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

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

SPIRITUAL HELP FOR THE DYING 223DEDICATINGOUR DEATHFrom the Tibetan Book of the Dead:0 son/daughter of an enlightened family, 5 what is called "death"has now arrived, so adopt this attitude: "I have arrived at the timeof death, so now, by means of this death, I will adopt only theattitude of the enlightened state of mind, loving kindness and compassion,and attain perfect enlightenment for the sake of all sentientbeings who are as limitless as space ..."Recently one of my students came to me and said: "Myfriend is only twenty-five. He's in pain and dying of leukemia.He is already frighteningly bitter; I'm terrified that he'll drownin bitterness. He keeps asking me: 'What can I do with all thisuseless, horrible suffering?'"My heart went out to her and her friend. Perhaps nothingis as painful as believing that there is no use to the pain youare going through. I told my student there was a way herfriend could transform his death even now, and even in thegreat pain he was enduring: to dedicate, with all his heart, thesuffering of his dying, and his death itself, to the benefit andultimate happiness of others.1 told her to tell him: "I know how much pain you're in.Imagine now all the others in the world who are in a pain likeyours, or even greater. Fill your heart with compassion forthem. And pray to whomever you believe in and ask thatyour suffering should help alleviate theirs. Again and againdedicate your pain to the alleviation of their pain. And youwill quickly discover in yourself a new source of strength, acompassion you'll hardly be able now to imagine, and a certainty,beyond any shadow of a doubt, that your suffering isnot only not being wasted, but has now a marvelous meaning."What I was describing to my student was in fact the practiceof Tonglen, which I have already shared with you, butwhich takes on a very special significance when someone isterminally ill or dying.If you have an illness like cancer or AIDS, try as intenselyas you can to imagine every other person in the world whohas the same disease as you.Say to yourself with deep compassion: "May I take on thesuffering of everyone who has this terrible illness. May theybe free from this affliction and from all their suffering."

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