The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

TWELVECompassion:The Wish-Fulfilling JewelCARING FOR THE DYING makes you poignantlyaware not only of their mortality but also of your own. Somany veils and illusions separate us from the stark knowledgethat we are dying; when we finally know we are dying, andall other sentient beings are dying with us, we start to have aburning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousnessof each moment and each being, and from this cangrow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings. SirThomas More, I heard, wrote these words just before hisbeheading: "We are all in the same cart, going to execution;how can I hate anyone or wish anyone harm?" To feel the fullforce of your mortality, and to open your heart entirely to it,is to allow to grow in you that all-encompassing, fearless compassionthat fuels the lives of all those who wish truly to beof help to others.So everything that I have been saying up until now aboutcaring for the dying could perhaps be summed up in twowords: love and compassion. What is compassion? It is notsimply a sense of sympathy or caring for the person suffering,not simply a warmth of heart toward the person before you,or a sharp clarity of recognition of their needs and pain, it isalso a sustained and practical determination to do whatever ispossible and necessary to help alleviate their suffering.Compassion is not true compassion unless it is active.Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, is often representedin Tibetan iconography as having a thousand eyes thatsee the pain in all corners of the universe, and a thousandarms to reach out to all corners of the universe to extend hishelp.191

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