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

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

306 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGThose who have suffered violent or sudden death have a particularlyurgent need for help. Victims of murder, suicide, accident,or war can easily be trapped by their suffering, anguish, andfear, or may be imprisoned in the actual experience of deathand so be unable to move on through the process of rebirth.When you practice the phowa for them, do it more stronglyand with more fervor than you have ever done it before:Imagine tremendous rays of light emanating from the buddhasor divine beings, pouring down all their compassion andblessing. Imagine this light streaming down onto the dead person,totally purifying and freeing them from the confusion andpain of their death, granting them profound, lasting peace.Imagine then, with all your heart and mind, that the dead persondissolves into light and his or her consciousness, healednow and free of all suffering, soars up to merge indissolubly,and forever, with the wisdom mind of the buddhas.Some Western people who recently visited Tibet told meabout the following incident they had witnessed. One day aTibetan walking by the side of the road was knocked overand killed instantly by a Chinese truck. A monk, who happenedto be passing, quickly went over and sat next to thedead man lying on the ground. They saw the monk lean overhim and recite some practice or other close to his ear; suddenly,to their astonishment, the dead man revived. The monkthen performed a practice they recognized as the transferenceof consciousness, and guided him back calmly into death.What had happened? Clearly the monk had recognized thatthe violent shock of the man's death had left him terribly disturbed,and so the monk had acted swiftly: first to free thedead man's mind from its distress, and then, by means of thephowa, to transfer it to a buddha realm or toward a goodrebirth. To the Westerners who were watching, this monkseemed to be just an ordinary person, but this remarkablestory shows that he was in fact a practitioner of considerablepower.Meditation practices and prayers are not the only kind ofhelp we can give to the dead. We can offer charity in theirname to help the sick and needy. We can give their possessionsto the poor. We can contribute, on their behalf, tohumanitarian or spiritual ventures such as hospitals, aid projects,hospices, or monasteries.We could also sponsor retreats by good spiritual practitioners,or prayer meetings led by great masters in sacred places,like Bodhgaya. We could offer lights for the dead person, or

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