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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

A funeral



In the Buddhist Tantric tradition

a funeral exists

(by way of intention)

NOT to comfort the bereaved

but to safely guide the departed

to an auspicious rebirth.

For the power of love

to soothe those in mourning

cannot be overstated.

Death could be

a profoundly disorienting process

wherein our loved one

experiences their sense perceptions

collapsing inward upon themselves

in a manner not dissimilar

to the way some flowers

coalesce their petals at dusk.

In the spirit of empathy

we could explore that experience

by contemplating:

all beings of all worlds

(other than earthlings)

impermanently melting into rainbows

that interdependently absorb

into their worlds

(other than Earth),

which too melt into rainbows

that absorb into all earthlings

(other than our neighbors)

who blissfully melt into rainbows

that absorb into the entire Earth

(except for our neighborhood).

The Earth too melts into rainbow light

that absorbs into our neighbors

who also melt into rainbow light

that absorbs into our neighborhood

which too melts into rainbow light

and absorbs into our body

which also melts into rainbow light

and absorbs into our speech faculty.

Our speech too melts into rainbow light

and absorbs into our mind

which also melts into rainbow light

that absorb into the void:

spacious, and infinite,

and utterly non-graspable.

This process

could feel subtly familiar

for it is what we experience,

to a certain degree,

every time we fall asleep.

And just as falling asleep

is followed by a thoughtless swoon

that occurs

prior to the dream state

we too

take a break from contemplation

and sympathetically rest

with our departed one

as we coordinate our passive awareness

with each inhalation

and our physical relaxation

as well as mental release

with every out-breath.

Vulnerably we watch

the play of mind:

non-analytically

without even bothering

to label our experience

and we relax into

the non-graspable nature

of the experience

and the experiencer.

We do this

by silently and mentally reciting,

Notice this…

during each inhalation

and “relaxing!

during each exhalation.

But nothing lasts forever

and just as each sleeper’s

swoon of thoughtlessness

drifts into dream

where we quietly go insane

(at least temporarily),

we continue to harmonize

with the departed

willing that their mind

take on the shape

of the syllable Tam

symbolizing the enlightened mind

of Tare,

a female archetype

of enlightened activity.

We do this by silently and mentally reciting

Grin to Tam…

during each inhalation

and “relaxing!

during each exhalation.

As we feel our heart

fill with love and joy

our practice of love and letting-go

grows more coarse

as we blend them

with the four bases of mindfulness.

First we loving wish

that our loved one’s mind

be as wise as Tare’s mind of bliss

and then wisely contemplate

how their mind

could be as non-graspable

as Tare’s mind of light.

Second we lovingly wish

that our loved one’s communication

be as loving as Tare’s speech of bliss

and then wisely contemplate

how their communication

could be as non-graspable

as Tare’s speech of light.

Third we lovingly wish

that our loved one’s new body

be as healthy as Tare’s form of bliss

and then wisely contemplate

how their body

could be as non-graspable

as Tare’s form of light.

Fourth we lovingly wish

that our loved one’s new circumstance

be as fortunate

as Tare’s lot of bliss

and then contemplate

how their lot-in-life

could be as non-graspable

as Tare’s lot of light.

Again we could rest

in the passive awareness of mind

and relax into

its non-graspable nature

allowing our practice

of love and letting-go

to do their healing work

upon our body and mind.


Let us conclude

with a simple

call to action


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