We have all heard it — death is certain, time of death uncertain, next life uncertain—so, practice Dharma purely, now.
One of our dear Dharma friends, Sage Miller, attended a Retreat on Death and Caring for the Dying at the Abbey and took the above advice seriously.
Contemplating all that was presented at the retreat and looking at her own situation, Sage saw clearly that she needed to make a plan now for her inevitable death.
First she made arrangements on the material side. In an effort to keep it as simple as possible, since that is the way she lives, Sage set up a separate bank account with the Abbey listed as the beneficiary, with the exact amount she wishes to be donated for the Dharma at the time of her death*.
Then, assessing her spiritual needs, she notified the Abbey and asked that the monastics do a puja at the time of her death to help guide her mindstream through the bardo to a precious human rebirth, or to a pure land, where she can continue to practice the Dharma to help end the suffering of all beings. She also requested that her ashes be spread at the Abbey’s new burial grounds, Sukavati.
Finishing these plans, Sage said, “Knowing the Abbey will be there for me at my time of death has brought me peace of mind. Thank you, all.”
We are grateful to Sage, for thinking ahead, for her faith in the Dharma, and for practicing generosity.
As we each consider how fragile our lives are, may we also take our own appropriate actions, creating peace of mind for those we leave behind too.
Write the office if you would like to discuss your plans with the Abbey.
Of course, everyone’s material circumstances are different, and this method may not be the best for you or your family. Talk with your attorney or financial consultant before you decide what makes sense for you.