The enclosed information offers various resources which may be useful to Buddhists when the time comes for them to die.
Buddhists believe that consciousness survives physical death and, following an interval (bardo), rebirth will usually take place.
According to Buddhism, it's possible for the Bardo to be an enlightening experience and we offer this information with the aspiration to help as many people as possible during this special time.
What should I do?
See the following enclosed documents and give to all involved in your care:
When a Buddhist Dies
When a Buddhist Dies, for nurses
When a Buddhist Dies, for relatives
When a Buddhist Dies, for undertakers
Simple practices to help the dying, the dead & the bereaved
Once we have an idea of what we would ideally like to happen at the time of our death, it's important to not only inform as many people close to us as possible but to keep the basic information on us (as in the 'Buddhist ID' card available via Samye Ling - see 'Various services available' document at the back of this pack). Funeral directives in wills are an unreliable method of communicating your immediate wishes since solicitors and executors may not be available at the time of your death.
Please bear in mind that the advice given relates to ideal circumstances and there should be no sense of failure if these circumstances cannot be met!
Make it clear who you want to say prayers for you long distance and who to contact to arrange this. Also specify the offering you would like to make to them. Ask for prayers to be arranged if death is known to be close or as soon as possible after death; a photo faxed / emailed to them might be useful.
Having an experienced practitioner to do prayers at the bedside is invaluable, and should also be arranged promptly where possible.
Where to take the body?
At Samye Ling, bodies are often brought to the Stupa as soon as prayers have been done at the bedside and cremation paperwork (where appropriate) has been completed. The body rests there until the day of the funeral. The community can sometimes offer (by arrangement) a 24-hour Chenrezi prayer vigil, followed by Amitabha, Chenrezig, Tonglen, Chod and Powa prayers on subsequent days. This is by donation, which should reflect the significant effort made.
For Buddhists who live a long way from Samye Ling, maintaining a positive environment around the body wherever it happens to be, is recommended. This will help us to let go and move on. See 'Simple practices to help the dying' leaflet.
Other information documents enclosed:
'What you may need to think about when pre-planning your funeral'
'Various services available'
'Typical Order of Service'
Shows the basic framework of many of our services at Samye Ling. These days, we tend to have the service in the Stupa, which can fit about 50 people followed by a brief committal. But services can be held anywhere.
Stupa and prayer-wheel house subscription information.
Details of how to not only make a positive connection after death by storing your ashes here, but enabling the completion and maintenance of this area of Samye Ling, with all the spiritual care for others that goes with it.
Recommended reading / listening
Thrangu Rinpoche's teachings on the Bardo: Shenpen Osel, Volume 2, No. 3, December '98
Downloadable from their website: www.shenpen-osel.org/issue5.pdf
Peaceful Death Joyful Rebirth by Tulku Thondup
Tibetan Book of the Dead: First complete translation of Padmasambhava's classic text, translated by Gyurme Dorje, Edited by Graham Coleman & Thupten Jinpa
"Sacred Passage - How to provide fearless, compassionate care for the dying"
by Margaret Coberly R.N.
Bardo course by Rob Nairn, Samye Ling August 2006: CD's x 5 £35 available from Samye Ling shop
For further information, please contact Marilyn Harris at Samye Ling or email firstname.lastname@example.org