Buddhism teaches that death can be a springboard to enlightenment—yet for all but the most advanced meditators, it will be the gateway to countless future lives of suffering in samsara. Tulku Thondup wrote this guide to help us heal our fear and confusion about death and strengthen our practice in anticipation of this transition, and to help us realize the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy—not only for death and rebirth, but for this very lifetime. In simple language, he distills a vast range of sources, including scriptures, classic commentaries, oral teachings, and firsthand accounts. The book includes:
• An overview of the dying process, the after-death bardo states, and teachings on why, where, and how we take rebirth
• Accounts by Tibetan "near-death experiencers" (delogs), who returned from death with amazing reports of their visions
• Ways to train our minds during life, so that at death, all the phenomena before us will arise as a world of peace, joy, and enlightenment
• Simple meditations, prayers, and rituals to benefit the dead and dying
• Advice for caregivers, helpers, and survivors of the dying
This edition includes an audio program providing guided instructions by the author on how to visualize Amitabha Buddha in the Pure Realm; how to receive his blessings; how to visualize transforming your body into light and sound at the time of death; how to share the blessings with compassion for all sentient beings; and how to rest in oneness. By becoming intimate with this practice while we're alive, we can alleviate our fear of death, improve our appreciation of this life, and prepare for death in a very practical way, while planting the seeds for rebirth in the Pure Land.