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Advice for a non-Buddhist friend

Advice for a non-Buddhist friend

Small purple wildflowers.

Venerable Thubten Chodron offers advice on preparing for death.

An old friend, who follows another religion and is not Buddhist, asked me for advice on preparing for death. These are my thoughts:

As with anything, preparing for the “event” is helpful. Here are some thing to consider:

  1. Forgive whoever you need to forgive (i.e. put down all anger, hurt, grudges, etc.). This is a big relief.
  2. Apologize to whomever you need to apologize to (even if you can’t locate the people or they have died, in your mind apologize and/or forgive them). This is a big relief too,
  3. Practice generosity with everything you can part with now. That fills the mind with delight.
  4. Put all your worldly affairs in order so that you don’t need to think about them any more.
  5. Remember all the action that you have done for others motivated by love and compassion. Rejoice at your virtue. (For one, you caused me to get interested in Buddhism and meditation and that changed my life!)
  6. Think of all the contributions you have made to your field of study and everything you have done to make this world a better place. Rejoice at this too.
  7. Rejoice at all the goodness and kindness in the world and all the acts of kindness, generosity, ethical behavior, and so forth that anyone everywhere has done. This makes the heart warm and happy.
  8. Go forward with a heart of love, compassion, kindness, and good will. Pray to be able to be born in an environment that will foster these qualities in you and where you can continue to benefit others.
  9. If any unwanted thoughts or visions  arise in the mind, know that they are just thoughts and appearances. They’re nothing substantial or worthy of your attention. Return to your motivation to always have a kind and compassion heart and to benefit living beings.
  10. Rest in this thought, relax.
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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