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

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

270 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGthat a corpse might smell if it was kept in hot weather: "It'snot as though you have to eat it, or try to sell it."Strictly speaking, then, autopsies or cremations are bestdone after the three days' interval. However, these days, sinceit may not be at all practical or possible to keep a body thislong without moving it, at least the phowa practice should beeffected before the body is touched or moved in any way.THE DEATH OF A MASTERA realized practitioner continues to abide by the recognitionof the nature of mind at the moment of death, and awakensinto the Ground Luminosity when it manifests. He or she mayeven remain in that state for a number of days. Some practitionersand masters die sitting upright in meditation posture,and others in the "posture of the sleeping lion." Besides theirperfect poise, there will be other signs that show they are restingin the state of the Ground Luminosity: There is still a certaincolor and glow in their face, the nose does not sinkinward, the skin remains soft and flexible, the body does notbecome stiff, the eyes are said to keep a soft and compassionateglow, and there is still a warmth at the heart. Great care istaken that the master's body is not touched, and silence ismaintained until he or she has arisen from this state of meditation.Gyalwang Karmapa, a great master and head of one ofthe four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, died in hospitalin the United States in 1981. He was an extraordinary inspirationto all those around him because of his constant cheerfulnessand compassion. Dr. Ranulfo Sanchez, chief ofsurgery, said:/ personally felt that His Holiness was not just an ordinary man.When he looked at you, it was like he was searching inside you,as if he could see through you. I was very struck by the way helooked at me and seemed to understand what was going on. HisHoliness affected practically everyone in the hospital who came incontact with him. Many times when we felt he was near death, hewould smile at us and tell us we were wrong, and then he'dimprove...His Holiness never took any pain medication. We doctors wouldsee him and realize he must be in a lot of pain, so we'd ask him,"Are you having a lot of pain today?" He'd say, "No." Towardsthe end we knew he could sense our anxiety and it became a run-

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