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

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

386 APPENDIX THREESogyal Rinpoche's teachings, and she was delighted when he sent hersome tapes from Paris, which he said would have a special meaningfor her.Dorothy prepared and planned for her death right down to thelast detail. She wanted there to be no unfinished business for othersto sort out, and spent months working on all the practical arrangements.She didn't seem to have any fear of dying, but wanted to feelthat there was nothing left undone, and that she could then approachdeath without distraction. She derived a lot of comfort from theknowledge that she had done no real harm to others in her life, andthat she had received and followed the teachings; as she said "I'vedone my homework."When the time came for Dorothy to go into the hospice, andleave her flat for the last time—a flat once full of beautiful treasurescollected over the years—she left with just a small holdall and withouteven a backward glance. She had already given most of her personalpossessions away, but she took a small picture of Rinpoche thatshe always kept with her, and his small book on meditation. She hadessentialized her life into that one small bag: "traveling light," shecalled it. She was very matter-of-fact about leaving, almost as thoughshe were only going as far as the shops; she simply said "Bye bye,flat," waved her hand and walked out of the door.Her room in the hospice became a very special place. There wasalways a candle lit on her bedside table in front of Rinpoche's picture,and once, when someone asked if she would like to talk to him, shesmiled, looked at the photograph, and said: "No, there's no need, he'salways here!" She often referred to Rinpoche's advice on creating the"right environment," and had a beautiful painting of a rainbow puton the wall directly in front of her; there were flowers everywhere,brought by her visitors.Dorothy remained in command of the situation, right up to theend, and her trust in the teachings seemed never to waver, even for asecond. It felt as though she was helping us, rather than the otherway round! She was consistently cheerful, confident, and humorous,and had a dignity about her, which we saw sprung from her courageand self-reliance. The joy with which she always welcomed ussecretly helped us to understand that death is by no means somberor terrifying. This was her gift to us, and it made us feel honored andprivileged to be with her.We had almost come to depend on Dorothy's strength, so it washumbling for us when we realized that she needed our strength andsupport. She was going through some final details about her funeral,when suddenly we saw that, after having been so concerned aboutothers, what she needed now was to let go of all these details andturn her attention toward herself. And she needed us to give her ourpermission to do so.It was a difficult, painful death and Dorothy was like a warrior.

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