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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Power of Hope – H is Highest Outcome

Part 1 of a series. Hope is kind of a dishwater word; it has an air of desperation about it and is only a hair away from worry. It does not sound like it is going to have a very good outcome, but there are other states of mind added to it in order to make it hope. However, as Buddhists, we want to lift our ability to hope into the power of hope, in the form of a dynamic, proactive state of creativity.

In order to remember and use the technique I have created, we can remember the word hope in a new way. H, O, P, and E in four points are: H represents highest outcome, O is for overcoming obstacles, P is perseverance, and E is for enthusiasm. These are the four important aspects to proactive, dynamic hope that will give you abilities to use hope in ways that will have profound results. H means highest outcome. There is a saying, “We hope for the best.” However, in yogic method, this is a call to arise in a directed and focused energetic that supports the best outcome instead of bland wishing.

Everything is made out of energy. Even your solid body is made of energy. Within the dense body is a flow in you that called energy if you are seeing it from the denser point of view. How you, the dense body/mind complex, use this energy, is how you express your life process toward the outer world. Meditators and also non-meditators use or abuse this natural energy during daily life. This energy is what becomes trained in yogic process in order to support states of mind and what I call high thinking. The inner yogic development will transform interior energies to another level of development under all good circumstances. This energy that you might be presently using in your everyday process can be redirected or trained through meditation and through various kinds of practices.

It is not easy for ordinary people to know what level of energies are developed or trained in others. However, definitely your outer energies have received some form of training already. Otherwise, you might be sitting and without warning or conscious decision, your arm might shoot out and accidentally punch the person next to you! So, you do have some control over your outer energies both by training and will power. You might also decide, “I am now going to sit in this chair for the next hour without fidgeting.” This is power over your outer energies.

However, inside you, there is another kind of energy body beyond will power and behavioral training, and you have probably experienced this energy body from time to time. This energy body can rush to the outer energy body in order to produce some kind of extraordinary strength result. For example, there is a story about a mother whose child fell under the wheels of a car who picked up the car by the bumper and pulled her child out.

You can feel this energy body on the more subtle inner level as something that rises up inside you when you feel, “Someone has just insulted me.” Suddenly, you feel something hot rising up, as if you could shoot firecrackers out your eyes. This is not your outer energy body. This is an inner energy body, which can be quite untrained and often it is only activated spontaneously when you are upset.

This is how yogis hope; they create the energetic support for re-creating a situation where there is a doubtful outcome, where there is a wishing outcome and this is how to make hoping come true! Like that, this energetic needs to rise up in a new way in order to support a state of mind sustaining the highest outcome based on a proactive dynamic of hope.

This energetic body is with you all of the time, and for most of you, has a position in the navel. It has a different kind of intelligence. Interestingly enough, there is recent scientific information about a second brain that resides in the navel with complete and active neural cells. However, we need to understand this better from an experiential point of view so that we can recognize when it activates automatically. Noticing it will help you be able to produce certain kinds of results in the future when it is time to learn how to do this deliberately with facilitated yogic training.

In the navel energy center, combined with mental competence, the pressure of that contained energy will create a support for your hope/wish. In that way, now try to stand up inside mentally. You are not going to stand up in your physical body. You are going to stand up in that energy body that feels somewhat like a visualization. When it stands up, there will be a tremendous energy flow. If you do not know what you are doing, it may be a bit strong for you to tolerate. On the other hand, it may be a very pleasant sensation.

While you are seated, now visualize that from your navel center, there is another kind of body. Now stand up and fill yourself throughout your chest, throughout your arms, and head. Usually people doing this are not standing straight but accustomed to standing crooked, but it is possible to stand up straight. Do not stand up physically. Now allow that to return to the navel.

That is the standing up which energetically supports the highest outcome of the hope and is the support for the mental state that you need to produce. This standing up should not be done as an exercise by itself but in the context of a practice, such as this introduction to the inner body. By the way, this is not the actual being that is your deepest development basis, this is your inner body, or we could say inner being. To be continued…

Friday, April 17, 2009

How to be Happier Today!

Part 5 in a series. In the small town of Sebastopol in northern California, there is a little farmer's market each Sunday. Next to the market is a small town square with a beautiful fountain and sometimes music and dancers. One Sunday I was there sitting on a bench observing people and enjoying. Soon, several little girls about three or four years old arrived with their nanny; each child dressed in a fairy ballerina costume. Their costumes of different colors had little wings and were a bit torn and worn out. Perhaps a couple of them wore their costume every day, just for fun. One of the little girls, in her little tattered fairy costume, decided to get into the fountain. Climbing in, she marched around in a circle in the fountain, laughing and splashing as much water as she could! Soon the other girls joined her in the fountain. It looked like so much fun. My pleasure in seeing children laughing and marching, marching around in the fountain really made me feel happy! Maybe inside each of us, we are sometimes like four-year-olds in fairy costumes, wanting to experience the energy and joy that is being alive!

Have fun by flying a kite! Watch Bill Cosby, he is so funny. I can only watch him for a bit at a time, because he made me laugh so hard. Why not join a laughter yoga club and feel the release of knots by learning how to laugh.


Now we need to think about more serious dharmic remedies to make us feel happier. It is helpful to use remedies such as seven-point mind training and logical analyses such as Twenty Emptinesses of Chandrakirti to root out delusive components lurking within the mind causing unnecesary suffering. The enemy here is the cues and clues that mistakenly alert us of danger that is not there because of habitual over reaction. It is important to calm an over reaction as it acts to stimulate adrenalin rushes that have no physical danger to overcome. Much mental suffering comes from reactive strategies that damage sensitive nerves in the physical body. In addition, the emerging inner nerves of the practitioner can be shaken and damaged by rough adrenalin and chemical rushes.

Other Buddhist remedies for an unhappy mind that have worked for thousands of years include looking at the unsatisfactory nature and lack of benefits gained by indulging in wild sensory activities. These powerful and straightforward logical analyses regarding the unsatisfactory nature of many types of human activities help us make better choices about priorities.

Another way to overcome the obstacles preventing happiness is to understand how little time remains to reach a stage where you can live with a satisfied mind. Another important realization is the uncertainty of the end of life. Practicing these two remedies together causes us to desire to live a satisfied life for a very long time and not discover it on our deathbed. You often hear stories about someone who finally made peace with the world, and then poof, they are gone! What rotten luck! They could have had peace their whole life. They could have lived a happy life, but they waited until the last moment? Well, thank goodness they finally did that, but it's not good enough!

Someone with few wants and needs is happy. The grasping mind becomes exhausted from the programming to acquire objects. It makes you tired and causes you to need to sleep a long time to recover from mental stress. Not only that, but conflicting desires leave the mind even more tired. The body is not so tired, but the mind is. Instead, be someone who is easily satisfied. A truly satisfied mind brings a stable happiness, a mind that is not easy to shake off balance.

In monastic training, if someone offers something, for example, food or a meal, you eat it. You do not say “'
Oh, could you go back in the kitchen and get me something else?” You take what is offered, and practice feeling satisfied from that experience. However, most Western people have so many parameters on what will cause them satisfaction. “Is it organic? Don't you have any raw carrots? I only eat bread from a certain bakery. I need soy powder to put on this. I never eat this kind of food. I must have meat. I must not have meat.” When you recover your balance by being satisfied with what is offered, you will feel happier. Try to think, “ It doesn't matter. Food is food.” That is how we looked at it.

Another important technique to maintain happiness is to practice staying in the flow of the present moment. Life is actually only lived in the present moment, but the distressed and stressed mind pulls and breaks that flow. Please wake up to the living energies that surround and interpenetrate you. Allow yourself to touch life and be part of the living stream of learning and growth only possible if you are actually here.

Work toward arising bodhichitta, the precious mind of enlightenment that will change you into someone of profound value to myriad living beings. Working for the benefit of sentient beings is true happiness because it is in alignment with the values of higher being in alignment toward perfection, the actual goal of all living beings.


In summation, observing others needs and not looking at yourself gives the temporary happiness that prepares for understanding higher functioning life. Awareness of others brings you into the present moment mindfully and benefits both you and your evolutionary development, of course, but it also makes you valuable in this world.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy to Sing and Leap for Joy!

Part 4 of a series The darkness of obstacles clumps energy together gathering like a dirty snowball and clouds you. That is why the delusions are called obscurations because they obscure the lightness of your natural being. The unhappy mind has a darkness to it, a sickly darkness. To reduce the obscuration of anger begins to clear twisted energy held like a tight fist inside. As it clears, the clarity of natural mind begins to shine. This is not yet enlightened mind; this is a correct human mind and its energy life. The natural state of that mind is happiness.

As this darkness begins to lighten, the mental states associated with the stress caused by the density also dissipates and we feel encouraged by that. By feeling better, we want to reduce the dysfunctions even more. At a certain level of clarity by reducing clenched energy further, we see that old strategies were not as good as we thought. Actually, you already knew that anger was not as good a strategy as you thought it was! The strategy of getting what you want by using anger as a tool rarely works and it does not improve with practice. On the other hand, the encouragement that you gain with more space made by clarity, eventually will not only cause reduction in anger, but a complete elimination of anger. This can be done.

In the meantime, we affirm these valuable goals such as enlightenment, compassion, and elimination of delusions and obstacles, and work towards them. At the same time, we should find wholesome enjoyments and be alive to activities that gather our interest and attention to make our mind happy. Try singing to yourself just for the fun of it. We do not have to be so serious all of the time. Even if you are not good at singing, go ahead and sing!

I should not tell this, but it was too much fun. I was at a busy airport rushing between planes one day not long ago, and I came into a kind of domed area. Suddenly, I noticed there was a wonderful echo happening up over my head. “
I cannot let this go,” I thought and “La la la la la la la laaaaaaaaaaaa!” I felt like I was in a fancy concert hall. I would have missed some good fun if I had not taken the opportunity to test the acoustics! As you probably guessed, I am not shy, not like in my before. I think if I was walking next to someone in a busy airport, and they suddenly burst into song-- that would make me happy! It would delight me, and so it was a win-win situation!

Paint a wall, or paint a picture to make yourself happy. Some people are not good at painting a picture; it would make them unhappy to try to paint a picture, so paint a wall! Take walks and visit the flowers. While you are waiting for enlightenment to happen and you are working toward goals, learn something new! Learn and stretch your limitations. See how far you can jump down the steps. Can you make it to Whole Foods and back in less than three minutes? Think of fun things to delight your mind. Stretch your limitations. See you many cherries you can eat…or not! Practicing the abilities you already have will definitely bring you joy and an inner sense of fun. Don’t be so serious; a smile will not break your face!

I live far out in the country at my hermitage in central Wisconsin, where the retreat facilities are located. There are many cows and horses in our area, and many Amish farms that have quite a few draft and carriage horses. One day as I was driving to town, I saw a colt, not more than a month old, leaping, jumping, and running down a fenced field. When it reached the other end, it ran back as fast as its little legs could carry it, leaping and jumping again! I am going past fifty miles an hour, watching this colt and its display of effervescent joy. Testing its legs and challenging its abilities while experiencing joy caused me to feel its joy all the way into town! To be continued…

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happiness and the Feel Good Feeling

Part 3 of a series If past and future lives exist, then the learning that comes from the changes and decisions we have made in previous times would influence our choices right now, isn't that so? However, if past and future lives do not exist, then it is even more important that we make careful choices based on experiences in this life as well as observations of others' mistakes. If past and future lives do not exist, then the careful choices that we make by analyzing others' successes and failures, as well as our own should be made as quickly as possible, so we can enjoy this one life we have!

On the other hand, again, if past and future lives do exist, then how extremely valuable it would be to finally gain understanding of the nature of how you exist and halt the suffering of deep confusion that has driven you to harm yourself and others. This harm from confusion needs to end or it will go on lifetime after lifetime in useless activities and useless pursuits of illusory happiness like drinking salt water to quench your thirst. How marvelous that day will be, to actualize the positive benefit of the efforts of previous lives. How wonderful to be the one that will finally quiet that suffering that you have experienced in many, many, many lives!

How to find true happiness: Seek the well being of others as a method for gaining freedom from grasping. This is the very cultivated and traditional Buddhist method to reduce grasping. Suffering ordinary beings live a vacillation between knowing that something is wrong and the view that there is something out there that will make them feel good.. This is painful because while this dysfunctional vacillation is happening, you are required to deeply look at yourself in order to compare the vision of what you are experiencing inside versus outside.

You have the vision that there is something out there that will end your suffering that has become exacerbated by vacillation. In order to gain that prize, you will need to continuously check, "Is this the thing?" Then you go out to the world, asking, "Is that the thing? Is this the thing? Is this still the thing here? Does that match what I am seeing here inside?" You are placing projections on your outer world and others in order to comply with the vision that you hold of what will satisfy you. In this way, we literally attempt to recreate the world outside in order to satisfy this dynamic of making it the thing that we are looking for.

We miss the opportunity of being alive because of focusing instead on trying to satisfy this particular aspect of innate grasping. This model is based on misknowledge of how we are alive. We can see it in our own life and even more easily in the lives of others. We can read storybooks and gain a more objective viewpoint when it is happening to someone else. Sitting in a nice winged-back chair reading about the grasping of others helps us understand more objectively how they became so confused. Really, storybooks are very nice for that purpose.

We did not have storybooks in Tibet like you have here, and occasionally I quite enjoy reading stories about how confused people can become, by applying perceptions and misknowledge, while perpetrating grasping strategies. It is like a soap opera, you know it is going to go wrong. You know that Suzie and Bob are going to have a problem. You say to your TV, "Oh, do not do that! Do not go in that room, and do not say that to Bob!" But in she goes, and the series goes on for 20 years because they cannot stop grasping!

Traditional Buddhist teachings encourage us to look at a different object inside ourself, and that object is others and not self. The sophistication of this view is, that others are not out there but inside you but are not you. When we become proficient, we lose the connection to, or the attraction toward the grasping mind, and suddenly we feel happy. When you stop looking at yourself, you suddenly feel happy. Therefore, we feel that this looking at one's self, staring at one's self, is the actual problem.

Many beginner or medium practitioners say they want to be of benefit to others. Sometimes I ask, "Why? Why do you want to be of benefit to others?" They usually say, "Because it makes me feels good. It feels good to help others." This is not the method to make us feel good and happy by seeking the feel-good feeling of helping others. It is the stopping looking at ourselves that makes us feel happy. It is actually the only thing that makes us feel happy, as human beings.

It is like being on a vacation that rests your mind. Stopping looking at yourself…Just think of the time and money you could save on airfare going to the Bahamas, or flying halfway around the world. Just stop looking at yourself! You will become relaxed and happy. In five minutes, you could be ready to go back to work after taking a one hundred year vacation from the grasping mind. The first time it happens, you will be very surprised. You will feel as though you are liberated. It is the most marvelous happy feeling that you can have as a human being.

In addition, we need to work toward the valuable goal of reducing anger that will definately produce a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. This is another valuable goal among others including actually working toward valuable goals as a source of happiness. To the extent that we can reduce anger, even a little bit, we gain a sense of lightness in body and mind, and happiness begins to look at you again! To be continued….

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hunting Down Happiness

Part 2 In truth, being happy does not depend upon having successes or having our needs met in the way we want them to be met. Sometimes people do get the thing they want, but not done in the manner they wanted it to be done, so then it becomes unhappiness. Getting a raise happiness, getting a new car happiness, or getting the final tin soldier in your antique collection set happiness, are not the criteria of happiness. It is so interesting that this is still such an integral part of everyday philosophy because these ideas do not exist in the scriptures or even in the teachings of Christianity as happiness. However, it is like a teeter-totter. Over here, you have reasonable values regarding happiness and suffering by the great minds and philosophers from the Buddha to Socrates to Wittgenstein. Over here, you have a five hundred pound gorilla demanding that you obey society norms by seeking happiness through accepted common values.

Our perceptions of what is and what is not happiness form our opinions of what is valuable. That causes us to seek and mold our behaviors and strategies toward those goals. The mature individual becomes convinced to adopt certain priorities that will definitely destroy ineffective methods of hunting down happiness that harms themselves and others, like hunting down bunny rabbits and little Bambi deer. Taking a longer view of gaining a balanced life, they decide that they cannot harm others in order to gain benefit for themselves. Then, within that context they balance their own needs against the potential harm that personal gratification may cause others. These attitudes are discussed in much greater depth in the great commentaries and the Buddhist scriptures. Do take time to read, understand, and develop all of the logical processes that are behind these important ideas.

This mature individual cannot take a short-term gain in happiness and a long-term loss as a method. It would be like the farmer who eats the seed corn instead of planting it. We have concerns for the strategies that have been used in the past regarding the environment. Previous generations have often used our environment without regard for their own pleasure without thinking about future generations. This short-term view is also like a drug addict who takes harmful drugs to feel good, while at the same time they know it may cause their early death as well as terrible harm to their family.

As an individual matures, their practice motivation and strategies effortlessly define their personality and their seemingly separate personality’s life as a human being. You have already done a lot of work developing your personality, behaviors, and values. In a self-affirming way, how you react to situations and the methods you use to deal with situations recreate, mold, and shape your personality as well as having produced the strategies in the first place. This will continue to effortlessly produce more ideas and strategies. You do not even have to think very hard because it is automatic.

It is as though you personality has a life of its own, and you wear this personality as an aggregation of methods for daily living. However, it often seems as though the personality is the one who owns the life and we are compelled to follow a script of behaviors whether we want to or not. It knows what to do because of practiced strategies. Within this natural human dynamic, the mature individual deliberately hones strategies so that their personality becomes developed and effortless in doing the right things.

As one develops new and valuable strategies and methods in their personality, it allows, and actually facilitates further development of that individual in a systematic process. However, you do not become the marvelous personality that always knows what to do and how to do it, overnight. It requires practice, and then it requires thinking about whether this worked or did not work, so that you can have a tool for future development. To summarize this process; as the personality matures, your wishing to experience true happiness becomes stronger, that wish turns into a stronger version of itself, and you begin to desire to do something about it.

Of course, everyone wishes to be happy, but there are not many taking steps about acquiring true happiness. We should develop and think about valuable goals and then work toward making them happen. One of these goals is the valuable aspiration of the awakened state of enlightenment. To follow in the footsteps of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni is to wish to be rid of suffering and to wish to enter higher development.

People have many different ideas about what this enlightenment is so I asked a few students on your behalf. These are all somewhat interesting ideas: Wishing to know everything… wishing to be everywhere simultaneously….. What are some other good ideas? Wishing to definitively win the race….no, well, maybe some people have competitive ideas. It does not mean that that is what enlightenment is, but these are some ideas about the enlightened experience.. Wanting to be everlastingly happy… wanting to meet other enlightened beings….

I met someone who was quite insistent; they asked me several times, if I had met Jesus or if I had met Mohammad personally. I had to say that it is not like that …as though there was some church somewhere where all enlightened beings got together and shook hands. Anyway, this was their idea. I suppose it is as valid as any other idea, for them, but hopefully it was a transitional idea.

So anyway… enlightenment is a valuable goal. Even though we might not know exactly what this goal is, we do know that there are careful methods of working toward this goal. Because the Great Path to the awakened state is facilitated, should we get partially toward the goal and falter in our motivation, someone will come along and pick us up and set us straight. These are some thoughts about the value of enlightenment and community in our search for happiness. To be continued…

Monday, April 13, 2009

Buddhism and the Unhappy Mind

I have observed something magical, which happens when people are thinking about their children and their safety. They pray, visualize or demand that nothing bad and no unhappiness will ever come to make their precious child suffer. Your mother never, ever intended to bear children so that they would experience the least amount of unhappiness, isn't that so? If your mothers and fathers wishes were obeyed by the universe, you would have never suffered what you have already endured. In that perfect world, where mothers rule, she would tell you, "Oh, my children, you just be happy," and you would have instantly obeyed your mother's wishes perfectly.

In fact, your mother must have been right because happiness is the natural state of the mind. Therefore, unhappiness must be the unnatural state of the mind, unnatural meaning unbalanced, and not poised, out of equilibrium, and bulging with an agenda weighing down the mind.

This unbalanced state of the unhappy mind is always in flux between hoping for the best, so remains alert and not ready to give up and pretty sure something bad is coming. They usually are quite ready to blame also. Immediately, a cascade effect happens producing a state of mind of blaming in trying to figure out whose fault it was. The actual delusion is a process or practice of blame, feeling disrespected, and then further noticing how that feeling feels. This is part of the perceptual machinery associated with the unhappy mind.

For an aware person with an active inner eye, unhappiness does not look very pretty. There are many different kinds of sickly colors, slow moving and darkened. It feels like the smells in certain places in India that assail your nose at every turn. For the person who cannot smell, we say it is such a blessing! In this new life, not my before, but now, I can turn off my smeller. It is a very lucky thing. So, like that, it is better to not look at everybody with the inner eye. It does not benefit them and can make your inner being feel uncomfortable.

This sorry state is painful for the experiencer of that unhappy mind and, for the most part, it is also painful for those watching. Most people, however, cannot see the energetic colors, or the hidden agenda bulging from an unhappy mind, but they can almost always feel something. Maybe they are good at reading expressions on the face. However, I understand that, in some parts of the world, especially people from Northern climates, have faces are not very flexible, (maybe because of such cold weather), and it is hard to tell whether they are unhappy or happy. Finnish people, I think; perhaps you need to examine very closely, with a photoelectric device or some other measuring device because otherwise you cannot tell what their mood is. They have very solid expressions. I think many people in the US living in the Midwest have that in their background too, not so wild or exuberant or easy to read.

Shantideva was a great Buddhist master, and the author of the Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life. He wrote, "Those who seek escape from suffering move toward their own misery. The very happiness, out of delusion, will destroy well-being as if it were its enemy.”

The very desire to be free from suffering sets in motion a cycle which actually brings about the very dastardly result that we did not want to experience. Because of that, the remedies that we use to rid ourselves of unhappiness usually do not address the main problem. The problem is that we are not in the natural state of happiness, but instead, we are using our life energies in the struggle of holding away unhappiness that seems to be attacking us from all sides.

There is a kind of folk philosophy that affirms a modicum of happiness referred to as the balance of good and bad in life. “Life is like that; you pay for the good times with the bad times.” They say that this balance is quite okay because the payment for all the good times and the happy times comes from the suffering that paid for them in the bad times. Really, this is an interesting logic. As long as the good times are more frequent than the bad times, life is good. When the bad times come more than the good times, life is bad. The problem is that this proportion of good and bad keeps changing. You cannot control the switches very well. It would follow that life is like a defective toaster. It is a bit broken because it burns the toast but still too good to throw out. Unless you watch it carefully, it will toast and then quickly burn. Like that, the very thing that brought you happiness and anticipation of more happiness is now bringing you unhappiness but it still works sometimes.

Like that, I want to have a delicious meal. I arrive home and the smell of this delicious food immediately puts me in a pleasant state of mind. Sitting down at the table with my mother and family, I take the first bite and it tastes delicious. I might even make appreciative sounds. As I continue eating, a pleasant conversation continues with my family while eating and enjoying the delicious meal. Suddenly, hard to say which spoonful, but suddenly I do not want it anymore. Perhaps mother notices and reprimands; "Now you eat every bite of that." "I do not want to." Mother, "You love this kind of food. Now, you eat it!" You feel disrespected. You feel unhappy toward the very thing that made you happy a moment ago as well as unhappy with others to be forced. If something could make you truly happy, then the more you ate it, the happier you would become. In fact, that is not true. At a certain point, even happiness can turn into unhappiness just by continuing to do the same activity.

So, how can we be genuinely happy? Indulging in activities that make us happy can bring about unhappiness and holding away unhappiness does not make us feel happy either. There must be another way of looking at it. To be continued…

Sunday, April 12, 2009

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.