Lotus Light on the Copper-Colored Mountain; and if it is

Amitabha they love and revere, they will pray to be reborn in

his "Blissful" heaven, the marvelous Pure Land of Dewachen. 9


How then do we most sensitively help ordinary spiritual

practitioners who are dying? All of us will need the love and

care that comes with emotional and practical support, but for

spiritual practitioners the atmosphere, intensity, and dimension

of spiritual help take on a special meaning. It would be ideal,

and a great blessing, if their master were with them; but if

this is not possible, their spiritual friends can be of enormous

help in reminding the dying of the essence of the teachings

and the practice that has been closest to their heart during life.

For a practitioner who is dying, spiritual inspiration, and the

atmosphere of trust and faith and devotion that will naturally

arise from it, are essential. The loving and unflagging presence

of the master or spiritual friends, the encouragement of the

teachings, and the strength of their own practice, all combine

together to create and sustain this inspiration, as precious in

the last weeks and days almost as breath itself.

A beloved student of mine was dying of cancer, and asked

me how best she should practice as she came nearer to death,

particularly when she no longer had the strength to concentrate

on any formal practice.

"Remember just how very fortunate you have been," I told

her, "to have met so many masters, received so many teachings,

and had the time and possibility to practice. I promise

you, the benefit of all that will never leave you: The good

karma you have created by it will stay with you and help

you. Even to hear the teaching once, or meet a master like

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and have a strong connection with

him as you did, is liberating in itself. Never forget that, and

never forget also how many people there are in your position

who did not have that marvelous opportunity.

"If the time comes when you cannot practice actively any

more, the only really important thing for you to do is to relax,

as deeply as possible, in the confidence of the View, and rest

in the nature of mind. It does not matter whether your body

or your brain are still functioning: the nature of your mind is

always there, sky-like, radiant, blissful, limitless and unchanging

. . . Know that beyond all doubt, and let that knowledge

give you the strength to say with carefree abandon to all your

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