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

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

THE PRACTICES FOR DYING 231that she hardly ever slept the whole night through, and oftenshe ended up doing her morning practice in the evening andher evening practice in the morning. Her elder sister, Pelu, wasa much more decisive and orderly person, and toward the endof her life she could not stand this endless disruption of normalroutine. She would say: "Why don't you do the morningpractice in the morning and the evening practice in theevening, and switch the light off and go to bed like everybodyelse does?" Ani Rilu would murmur, "Yes ... yes," but go onjust the same.In those days I would have been rather on Ani Pelu's side,but now I see the wisdom of what Ani Rilu was doing. Shewas immersing herself in a stream of spiritual practice, and herwhole life and being became one continuous flow of prayer.In fact, I think her practice was so strong that she continuedpraying even in her dreams, and anyone who does that willhave a very good chance of liberation in the bardos.Ani Rilu's dying had the same peaceful and passive qualityas her life. She had been ill for some time, and it was nineo'clock one winter morning when the wife of my mastersensed that death was approaching quickly. Although by thattime Ani Rilu could not speak, she was still alert. Someonewas sent immediately to ask Dodrupchen Rinpoche, a remarkablemaster who lived nearby, to come to give the last guidanceand to effect the phowa, the practice of the transferenceof consciousness at the moment of death.In our family there was an old man called A-pé Dorje, whodied in 1989 at the age of eighty-five. He had been with myfamily for five generations, and was a man whose grandfatherlywisdom and common sense, exceptional moral strengthand good heart, and gift for reconciling quarrels made him forme the embodiment of everything good that is Tibetan: arugged, earthy, ordinary person who lives spontaneously bythe spirit of the teachings. 2 He taught me so much as a child,most especially, how important it is to be kind to others andnever to harbor negative thoughts even if someone harms you.He had a natural gift of imparting spiritual values in the mostsimple way; he almost charmed you into being your best self.A-pé Dorje was a bom storyteller, and he would keep meenthralled as a child with fairy stories and tales from theGesar epic, or accounts of the struggles in the easternprovinces, when China invaded Tibet in the early 1950s.Wherever he went he brought a lightness and joy, and ahumor that would make any difficult situation seem less

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