complete? Doesn't this disturb or harm the consciousness at the moment before


Masters whom I have asked this question agree that organ donation

is an extremely positive action, since it stems from a genuinely

compassionate wish to benefit others. So, as long as it is truly the

wish of the dying person, it will not harm in any way the consciousness

that is leaving the body. On the contrary, this final act of generosity

accumulates good karma. Another master said that any

suffering and pain that a person goes through in the process of giving

his or her organs, and every moment of distraction, turns into a good


Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche explained: "If the person is definitely

going to die within a few moments, and has expressed the wish to

give his organs, and his mind is filled with compassion, it is all right

for them to be removed even before the heart stops bearing."

What about cryonics, where a person's body, or just the head, is frozen to

await the time when medical science has advanced to the point where they

can be resuscitated?

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche called this utterly meaningless. One's

consciousness cannot enter one's body again after one is actually

dead. The belief that one's corpse is being kept for future revival can

obviously trap the person's consciousness in a tragically increased

attachment to the body, and so aggravate its suffering immensely and

block the process of rebirth. One master compares cryonics to going

directly to a cold hell, without even passing through the bardo state.

What can we do for an aging parent, a father, for example,, who has

become senile or demented?

At that point it may be of no use to try to explain the teachings,

but practicing quietly or saying mantras or the names of the buddhas

in his presence will definitely help. Kalu Rinpoche explains:

You will be planting seeds. Your own aspirations and altruistic concern for

him in this situation are very important, In offering this service to your

father in his unhappy circumstances, you must go about it with the best of

intentions, out of a true concern for his welfare and happiness, That is a

very important factor in your relationship to him in these times... The

karmic connection between parents and children is very strong, Much benefit

can be worked on subtle levels because of that bond, if our approach

to our parents is marked by compassion and concern and our involvement

in spiritual practice is not only for our sake, but for the benefit of other

beings as well, particularly, in this case, our parents 7

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