dissolution, you generate devotion and pray to the master,

visualizing him or her in the different energy centers. When

the earth element dissolves and the sign of the mirage appears,

you visualize the master in your heart center. When the water

element dissolves and the sign of smoke appears, you visualize

the master in your navel center. When the fire element dissolves

and the sign of fireflies appears, you visualize the master

in the forehead center. And when the air element dissolves

and the sign of the torch appears, you focus entirely on transferring

your consciousness into the wisdom mind of your


There are many descriptions of the stages of dying, differing

in small details and in their order. What I have explained

here is a description of the general pattern, but it can unfold

differently according to the makeup of the individual. I

remember when Samten, my master's attendant, was dying,

the sequence was most pronounced. But variations can occur

owing to the effects of the particular illness of the dying person,

and the state of the channels, winds, and essences. The

masters say that all living beings, even the smallest insects, go

through this process. In the case of a sudden death or an accident,

it will still take place, but extremely quickly.

I have found that the easiest way to understand what is

happening during the process of dying, with its outer and

inner dissolution, is as a gradual development and dawning of ever

more subtle levels of consciousness. Each one emerges upon the

successive dissolution of the constituents of body and mind, as

the process moves gradually toward the revelation of the very

subtlest consciousness of all: the Ground Luminosity or Clear


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