Baseball and Being with the Dying

The real cause of anxiety, sorrow, and grief surrounding end of life is because people are not prepared. They are not prepared to pass away themselves, nor are they prepared to have anyone else pass away.
It is illogical but usual to think that although living beings are born into this world, those near and dear to us will not pass away. We hope that in the future, in a more evolved society than we live in now, people will be more prepared. Having few regrets, as the time comes near to their own passing, they will go joyfully into the next stage of their development. Perhaps in that future society, their transition will be one of joyful celebration of that persons life and without sorrow, well wishers will arrive to thank their dear friend and say goodbye.

In our Tibetan system, we already have a preliminary version of this more evolved attitude. Surrounding the dying person, family and friends, are cautioned not to disturb or to cling to the person who is in transition. The one who is passing away is so sensitive at that time even though they appear to be less alert. For the benefit of the grand transition process that is reabsorbing them, the worst thing that they could do is grasp and cling. Even though they actually do grasp and cling to them, they are strongly encouraged to prevent that person passing away from experiencing the stickiness of clinging attitudes. That it actually harms that individual.
You know, I heard about something they do occasionally at a baseball game. They call someone out of the viewing stands and give them one chance at bat to hit a home run. The pitcher throws a ball, and if they hit it as a home run, they win a big prize. Like that, a person in transition moves into the batter's place, even though they have made no preparation. Can they hit the ball out of the ballpark? However, they might! A human beings whole life culminates in a definitive moment of change that closes the door to opportunity to make changes in their human activities and participation. It is the final chapter of a book that will now go into another form without another word written. But if their family is calling to them, and distracting them, there is no way that they can do it properly.
In the future, when this world becomes a pure land,(if it doesn't blow up first), aware beings who will be born into that world will move skillfully into their next way of being. The good qualities developed during their lifetime will be a cause for celebration of that person's life by friends and family who will thank them and rejoice on behalf of the many who were touched and were benefited. Although they will miss them, those who witness the transition will be careful of the sacred nature of the transition so that the dying person will not suffer with sorrow and clinging. They will instead, feel the joy of the next phase of their life.
The reason why people are so afraid of their own passing is because they are not prepared. This worlds innate programming causes them to perceive themselves, others, and the world as solid and real. It is difficult to deeply understand that everything that is born will pass away. People need outer education and inner training, as well as meditations to come to the realization that they are actually alive beyond the process of birth and death . Someone who is afraid of death cannot actually live life happily without mature training.
I have established and encouraged the growth of Grand Transition Institute and Hospice. Perhaps thinking about end of life is not very important right now for yourself, but many long time Western Buddhist meditators have no supportive structure for their end of life. They need quiet for meditation and peaceful surroundings for as long as possible, before the actual passing, surrounded by others who understand how to be energetically quiet and patient with the dying person.
This is not just patient on the outside while hiding inner impatience and mental confusion but real change in the caregiver. For more information www.white-conch.org

Please find out more about hospice training through this program that develops the participants within Buddhist principles. This certification program is now available in group setting in day long workshops . It is supported also by regular conference call discussion groups with other students and qualified facilitators.
May there be many more hospices and many meditators trained for their own Grand Transition.
The institute trains hospice workers and eventually trains increasingly skillful practitioners for their own end of life to break the cycle of suffering rebirths. Grand Transition Institute’s primary focus is not to overcome fear of death by teaching, “Oh, it’s okay, you’ll be alright, you're going to go to heaven.” There will be methods and techniques for people to receive training in various kinds of meditations, in order to clearly overcome their fear of death. Eventually they will receive training in end of life yogas to be fully prepared for their own passing. Those people will also become highly qualified to help others achieve a careful transition.

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