using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 10 30 The Dharma Will, Entrusted Dharma Friends, and the Dharma Box When we understand the importance of the dying process and the potential we have for liberation during and after our death, it will be easy to see how essential it is to prepare properly for death. I would like to plant seeds here first for the idea of a dharma will and also for what I call entrusted dharma friends. I encourage students to form core groups of entrusted dharma friends who agree to help each other through the dying process according to the wishes written down in each person’s dharma will. the dharma will allows us to record our spiritual directives, so family and friends will know the kind of death we wish to experience and how it can be accomplished. our entrusted dharma friends should at least be familiar with phowa [the transference of consciousness at the time of death] and other buddhist practices. once each person has written a dharma will, he or she can share it within the core group as part of training in recognizing the signs of death, mastering phowa, and learning how to skillfully help someone through the dying process. entire sanghas, or spiritual communities, can also pledge to help entrusted dharma friends within their community fulfill their commitments. each core group will need others from the spiritual community to assume some of the tasks involved in supporting the dying person’s wishes, such as informing the sangha about appropriate prayers and rituals, practic- ing phowa together, and helping with funeral arrangements. this will be a wonderful way to strengthen our spiritual rela- tionships and gain confidence in using the dying process for spiritual practice. once we are skilled in phowa, a monthly or bi-monthly group practice session can support the entire community’s effort. I also advocate creating a “dharma box,” an actual box which will contain everything we and our entrusted dharma friends will need to help us through the dying process. the dharma box will include copies of our dharma will and legal papers, ritual items, dharma practice texts, and instructions for family and friends. once the dharma box is complete, we can return to our dharma vision and engage fully in the practices we have committed to through the creation of that vision, with the assurance that we have put everything in place for the time of death. Creating Your Dharma Vision through Contemplation there are many traditional meditations on death and imper- manence in the foundational practices of all schools of tibetan buddhism. We can think about how the seasons change and how the elements of the world around us transform; we can look at how our bodies have changed from the time we were born until now; we can contemplate how our minds are con- stantly transforming. reflecting on impermanence is the best way to prepare ourselves for the moment of death. Please take some time to reflect on the contemplations below. here, I will suggest some specific questions for you to con- template. It would be best to set aside a personal retreat day or weekend without interruptions for these practices, or to do this with your entrusted dharma friends in a group retreat. you may want a journal to write down insights and ideas that arise as you do these practices. some students have also found journaling helpful in tracking their progress in medita- tion and conduct over a period of a month or so and they use that as a basis for further reflection. you should decide what tools will help you the most in making this assessment of your dharma practice. again, I encourage you to take an honest look at yourself as a buddhist practitioner on the path. sit quietly and culti- vate a proper motivation. Generate bodhichitta—the wish to become enlightened in order to help others attain enlighten- ment. I suggest you begin by reading one of the contempla- tions below to yourself several times. take time to consider it fully, keeping your mind focused but open to all ideas that The best time to practice, the best time to prepare for the reality of death, and the best time to clarify our own dharma visions, is the present. Don’t waste a moment.