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Lions Roar : January 2005
16 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2005 their lives. Then, when something goes wrong, they have a very difficult time accepting it. They may panic and keep asking, “Why? Why is this happening to me?” Why not? Everything is imperma- nent. Impermanence is a great teacher. If you are a spiritual person, you may believe that although the body dies, the mind or spirit does not. If you believe that the mind carries on after death, the problem of attachment is viewed differ- ently. From this point of view, attachment is not only a problem while you are about to die, but it can remain a problem at the moment of death and beyond. Therefore, it is even more crucial to try to let go of all of your attachments before you die. The key point is to let go—to let go of all you hold dear. If you are attached to property, possessions and so forth, it’s a good idea to give them away before you die. In this way, you can begin to part with them in your mind and to feel more free. Of course you don’t want to leave your parents, brothers, sisters, children and spouse behind. But if you know you have to leave, it’s important to part with them on good terms—to wish them well. Relatives and friends should also be encouraged to part with the dying person by expressing good wishes. They should avoid holding on tightly and saying, “Don’t leave, don’t leave,” over and over again. That kind of display is an obstacle at the point when parting is inevitable. It’s far better to let go, to die peacefully after having given up attachments. Cutting the ties of attachment benefits any person, whether they are spiritual or not. It is also important, if you know how to do it, to rest the mind in equanimity and to pass away in that state. The most important thing for a dying person is to be emotionally undisturbed—to be at peace. In general, the family and the people car- ing for the dying person should make it a priority not to disturb the dying person emotionally. Their focus should be to help the person relax, be at ease and at peace. Dying at peace is dying skillfully. From Medicine & Compassion: A Tibetan Lama’s Guidance for Caregivers, published by Wisdom Publications. © 2004 Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and David R. Shlim.