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The Noble Wisdom of the Time of Death Sutra


The Noble Wisdom of the Time of Death is a Mahāyāna sūtra taught by Buddha Śākyamuni. In the Tibetan language it is titled:
'phags pa 'da ka ye shes bya ba'i mdo.

The sūtra teaches the definitive meaning, or ultimate meaning, relating to Buddha nature. Because this sūtra teaches the single essential point, the result, it is classified as belonging to the third turning of the Dharma wheel.

Under the direction of Kyabgön Phakchok Rinpoche, we have brought together video and audio teachings on The Noble Wisdom of the Time of Death Sūtra. In addition, you will find here materials to aid in contemplation and guides to apply the wisdom of the text in practice.

Rinpoche teaches this sūtra often because he believes that it gives very clear instruction. It outlines how to practice vipaśyanā (clear insight) meditation authentically. Here, in a short video, Rinpoche gives a brief introduction and explains why he finds this teaching helpful.

The module offers reflection questions and reminders from the text in addition to teachings.  Also, the text of the sūtra is offered with two classical commentaries. Here you can learn how to practice by hearing, reading, and contemplating. In this way, you can engage with the teachings and repeatedly reflect on the meaning in depth. The sūtra consists of five major topics. Thus, in the material provided here, you will find guidance and teachings on each topic.

The sūtra’s five points are:

1. Impermanence
2. Great compassion
3. Freedom from reference points
4. Non-existence
5. Buddhahood

Here, Rinpoche explains each point in depth. Then he also demonstrates how to practically apply these points in our meditation.

Practical tips and advice:

Phakchok Rinpoche’s teachings here are divided into 8 units.  Although you have access to all the units at the same time, we suggest that you spend some time contemplating each unit and following the meditation or practice instructions given there. You might wish to spend at least a week working with each unit and gaining familiarity.

Additionally, we have included reflection questions. We hope that these questions provoke additional contemplation, and allow you to review key element of each talk section. Also, please make use of the discussion forum to offer your comments on these reflections, or to raise points of your own.

We recommend that you give yourself the time to proceed through the units slowly and carefully.  The sūtra itself is very short, but the meaning is quite profound.  As Rinpoche notes, we can apply the instructions of this text to every type of practice we undertake, throughout our lives.  You will notice that Rinpoche repeats the sūtra itself frequently.  This is a traditional method of internalizing a teaching and it can be very helpful.  Every time that we read the text, we may discover new layers of meaning, and find points that strike our hearts.

We hope that this support program is of great benefit, and we encourage you to discuss the teachings in the student forum.  By doing so, we keep this teaching alive and very meaningful.

Thank you for undertaking this study and may all be auspicious!


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  • $21.00
©2018 Samye Institute
Samye Institute

Samye Institute