Announcing a New Addition to the ‘Advice for Dying Practitioners’ Curriculum

All of us as practitioners often contemplate our own death, as well as the death of our fellow beloved sangha members. The question often arises ”how do we best prepare for death”? If the state of mind and heart are of utmost importance, how do we prepare for this seminal moment at the end of life?

Phakchok Rinpoche has recently requested a translation of instructions given by the Buddha in his lifetime to address this very question for practitioners. The text, now available on Lhasey Lotsawa, is entitled: “The Noble Sūtra on Teaching the Eleven Perceptions.” In this sutra, the Buddha teaches eleven perceptions to be cultivated at the time of death as his final testament.

In this succinct instruction, the Buddha leaves very clear instructions on the correct view and pure perception at the end of life. This teaching was originally given to his own sangha of monastics at the end of his own life, just before his mahāparinirvāṇa. As the text clearly indicates, we can train in these perceptions now while we have the proper conditions so that we can fearlessly face our own deaths.

The text is available on Lhasey Lotsawa’s website.

Other Supports Available to Practitioners at the Time of Death

Conversation with Tulku Migmar on the Bardo

Conversation with Phakchok Rinpoche on Prayer and Phowa

At the Bedside of the Dying by Phakchok Rinpoche from the Medicine and Compassion Project filmed with Phakchok Rinpoche and Dr. David Shlim

Helping the Recently Dead by Phakchok Rinpoche from the Medicine and Compassion Project filmed with Phakchok Rinpoche and Dr. David Shlim

The King of Aspiration Prayer, Samantabhadra’s Aspiration to Good Actions 

Noble Wisdom of Time of Death Sutra teachings and text available on Samye Institute

Liberation on Hearing by Jamgön Kongtrül Lodrö Tayé

Dharani Blanket Set (to be ordered in advance of death, and used at time of death)

Hundred Substances Sang Powder

Offerings for the Deceased

Visit to make an offering and have the monastics in our monasteries and nunneries in Nepal offer prayers, offerings, and butter lamps on behalf of the deceased. 

On that site, please scroll down to the topic labeled “Bardo, Dying, Rebirth” for the specific practices for the deceased.

Artwork on this page was contributed by Karma Phuntsok.

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.