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

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

THE PRACTICES FOR DYING 233truth of the teachings—in the mirror of the nature of mind—and points us directly to the heart of our practice. If our masteris not present, spiritual friends who have a good karmicconnection with us should be there to help remind us.It is said that the best time for this introduction is after theouter breathing has ceased and before the end of the "innerrespiration," though it is safest to began during the dissolutionprocess, before the senses have completely failed. If you willnot have the opportunity to see your master just before yourdeath, you will need to receive and acquaint yourself withthese instructions well beforehand.If the master is present at the deathbed, what he or shedoes then in our tradition follows this sequence. The masterfirst declares words like: "O son/daughter of an enlightenedfamily, listen without distraction..." and then leads usthrough the stages of the dissolution process, one by one.Then he or she will essentialize the heart of the introductionpowerfully and explicitly, in a few pungent words, so that itcreates a strong impression on our mind, and ask us to rest inthe nature of mind. In case this is beyond our capacity, themaster will remind us of the phowa practice, if we are familiarwith it; if not, he or she will effect the phowa practice for us.Then, as a further precaution, the master might also explainthe nature of the experiences of the bardos after death, andhow they are all, without exception, the projections of ourown mind, and inspire us with the confidence to recognizethis at every moment. "O son or daughter, whatever you see,however terrifying it is, recognize it as your own projection;recognize it as the luminosity, the natural radiance of yourmind." 3 Finally the master will instruct us to remember thepure realms of the buddhas, to generate devotion, and to prayto be reborn there. The master will repeat the words of theintroduction three times and, remaining in the state of Rigpa,direct his or her blessing toward the dying disciple.THE PRACTICES FOR DYINGThere are three essential practices for dying:• At best, resting in the nature of mind, or evoking the heartessenceof our practice• Next, the phowa practice, the transference of consciousness• Last, relying on the power of prayer, devotion, aspiration,and the blessings of enlightened beings.

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