as they experience dying. Another critical factor, truly, is that they should focus on the merit of their past good actions, their own essential virtue in other words. This is invaluable in death. Also, positiveness and happiness within the dying and the people around them is very important.

From this we can see how important it is to develop a happy and virtuous state of mind at the time of death. We can also see how we can be of great benefit to others when they are dying, by encouraging them to develop a positive mind and creating for them conditions that will help them to generate good thoughts. In this way we can bring measureless benefit to our friends and relatives, even if they have no interest in Dharma.
A seed sleeps in soil.
It's cold and alone, hopeless.
Until it blooms above.
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby Bunjers » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:12 am

Discussion about death with Ayya Khema
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLugPA2O ... F4C7DFAA11
Gāravo ca nivāto ca, Santutthi ca kataññutā, Kālena dhammasavanam, Etam mangalamuttamam :anjali:
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby starter » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:57 pm

AN 4.184
PTS: A ii 173
Abhaya Sutta: Fearless
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu
...

"And who is the person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death?

"There is the case of the person who has abandoned passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, and craving for sensuality. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought does not occur to him, 'O, those beloved sensual pleasures will be taken from me, and I will be taken from them!' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

"Furthermore, there is the case of the person who has abandoned passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, and craving for the body. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought does not occur to him, 'O, my beloved body will be taken from me, and I will be taken from my body!' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

"Furthermore, there is the case of the person who has done what is good, has done what is skillful, has given protection to those in fear, and has not done what is evil, savage, or cruel. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, 'I have done what is good, have done what is skillful, have given protection to those in fear, and I have not done what is evil, savage, or cruel. To the extent that there is a destination for those who have done what is good, what is skillful, have given protection to those in fear, and have not done what is evil, savage, or cruel, that's where I'm headed after death.' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

"Furthermore, there is the case of the person who has no doubt or perplexity, who has arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma. Then he comes down with a serious disease. As he comes down with a serious disease, the thought occurs to him, 'I have no doubt or perplexity. I have arrived at certainty with regard to the True Dhamma.' He does not grieve, is not tormented; does not weep, beat his breast, or grow delirious. This, too, is a person who, subject to death, is not afraid or in terror of death.

"These, brahman, are four people who, subject to death, are not afraid or in terror of death."

May we all arrive at the true Dhamma and become fearless. Metta to all,

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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby waimengwan » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:50 pm

It is very important to keep them happy and have a calm mind and to get them to think of virtuous things, their teachers, dharma work etc etc.
I was reading the Lamrim and there is this thing called 'Throwing Karma' is one's last thoughts, if it is virtuous then one will go to a good rebirth and it is is not then the converse will happen.
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby manas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:30 am

I think it is good to think about & prepare for this eventuality. I have decided that if I were in a situation where death was impending in a very short space of time, that I would take refuge in mindfulness of the body. If able to do so with a calm mind, to observe the rising and falling of the breath to it's actual cessation for this current body - ie, the final exhalation - would be a wonderful meditation, if it could be done in the right frame of mind. But if my mind was afraid, I would focus more on my faith & conviction in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha in the final moments, to steady & calm the mind.

:anjali:
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby waimengwan » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:40 pm

Yes this trigger a teaching that Rinpoche gave us about why we should start early in our life to do dharma or engage in dharma activities. As if we spent 50 years for most people, just doing samsaric things and worldly stuff, our last thought will most likely be related to delusions and not virtuous thoughts. Plus the fact that if we wait till we are retired either we might get there or at that age we dont have the energy to engage in dharma properly and after 50 years of habituations of not engaging in dharma why would our mind suddenly shift? That mind shift towards dharma will be hard to after so many years of habituations.
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Re: When a person is coming to the end of his life...

Postby starter » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:56 pm

When one is really coming to the end of his life, the most important thing for him is to really comprehend the meaning of "refuge", the true meaning of taking the Buddha (the only one -- Gautama Buddha), the Dhamma (Gautama Buddha's teachings), and the Sangha (the community of the noble ones enlightened by the Dhamma) as his refuge. He'd better repeatedly recite the following with true understanding:

I take Gautama Buddha as my refuge;

I take Gautama Buddha's Dhamma as my refuge;

I take the noble Sangha as my refuge.

May we all find the true refuge and peace. Metta to all!
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