Book/Novel

Preparations for Death

Author: Master Sheng Yen

Q: The Master has revealed that I believe that having an eternal past and an eternal future is the best preparation for “death.” In addition, can you ask the Master to give further instructions, who can prepare for the end of life and what to do beforehand? Planning and preparation for death

A: It takes a lot of work to deal with the situation behind the scenes , inheritance, funeral ceremonies, and even debt settlement, but I think it is very important to prepare for death.

In traditional Chinese rural society, people over the age of 50 will begin to prepare for the big things behind them, such as buying shrouds, shouyi and shou points. This is to avoid bothering others, and to plan ahead and leave some coffin for yourself. This attitude of calmly facing death is very healthy and well worth learning by modern people. Because the dying person does not think that death is a tragic thing, and the next generation does not feel that the elders can’t stand it. Everyone can use the rational and calm mood to meet the inevitable day.
  
  Looking deeper, since more than half of the people are expected to die, they will be more active in fulfilling their unfulfilled wishes, or benefiting their children and grandchildren; and their children will be self-defense, grasping time and filial piety, so as to avoid having a child. No regrets.
  
  The era has evolved into the 21st century. Although the average life expectancy of human beings has prolonged, the preparation for death is not as calm as the agricultural society. With the rapid advancement of medical technology, the public seems to generally expect that “the person will win the day”. For the god of death that may come at any moment, he loses the psychological preparations he is facing at any time, so that when he comes, Zhang Hao loses his mind and cannot accept the fact of death.
  
  On the surface, modern people are better protected and their life span is extended, but the chance of death has not decreased. For example, the population of modern people who die from natural disasters may decrease; but the relative probability of death in man-made disasters increases. For example, traffic accidents, occupational injuries, and cases of death and injury caused by environmental pollution and excessive development and destruction of the natural environment are also rare in agricultural societies.
  
  The lifestyle of the age of science and technology reduces the expectations and preparations of death for the average person. This kind of mentality is fully reflected in the welcoming of new life. Modern parents are all in the hospital for production, the reason is nothing more than safe in the hospital, in case of a situation, you can immediately receive the best medical rescue. But is advanced medical technology and equipment really guaranteed to be safe? It seems that I can’t do it so far!
  
  From another point of view, the function of the hospital is two-fold. On the one hand, it accepts students, and on the other hand, it is also dead. In fact, every new life is faced with the challenge of illness and death from time to time in the process of birth and birth. More closely, when people are born, they are connected with death. If you can recognize the inevitable causal relationship between death and death, it is easier to overcome the fear of death and accept death.
  
  Once upon a time, the wave of “career planning” in the society, from this wave, has spawned many hot topics and theories, including the cultivation of second expertise, sexual orientation, personality cognition, interpersonal relationship management, time management, and the second spring of life. Even financial management and so on. This knowledge can indeed help many people adapt to or master the new era of change, but the pity is that very few people incorporate the concept of “death planning” when discussing career planning.
  
  On the other hand, Westerners often write good wills when they are young, and then correct them according to changes in subjective and objective conditions. Although Taiwanese society is currently willing to be strong, the population of insurance purchases has increased year by year, and the concept of precaution is stronger than before; but it seems that people who are willing to paint their own affairs in the past are not common. I suggest that you should think about the issue of death at any stage of your life so that when you are “accident”, your relatives and friends will be sad and confused.
  
  In fact, death planning requires neither taboo nor complexity. It mainly includes body treatment (burial ceremony), inheritance and debt processing. This is a concrete manifestation of the ultimate responsibility for yourself and others. These things have not been clarified when there are clear sequelae. For example, children have different beliefs, and how to hold funeral and burial for their parents is too much. In addition, in order to fight for the inheritance, the wife and children control each other, so they go to court. These things are not safe for the dead and the living.
  
  There used to be a Neo-Confucian scholar named Tang, who himself advocated the Confucian “death, burial, and ritual” to handle personal affairs. But when his mother passed away, he hesitated because he felt that Confucian rituals were not what his mother needed. Later, he thought that his mother’s habits were more inclined to Buddhism, so he used Buddhist rituals to hold a funeral for his mother. Interestingly, he used Buddhist rituals when he was alive.
  
  There is a religious belief before a life, and his aftermath is easier to deal with. The descendants can only follow his beliefs; if there is no religious belief, then the bereaved family should follow the example of Mr. Tang and consider it in the position of the dead.
  
  Four real cases
  
  Next, I will tell some real examples. The masters in these stories are dealing with the heritage, and the attitude of facing and preparing for death should be inspiring and helpful to many people in the society.
  
  There is an old lady who left a large legacy when she passed away. The old lady’s children were very filial, so she distributed all the family members to the children. The filial children comforted her and asked her to take turns to live in the children’s home.
  
  Two years later, she came to see me, and she was very painful. She said that the child would have welcomed her very much; gradually, she felt that things were getting more and more unpleasant. On the holidays, the three sons asked her to go to other brothers’ homes, that is, she did not want to stay with her at home. My son’s house is very big, but the old lady lives in the living room and does not give her own room, because the son thinks that the old lady only occasionally stays a little, and it is a big burden for her to leave the room in a city full of gold. However, this situation makes the old lady very inconvenient and very insecure.
  
  Later, I asked her son why “don’t” mother? Her child replied that Amitabha, not that they do not want a mother, is a mother who has a lot of opinions, and always swears, making the size of the family unsafe.
  
  Finally, I asked the old lady to live in the temple. She humbly said that she had no longevity and could not support the Buddhist temple. She had to arrange for her to live in a nursing home.
  
  Another old lady, when dealing with the same situation, seems to be more intelligent. After the death of the old lady, the old lady did not distribute the inheritance to her children. She divides the estate into four equal parts, one for the children, the other for all the employees of the husband, the third for investing in the living, and the last one for the expenses of life. Moreover, she does not live with the children, she and her domestic helpers live, no family tired, and live freely.
  
  During the festive season, the children and grandchildren returned to their hometown to reunite with her. She must send everyone a big red envelope. All sons, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren are happy. Even on weekdays, children and grandchildren often ask for help and see if the elderly have any needs until the death of her family. The family maintains a happy and happy relationship. And some of her children are also very dedicated to her cooking, doing things, doing things like Buddha. I think that this old lady still has two properties, which may be a small incentive. This is not to say that her child is only filthy for greed. The key is that when people are in their old age, it is best to learn to take care of themselves and not to rely on their children’s thoughts.
  
  Of course, not everyone in the society can have a legacy for the later years. If you don’t have any savings, you must have a good relationship.
  
  In the past, there was a male believer in Nongchan Temple. He didn’t have much money, but he volunteered to go to the temple almost every day to help with some small pieces of woodwork. He also participated in the group of helpers for the dying. After he was alive, we used the squadrons to go out of the house, live in the temple to learn the family’s spiritual life, and prepare for the ceremonies of the home-owners who were born when they were mature. They arranged for him, many believers and friends before him. Also helped him with his help. I am afraid that it will be better than his full-fledged children and grandchildren, and he will be more successful than some people who are rich but less popular.
  
  Therefore, having wealth must be wise to use, but if you don’t have a wealthy family, you need to know how to make a good relationship. This is very important. The male layman not only greeted death with peace of mind, but also dedicated the rest of his life to religion. People who are willing to pay like this can face death with ease. He not only does things for life, but also such a death attitude is beneficial to future generations. Because the dying person can go to the end of life without fear, this peaceful emotion also infects the relatives and friends around, so that they do not fall into a sad situation.
  
  Another good example is the story of my disciple and her mother. The father of the sorcerer’s father died very early, and the younger brothers also married each other. The priests lived with their mothers for seventeen years before they left home. The mother and the daughter are dependent on each other and their feelings are very deep. When the priests proposed to go out to practice, the old Bodhisattva did not stop, this kind of open-minded, free and easy temperament is really rare.
  
  After the fruit sorcerer went to the Nongchan Temple, the old Bodhisattva went to the Nongchan Temple kitchen to volunteer, participated in various spiritual activities in the temple, and studied Buddha on Saturday. The Buddha of the Seven Buddhas was rarely absent every year. Until she died, she participated in thirteen times. The seventy-year-old Bodhisattva has always refused to accept the old. In the Zen Hall of Zen Seven, Zen III, and Zen One, she often sees her figure and is very refined. She is very funny and has a very good relationship. Everyone calls her “Ancient Cone Bodhisattva”.
  
  In the year of her death (1998, the old Bodhisattva was 76 years old), I just returned from the United States and met the old Bodhisattva in the temple. I saw her walking, and she felt that she was not feeling well. She: “Is it good?” The
  
  old boss raised his thumb and said, “Gai Yong!”
  
  In fact, she was very uncomfortable in the days when she was on the temple, but she was not willing to let the fruit chef know her condition. It has been a bit serious. In the first two days of the Environmental Protection Day, her health condition was already very poor, but because she had already promised the Bodhisattva in the Beitou District to pack the steamed radish cake, she insisted on wrapping up thousands of tablets on the night before the garden tour. Zongzi. At about 3 o’clock in the morning, she got up and steamed her throat, and sent it to Linong Park to set up the booth. She asked her to send her to Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei. In the evening, the situation deteriorated and I went to the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Linkou for emergency treatment.
  
  After that, the old Bodhisattva was unconscious for six days, and the priests reminded the old Bodhisattva from time to time. If she is awake during this period, she will recite the Buddha or hold the “Great Compassion Mantra” to bring forth the righteous thoughts of the Buddha. Because she has played more than a dozen Buddha Sevens and participated in the meditation practice every Saturday, she is very familiar with the rhythm of the Buddha. Therefore, I often use the hand to beat the bed to make the sound of the wooden fish, and use the Buddha to resist the pain and faintness.
  
  On the sixth day, she looked a little annoyed and wanted to go home. Guo Yushi asked Guodong to show her, and Guodong asked her to put her heart down and take out the usual lavish spirit to face the most important moment at the moment. After Wanyuan put it down, after about half an hour, she went to peace. .
  
  According to the fruit sorcerer, the old bodhisattva was sick, his hands were dripping, his nostrils and mouth were inserted with many tubes, his body was stiff and his face was pale. After his death, he helped the Bodhisattva to bring up righteous thoughts under the help of the Masters and Lianyou of Fagushan. When changing clothes, the body of the old Bodhisattva became soft and his face was rosy. She usually sleeps when she sleeps, her mouth is open; but when she is alive, her eyes and mouth are closed, and her mouth is still smiling.
  
  The next morning after the old Bodhisattva, I told my disciples that
  
  this old man had a little more heart than our monks. Although they are sick, they are still calm and refined. I am working hard for the work of volunteers. The old Bodhisattva does not think that his condition is not light, so he can live a good life and die, and concentrate on the Buddha. She will continue to give until the end.
  
  Some people are sick and they are lying in bed to raise a disease (especially in the elderly). At this time, her mood is easy to fall into a low tide, and it is inevitable that she will sigh. Even children, grandchildren, relatives and friends who care for him will blame one by one. The troubles are extremely heavy. It is the monks who can’t say that 100% can’t afford such ignorance (the troubles caused by ignorance), so they either complain that the group is “cold-blooded” or complain that the teachers and brothers have no love. It is a blessing to be able to live like the old Bodhisattva of the sorcerer, indicating that she has less trouble, let her go, and how refreshing she is. This not only has implications for the public, but even our monks can learn from them.
  
  The last example to talk about is a female believer, how to make the best use of the last two or three days of her life to let her life come to a successful conclusion.
  
  The female bodhisattva told me after her husband died that she would not leave her legacy to her only child after her death, but would like to donate it to me. I advised her that the two of us are of similar age. It is still unknown who goes to the West first. Maybe I will take a step first and donate property to me is not a good idea. So she decided to donate her estate to Fagushan. I said, that’s right. The Drum Gushan is the dojo of the Ten Sides. Through the dojo, the benefits are sentiment, and the merits are mostly. I didn’t expect things to come so fast, but it really came.
  
  Not long after, I was in the United States, received a call from her, saying that she was dying, I was surprised, comforting her not to think about it. But she said:
  
  ”Master, I am now at the Veterans General Hospital. I am vomiting blood. I am dying.”
  
  ”How come? The sound of 妳 sounds good.”
  
  ”The doctor also said that I am dying. I have to leave the hospital for leave.”
  
  ”If you are so sick, how can you leave the hospital?”
  
  ”I am going to leave the hospital for property transfer, please Master assigned the Master to go through the formalities with me.
  
  So I explained to the two disciples who managed the finances in the temple and accompanied them. The female Bodhisattva was busy all day and looked good. The two mages who were with her did not believe she was a patient who was about to die. After the matter was completed, she returned to the hospital on vacation and went to the next day.
  
  Afterwards, we also buried her as a “walker”, and her bereaved family readily accepted her arrangements for the aftermath. Later, Fa Gushan set up a Buddhist education promotion center with her real estate, and set up a permanent commemorative scholarship with the movable property she left behind.
  
  This attitude towards the end of life is solemn and serene.
  
  Question: The Master has just revealed the usual psychological preparations. So, after a very short period of time or a moment before the end of the dying, what can the dying person and relatives do?
  
  Let go and help.
  
  Answer: If the consciousness is still clear at the end of the dying, you should completely put down the various affairs of the living, and don’t worry about them any more.
  
  Standing in a religious position, it is a great merit to encourage dying people to read Buddha and help them. For the dying person who has lost consciousness, although he can’t speak, he can still feel the outside world, especially the feelings of his loved ones, so the sincerity of the helpers can still be conveyed to them.
  
  The helper is to mourn the holy name of Amitabha by the dead, with a soft voice, a compassionate heart, and a firm belief.
  
  There are four meanings of the helper: First, it is the individual-to-individual, family-to-family mutual help, and the helplessness and helplessness of the lost family is transformed into a support system for mutual assistance. Fa Gushan set up a support group seven or eight years ago. At that time, I told the members of the group of helpers that after the help, most of the family members would give a “red envelope” as a reward. But we must not collect money, but we must accept “people.” Because the bereaved people ask for help, they must know the benefits of the helper, and they also bear such benefits. In this case, you should join the group of helpers to help others. This is the development of the spirit of mutual assistance.
  
  Second, help the dead to live in the Western Paradise. Friends and relatives and others can help the dying of the sacred people to follow the Buddha, and the Western Sansheng (Amitabha, the Great Bodhisattva, Guanyin Bodhisattva). Even if the deceased is not deep enough because of his own well-being, or if his karma is not mature and his wishes are not earnest, he cannot go to the Western Buddhism, but he will certainly be able to go to a better place.
  
  Third, assist the families of the deceased to settle their mind and body. Because of the calming power of the Buddha, the complex emotions of sadness and fear can be reduced.
  
  Finally, the helper is also a method of practice for the helper himself, as well as the merits of the promotion of the Fa. The more experience you have in helping, the more you can firmly believe in the faith in the West. If you can read your heart and mind, your merits will be perfect.
  
  If you have the habit of chanting Buddha when you are alive, and the willingness to live in the West is strong, this is more than usual, and you should be more steadfast when you ask for help. Therefore, it is still necessary to prepare in order to avoid “temporary cuddling” and chaos.
  
  Question: Is the Buddha number asking the dead to go to the Western Pure Land? Are the Buddhists of all sects in China also taking the Western Paradise as the last place to go?
  
  A: Most of the Buddhist sects in China have made such a wish, except for Zen or South Asian Buddhists. If you don’t go to the West, you can go to other Buddhism countries, or reincarnate and practice and practice the Fa. It is all very good.
  
  For the general public, the Western Paradise World, which is willing to live in Amitabha, is the best destination after weekdays or dying. Many people who don’t have religious beliefs usually don’t think about where to go after death. It doesn’t matter where they go. If the bereaved family can do big Buddha affairs and give big things to him, he still has the opportunity to go to the West. Because after a person dies, it is inevitable that there will be no dependence. The family members who are bereavement, whether they are worshipping, chanting, or holding a curse, are guiding the deceased in a direction, telling him that “going to the west” (to the west) can be happy, and the undead Usually I will accept the guidelines because he does not know where to go. If you are unpredictable during your lifetime, and no one will guide him after the death, and neither is a good man (returning to heaven) nor a big wicked (squatting hell), then such a dead will usually regenerate in the world.
  
  Q: Is it so easy to go to the Western Paradise? Isn’t it only for people who have practiced to a certain extent to travel?
  
  A: (Smile) Many people think that the Buddha Kingdom is very far away, and the rocket can’t be reached. In fact, as long as the corresponding sentence arrives, the Buddhist scriptures say: “The arm is bent to the lotus pond.” Means: As long as confidence is firm, people and Buddha The distance can be reached as long as the flexion and extension of the arm are once. This is still slow, in fact, a thought and Buddha correspond to it, you can arrive.
  
  Moreover, Buddhism believes that all religions have their own paradise, and believers with strong faith can go to the heaven of their own religion. From this point of view, whether there is a religious belief for the dying person is very different.

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