The Scripture of the Fo...


The Scripture of the Founding Master

Chapter Nine: Sending on Spirits in Transition


The Founding Master said, “For anyone born into this world, no matter who it is, the moment of death will inevitably come. Thus, today I will explain to you,as someone who is close to the dying person, how to send on the spirit at the time of a person’s entering nirvāṇa, as well as how the person whose spirit is about to depart should prepare for death. Listen closely to these instructions! With people who die unexpectedly due to sudden illness or some sort of accident, or are not amenable to guidance because they lack faith, it will be difficult to apply all my dharmas. However, with people who do not die suddenly and who have even a slight amount of faith, application of these instructions will make their final state of mind stronger and will be of great assistance in delivering their spirits. As a close acquaintance of a terminal patient, you must do the following. First, occasionally burn incense in the patient’s room and keep the room clean, for, if the room is messy, the patient’s spirit will not be clear. Second, always keep the premises quiet, for, if the premises are noisy, the dying person's spirit cannot focus. Third, tell the person many stories of virtuous people, and if he or she performed good deeds in this life, console his or her mind by complimenting those actions. Those wholesome thoughts will then become imprinted on the spirit, readily turning them into the basic habits in the next life. Fourth, do not speak of unwholesome or treacherous things in front of the dying person, and forbid anyone from saying things that are lewd or debauched; for those unwholesome images will also become imprinted on the person's spirit, readily turning them into the basic habits of his or her next life. Fifth, do not express any worries or act dejected about family property, family members, and the like; for that would provoke desire and attachment in the dying person, thereby preventing his or her spirit from ever leaving that place; and should it find no opportunity of being reborn into a human destiny at that site, it would easily fall into baleful destinies. Sixth, recite the Buddha’s name, read scriptures, and offer dharma talks to the person, as is appropriate, or if those sounds bother him or her, then minister to the person with meditation. The dying person’s spirit then will come to rely on such support and will readily attain calmness. Seventh, when the person is about to enter nirvāṇa and gathers his or her last breath, never cause a disturbance by crying, shaking his body, or calling out the person's name, and such. That would only confound the dying person’s spirit and would be of no benefit to him. If your sadness is uncontrollable because of your affection for that person, then wait to express it until several hours after the person has passed away.”