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

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

SPIRITUAL HELP FOR THE DYING 225place." And he did live, astonishing the doctors, and remainingseemingly at ease in his situation—humorous, playful, smiling, asif he were rejoicing at everything his body suffered. Then I thought,with the clearest possible conviction, that the Karmapa had submittedhimself to all this cutting, to the manifestation of all those diseasesin his body, to the lack of food, in a quite intentional andvoluntary way. He was deliberately suffering all of these diseasesto help minimize the coming pains of war, disease, and famine,and in this way he was deliberately working to avert the terriblesuffering of this dark age. For those of us present, his death wasan unforgettable inspiration. It profoundly revealed the efficacy ofthe Dharma, 6 and the fact that enlightenment for the sake of otherscan actually be achieved. 7I know and I firmly believe that there is no need for anyoneon earth to die in resentment and bitterness. No suffering,however dreadful, is or can be meaningless if it is dedicated tothe alleviation of the suffering of others.We have before us the noble and exalting examples of thesupreme masters of compassion, who, it is said, live and die inthe practice of Tonglen, taking on the pain of all sentientbeings while they breathe in, and pouring out healing to thewhole world when they breathe out, all their lives long, andright up until their very last breath. So boundless and powerfulis their compassion, the teachings say, that at the moment oftheir death, it carries them immediately to rebirth in a buddharealm.How transformed the world and our experience of it wouldbe if each of us, while we live and as we die, could say thisprayer, along with Shantideva and all the masters of compassion:May I be a protector to those without protection,A leader for those who journey,And a boat, a bridge, a passageFor those desiring the further shore.May the pain of every living creatureBe completely cleared away.May I be the doctor and the medicineAnd may I be the nurseFor all sick beings in the worldUntil everyone is healed.

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