Saturday, March 04, 2006

Preparing for Death

Does your path lead you to believe that it's necessary to cultivate a certain consciousness or mindset before death? Do you try to maintain that on a daily basis, if so? What things would you do to prepare spiritually for death if you suspected it was imminent? How does your view of the afterlife affect your daily practice and lifestyle? [I don't expect answers to each individual question, just addressing this general topic.]

I was involved in a religion that impressed upon its members the need for a certain frame of mind at the time of death, and I'm aware of others that share this point of view. I am trying to convey some of the diversity of viewpoints to the palliative care team at our local hospital, who didn't understand why Buddhist monks were surrounding the bed of one of their fellows and chanting (bothering him). I think in his mind you've either led a good life and go to heaven or not, so why were all these people in their tormenting him like that instead of leaving him in peace?

All of this led me to wonder what members here think about death, what happens to us, and whether we need to do anything special to prepare for it. I am still affected by the point of view that consciousness is important at that time and have a topic at my forum for former Hare Krishna devotees about it. I also have a list of books about death from a variety of perspectives in that topic that some might find useful.

And may I share your answer with the palliative team if I think they would find it useful? Our town has a sizeable number of pagans and I know they'll encounter these issues sooner or later.

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