them, to spiritual projects; and whenever they meet masters

they will request special prayers for them. The greatest consolation

for a Tibetan would be to know that a master was doing

practice for their dead relative.

Don't let us half die with our loved ones, then; let us try to

live, after they have gone, with greater fervor. Let us try, at

least, to fulfill the dead person's wishes or aspirations in some

way, for instance by giving some of his belongings to charity,

or sponsoring in her name a project she held particularly dear.

Tibetans often write letters of condolence to friends who

are bereaved that might say something like this:

All things are impermanent, and all things die. You know this. It

was only natural that your mother died when she did; the older

generation is expected to die first. She was elderly and unwell, and

will not resent having had to leave her body. And because you can

help her now by sponsoring practices and doing good actions in her

name, she will be happy and relieved. So please do not be sad.

If our friend has lost a child or someone close to them who

seemed too young to die so soon, we tell them:

Now your little boy has died, and it seems as if your whole world

has been shattered. It seems, I know, so cruel and illogical. I cannot

explain your son's death, but I do know that it must be the

natural result of his karma, and I believe and know that his death

must have purified some karmic debt that you and I cannot know

about Your grief is my grief. But take heart because now you and

I can help him, through our practice and our good actions and our

love; we can take his hand and walk by his side, even now, even

when he's dead, and help him to find a new birth and a longer

life next time.

In other cases we might write:

/ know your grief is vast, but when you are tempted to despair,

just think how fortunate your friend is to have the masters practicing

for her. just think too, that at other times and in other places

there has been no such spiritual help at all for those who died.

Think, when you remember your loved one dying, how many

people are dying in the world today, alone, forgotten, abandoned,

and unsupported by any spiritual vision. Think of the people who

died in the terrible, inhuman years of the Cultural Revolution in

Tibet, where spiritual practice of any kind was forbidden.

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