Noble Living, Noble Caring, Noble Dying

Practicing Calm Presence

Practicing Calm Presence can change the atmosphere in the normally stressful atmosphere where a person is ill or dying. You can sit at the bedside and practice whenever you find it helpful. Again no one needs to know that you have this intention. This open awareness practice brings peace and calm to a chaotic situation. And calmness brings a sense of balance and grounded strength in a shaky and scary world.

This guided meditation on Practicing Calm Presence cultivates vulnerability and empathy. It supports us in caregiving for those who are sick and dying. You can use it to bring calmness and peace as you interact with those for whom you care.

As you gain familiarity with this practice, you might notice that other members of the care team, the family, and visitors, may also begin to relate to the situation with more calmness and peace. But we don’t need to hold this expectation, nor think that they should acknowledge it even it it happens. Just allow whatever occurs to be—naturally as it is.

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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.