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

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

228 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGactivated by any influence. Even now we know how it onlytakes the slightest provocation to prompt our instinctive, habitualreactions to surface. This is especially true at the momentof death. The Dalai Lama explains:At the time of death attitudes of long familiarity usually take precedenceand direct the rebirth. For this same reason, strong attachmentis generated for the self since one fears that one's self isbecoming nonexistent This attachment serves as the connecting linkto the intermediate state between lives, the liking for a body in turnacts as a cause establishing the body of the intermediate (bardo)being. 1Therefore our state of mind at death is all-important. If wedie in a positive frame of mind, we can improve our nextbirth, despite our negative karma. And if we are upset and distressed,it may have a detrimental effect, even though we mayhave used our lives well. This means that the last thought andemotion that we have before we die has an extremely powerful determiningeffect on our immediate future. Just as the mind of a madperson is usually entirely occupied by one obsession, whichreturns again and again, so at the moment of death our mindsare totally vulnerable and exposed to whatever thoughts thenpreoccupy us. That last thought or emotion we have can bemagnified out of all proportion and flood our whole perception.This is why the masters stress that the quality of theatmosphere around us when we die is crucial. With ourfriends and relatives, we should do all we can to inspire positiveemotions and sacred feelings, like love, compassion, anddevotion, and all we can to help them to "let go of grasping,yearning, and attachment."LETTING GO OF ATTACHMENTThe ideal way for a person to die is having given awayeverything, internally and externally, so that there is as little aspossible yearning, grasping, and attachment for the mind atthat essential moment to latch onto. So before we die weshould try to free ourselves of attachment to all our possessions,friends, and loved ones. We cannot take anything withus, so we should make plans to give away all our belongingsbeforehand as gifts or offerings to charity.In Tibet the masters, before they left their bodies, wouldindicate what they would like to offer to other teachers.

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