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

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

NINETEENHelping After Deathso OFTEN IN THE MODERN WORLD when someonedies, one of the deepest sources of anguish for those left behindto mourn is their conviction that there is nothing they can nowdo to help their loved one who has gone, a conviction that onlyaggravates and darkens the loneliness of their grief. But this isnot true. There are many, many ways we can help the dead,and so help ourselves to survive their absence. One of theunique features of Buddhism, and one of the ways in which theomniscient skill and compassion of the buddhas is most profoundlydemonstrated, is in the many special practices availableto help a dead person, and so also comfort the bereaved. TheTibetan Buddhist vision of life and death is an all-encompassingone, and it shows us clearly that there are ways of helpingpeople in every conceivable situation, since there are no barrierswhatever between what we call "life" and what we call "death."The radiant power and warmth of the compassionate heart canreach out to help in all states and all realms.WHEN WE CAN HELPThe bardo of becoming, as it has already been described,may seem a very disturbed and disturbing time. Yet there isgreat hope in it. The qualities of the mental body during thebardo of becoming that make it so vulnerable—its clarity,mobility, sensitivity, and clairvoyance—also make it particularlyreceptive to help from the living. The fact that it has no physicalform or basis makes it very easy to guide. The Tibetan Book ofthe Dead compares the mental body to a horse, which can bereadily controlled by a bridle, or to a huge tree trunk, whichmay be almost immovable on land, yet once floated in watercan be effortlessly directed wherever you wish.303

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