A few serious questions about death.

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A few serious questions about death.

Post by StudentAndObserver » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:19 pm

I'm in a general medicine course in school, which requires us to intern at the hospital two days a week. Last week, someone saw patient die after she went several days without dialysis. The death took a few hours. Forgive me, I just started learning more about Buddhism, and have only recently started seeing it as a way to live by, and not just something to think about when convenient. I've only been to the part of the hospital that does ultrasounds, but this week I'll be going to the department for premature births and traumatic accidents are common, and am very likely to be close by someone as they die.

I remember reading a few parts of Bardo Thodol, which teaches "liberation through hearing during the intermediate state," but I dont remember much of it word-by-word. My main question is this: What is there that I could do to help them find some level of peace? The patients I see are often unable to hear in the physical sense, and wont react if I speak to them. Some are too young to even understand language, or under so many drugs that they won't hear me. To add to this, I don't think the nurses and doctors would appreciate me reading any sort of cultural texts as they try to work, but I still have silent prayer. Is there something I could say or do to help them in a spiritual way, even in their state?

I would appreciate if you could respond if you know the answer to this. :yingyang:

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Re: A few serious questions about death.

Post by cooran » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:33 pm

Hello StudentAndObserver,

Here is a previous topic on this subject which you might find of assistance:
Helping the Dying - Need Theravada Perspective
http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.ph ... 64&start=0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

with metta
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

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Re: A few serious questions about death.

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:39 pm

Perhaps the recitation of the Metta Sutta would be of help:

The Buddha’s Words on Lovingkindness

This is what should be done
By those who are skilled in goodness,
And who know the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways,
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: in gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born—
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world,
Spreading upward to the skies,
And downward to the depths;
Outward and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down,
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Re: A few serious questions about death.

Post by jonno » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:26 am

Hi. I don't know if there is a general one size fits all answer to this. My work in a hospice has shown me that even when a person cannot see or hear, they may still be aware on some level as to their situation. Sometimes all I can do is to open myself up to the person and send them my love. Touch is important too. Simply holding someone's hand or stroking their hair can bring some comfort. Telling them that you love them even though they may seem to be unable to hear can be of solace. One of the last remaining physical reflexes is sucking. Try dipping a swab in iced water and placing it between the persons lips . You mAy find that they can still suck the water which gives some comfort. I often practice silent tong Len with dying patients, if nothing else it may bring you some solace, as never forget that you the practitioner need love and support also. Love jonno

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