by Ricardo B. Serrano, R.Ac.
The researched opinions on death and dying in this article were derived from Ricardo's pranic healing and arhatic yoga studies with his late beloved spiritual teacher Master Choa Kok Sui, from the enlightening article "Death and Dying in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition" by Ven. Pende Hawter, and also Boddhisattva Padmasambhava's "Tibetan Book of the Dead" with Sogyal Rinpoche's "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying." As a registered health professional, he has also applied and taught the spiritual practices elaborated in this article to his regular clients, and especially his terminally ill patients who wanted to develop and experience their Buddha nature, and prepare and assist themselves spiritually for death as an opportunity for spiritual liberation.
If you have died, what would happen to your incarnated soul?
What spiritual practices would you have done to achieve illumination and oneness with your higher soul thus liberating your soul in the death process?
Two powerful meditation techniques to achieve illumination and oneness with your higher soul is called "Meditation on the Soul" taught by Master Choa Kok Sui, and "Meditation on the Guru" or Guru Yoga with Phowa (transference of consciousness) practice taught by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Sogyal Rinpoche.
Three other meditation techniques to achieve illumination and oneness with your higher soul taught by Master Choa Kok Sui are "Meditation on Twin Hearts", "Universal and Kabbalistic Meditation on the Lord's Prayer", and "Meditation on the Blue Pearl in the Golden Lotus".
Why learn and practice the above meditation and contemplation techniques before death and dying?
The following traditions such as MCKS Technology of the Soul and Tibetan Buddhist Tradition, with the books "Tibetan Book of the Dead" and "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" hopefully will offer the readers valuable information to validate the Tibetan Buddhist theories on the nature of mind, karma, rebirth, and bardos (transitions of life, dying and death, after-death, and rebirth), and to realize the necessity in learning and practicing various meditation practices such as phowa practice or Guru Yoga with Tonglen Practice and other meditation techniques such as Tibetan Dream Yoga with the blessing of Amitabha Buddha or Mahaguruji Bodhisattva Padmasambhava before and after death to achieve spiritual liberation in this lifetime:
Bodhisattva Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche)
OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM
According to Ricardo's late beloved Pranic healing and Arhatic Yoga teacher Master Choa Kok Sui, "When a person dies, he has a flashback of his entire life ... After this event, there is a tremendous descent of spiritual energy, manifesting internally as a brilliant white light... God is indeed all-loving and all-compassionate. No matter what kind of life a person has lived, even if he were a criminal, he is still given another spiritual chance or opportunity at the moment of death. By being aware of the inner brilliant white light, one can achieve oneness with it and go directly into the higher world or what people call "heaven." Being proficient in Meditation on the Soul is indeed very important, especially when a person is dying. It is a must for every person.
When the person merges with the brilliant white light, he passes through a tunnel of light, which is actually the spiritual cord. In some cases, the incarnated soul may unite with the higher soul immediately. Or it may just simply stay in heaven or the higher world for a certain period of time and then later unite with the higher soul. This depends on the degree of spiritual development of the soul. During meditation, a yogi may also see the tunnel of light and pass through it.
Physical death can be transformed into spiritual liberation. It is a priceless, spiritual opportunity to achieve illumination and oneness with one's higher soul. Such an opportunity should not be missed. If the person is not aware of this spiritual opportunity, then he will have to spend time in the lower astral world for purging or purification. This can be relatively short or long period of time, depending on the quality of life the person had lived...
...During this time, the incarnated soul is given the opportunity to merge with the inner brilliant white light and go directly to the higher world or heaven. This opportunity for spiritual liberation is priceless. To distract the incarnated soul from such a priceless opportunity is indeed a serious crime against the soul..."
Master Choa Kok Sui also added, "It is advisable for terminally ill patients to do the Meditation on the Soul to prepare themselves for death as an opportunity for spiritual liberation. Their stay in the physical body will be partially shortened, therefore their sufferings will also be shortened."
"When the body is destroyed or dies, the soul is liberated. It reincarnates in another body. This is the meaning of Restoration or Resurrection. Through this process the soul gradually evolves."
"Divine justice can be balanced by Divine Mercy. It is in forgiving that one is forgiven. "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned," said St. Francis of Assissi. By showing mercy, one can receive mercy. "Blessed are the merciful for Mercy shall be shown to them". (Matthew 5:7) If a person does not show mercy by forgiving, how can one harvest forgiveness, thereby partially erasing one's negative karma? The Law of Forgiveness and the Law of Mercy supersede the Law of Karma."
"MCKS has experienced God's love. We are all children of God. God loves all of us. God loves the good, the not so good, the bad, and the terrible. God loves us no matter what we are. God is all loving. God is all merciful."
"Imagine that the body has died. It is cremated. The ashes are thrown into the sea. What is left? I AM. This I AM is the soul. The I AM is immortal. Who are you? I AM that I AM. You are the soul. You are immortal."
"We are all children of God. In each person, there is divine essence or a divine spark. In Buddhism, there is a Buddha in each person. In the Christian religion, there is a Christ in each person. In Hinduism, there is a Shiva or a Krishna in each person."
"You are the I AM. You are immortal. As the Lord Krishna said in The Bhagavad Gita, the soul or the self cannot be killed, cannot be slain, cannot be drowned, and cannot be burned. It is immortal. Just as a person changes his garments from day to day, so does a person changes his body from incarnation to incarnation."
"Do you remember the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32)? The son decides to leave the father. He spends his inheritance and leads a chaotic life until he has nothing to eat anymore. When he returns to his father, his father welcomes him back. The father is like the higher soul while the prodigal son is like the incarnated soul who has forgotten his home, his spiritual origin. Have you not observed that when you meditate, sometimes you experience that you are back "home"?
When the prodigal son returns, there is a divine union. This is called yoga. Yoga literally means "union." The purpose of yoga is to achieve union between the incarnated soul and the higher soul. This union is actually a science, not just an art. It is a spiritual technology. Soul realization is nothing more than the incarnated soul realizing that it is not the body and it is one with the higher soul. This is the meaning of yoga or illumination."
"Yoga means spiritual oneness. What is spiritual oneness? Spiritual oneness means the incarnated soul is achieving a higher degree of oneness with the higher soul, and a certain degree of oneness with God and oneness with All."
For more info on death and dying, please visit Death and Dying in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition by Ven. Pende Hawter
The second of these meditations is a simulation or rehearsal of the actual death process, which familiarizes us with death and takes away the fear of the unknown, thus allowing us to die skilfully. "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" has meditations and rituals for caring for the dead, for guiding the dead person through the intermediate state into a good rebirth.
There shall none learn how to live that has not learnt to die."
There is a new complete version of "Tibetan Book of the Dead" - The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States - just released last year translated by Gyurme Dorje and edited by Graham Coleman with Thupten Jinpa and Introductory Commentary by HH the Dalai Lama that is a must read for interested people who want to attain spiritual liberation before and after death, and want to know what would happen to your incarnated soul after death.
The book composed by Boddhisattva Padmasambhava and revealed by Terton Karma Lingpa has 14 chapters:
This 535 page Tibetan Buddhist book with color illustrations of peaceful and wrathful deities and comprehensive notes, bibliography and glossary of key terms will answer the following questions: What happens to your incarnated soul after death? How to prepare oneself or someone for spiritual liberation in this lifetime and before death? What to do when you or someone has signs of near death? What to do when death is imminent? What to read to someone who just died who wanted spiritual liberation?
Sogyal Rinpoche's Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, an explanation and expansion of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is a must read manual for life and death and a magnificent source of sacred inspiration from the heart of the Tibetan tradition which provides a lucid and inspiring introduction to the practice of meditation, to the nature of mind, to karma and rebirth, to compassionate love and care for the dying, and to the trials and rewards of the spiritual path.
What is it that Sogyal Rinpoche hope for from his book? "To inspire a quiet revolution in the whole way we look at death and care for the dying, and so the whole way we look at life and care for the living.
One of the deepest hopes for this book is that it could be an unfailing, loyal companion to anyone who makes the choice to become a bodhisattva, a source of guidance and inspiration to those who really face the challenge of this time, and undertake the journey to enlightenment out of compassion for all other beings. May they never grow weary or disappointed or disillusioned; may they never give up hope whatever the terrors and difficulties and obstacles that rise up against them. May those obstacles only inspire them to even deeper determination. May they have faith in the undying love and power of all those enlightened beings that have blessed and still bless the earth with their presence; may they take heart, as I have constantly taken heart, from the living examples of the great masters, men and women like us, who have with infinite courage heeded the Buddha's deathbed words to strive with their whole being to attain perfection."
"I pray that all of you who read this book may come to know and believe in the power of enlightenment, and come to recognize the nature of your mind, for to recognize the nature of your mind is to engender in the ground of your being an understanding that will change your entire world view, and help you discover and develop, naturally and spontaneously, a compassionate desire to serve all beings, as well as a direct knowledge of how best you can do so, with whatever skill or ability you have, in whatever circumstances you find yourself. I pray the that you will come to know in the very core of your being the living truth of these words by Nyoshul Khenpo:
According to Sogyal Rinpoche, the best and easiest way to help a dying or a dead person, no matter how long ago it was, is to do the phowa practice:
Imagine tremendous rays of light emanating from the buddhas or divine beings, pouring down all their compassion and blessing. Imagine this light streaming down onto the dead person, totally purifying and freeing them from the confusion and pain of their death, granting them profound, lasting peace. Imagine then, with all your heart and mind, that the dead person dissolves into light and his or her consciousness, healed now and free of all suffering, soars up to merge indissolubly, and forever, with the wisdom mind of the buddhas.
From the Tibetan Book of the Dead:
Why is it that at the moment of death spiritual liberation is possible? Why is it necessary to prepare ourselves by meditation before death comes? Boddhisattva Padmasambhava explained this:
The dawning of the Ground Luminosity, or Clear Light, at the moment of death is the great opportunity for liberation.
Fear, anger, aversion and ignorance obscure us from truly using this powerful moment as an opportunity for liberation. Boddhisattva Padmasambhava says:
and if you put it into fire, it will burn,
so if you invest your mind in the wisdom mind of the buddhas,
it will transform into their wisdom nature.
All the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and enlightened beings are present at all moments to help us, and it is through the presence of the master that all their blessings are focused directly at us. Those who know Bodhisattva Padmasambhava know the living truth of the promise he made over a thousand years ago: "I am never far from those with faith, or even from those without it, though they do not see me. My children will always, always, be protected by my compassion."
All we need to do to receive direct help is to ask. Didn't Christ also say: "Ask, and it shall be given you: seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. Everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth?"
H.H. Penor Rinpoche said: "The most important qualities to ensure the success of the (Guru Yoga) practice in the students' mind are faith, devotion, trust and pure view. If a student is truly bent upon benefiting from his or her practice and his or her association with the dharma, those qualities are indispensable."
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said: "There have been many incredible and incomparable masters from the noble land of India and Tibet, the Land of Snows, yet of them all, the one who has the greatest compassion and blessing toward beings in this difficult age is Padmasambhava, who embodies the compassion and wisdom of all the buddhas. One of his qualities is that he has the power to give his blessing instantly to whoever prays to him, and whatever we may pray for, he has the power to grant our wish immediately."
The Buddha says in one of the Tantras: "Of all the buddhas who have ever attained enlightenment, not a single one accomplished this without relying upon a master, and of all the thousand buddhas that will appear in this eon, none of them will attain enlightenment without relying on a master."
According to Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche: Devotion is the essence of the path, and if we have in mind nothing but the guru and feel nothing but fervent devotion, whatever occurs is perceived as his blessing. If we simply practice with this constantly present devotion, this is prayer itself.
When all thoughts are imbued with devotion to the guru, there is a natural confidence that this will take care of whatever may happen. All forms are the guru, all sounds are prayer, and all gross and subtle thoughts arise as devotion. Everything is spontaneously liberated in the absolute nature, like knots untied in the sky.
For more information on Mahaguruji Padmasambhava, see Invocations and Quotes from Boddhisattva Padmasambhava (Lotus-Born)
To awaken and develop Bodhichitta -- the heart of the enlighetened mind -- is to ripen steadily the seed of our buddha nature, that seed that in the end, when our practice of compassion has become perfect and all-embracing, will flower majestically into buddhahood. Bodhichitta, then, is the spring and source and root of the entire spiritual path. This is the path of the bodhisattvas, the practice of the compassionate heart of the enlightened mind that, because undertaken for the benefit of all, leads directly to Buddhahood. See Energetic and Charitable Giving
The Buddhist Tonglen Bodhichitta in action practice of giving and receiving is to take on the suffering and pain of others, and give them your happiness, well-being, and peace of mind. The following is a simplified version of Tonglen practice for a dying person:
Imagine now, the person who is dying. Imagine every aspect of the dying person's suffering and fear gathering into the mass of hot, black, grimy smoke, which you then breathe in; and consider too that by doing so, you are destroying your self-grasping and self-cherishing, and purifying all your negative karma.
Now, imagine, as you are breathing out, the light of the heart of your enlightened mind is filling the dying person with its peace and well-being and purifying all his or her negative karma.
Servants of Peace
May the vision that so many mystic masters of all traditions have had, of a future world free of cruelty and horror, where humanity can live in the ultimate happiness of the nature of the mind, come, through all our efforts, to be realized. Let us pray together for that better world, first with Shantideva and then with St. Francis of Assissi:
In summary, the main goal of this article besides showing how to achieve spiritual liberation through practicing the meditation techniques stated in this article is to prioritize and emphasize the importance of experiencing and developing your Buddha nature or achieving illumination and oneness with your higher soul -- soul realization -- before the time of death to prepare yourselves for death as an opportunity for spiritual liberation as Boddhisattva Padmasambhava keeps reminding us with his quotations below:
May all sentient beings, children of buddha nature, realise the ultimate nature of mind: insight and compassion in blissful union.
If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition. If you want to know your future life, look into your present actions.
Those who believe they have plenty of time get ready only at the time of death. Then they are ravaged by regret. But isn't it far too late?
Mind itself is Padmasambhava; there is no practice or meditation apart from that.
As Sogyal Rinpoche stated in his "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying", "According to the wisdom of Buddha, we can actually use our lives to prepare for death. We do not have to wait for the painful death of someone close to us or the shock of terminal illness to force us into looking at our lives. Nor are we condemned to go out empty-handed at death to meet the unknown. We can begin, here and now, to find meaning in our lives. We can make of every moment an opportunity to change and to prepare -- wholeheartedly, precisely, and with peace of mind -- for death and eternity.
In the Buddhist approach, life and death are seen as one whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life. Death is a mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected...
The bardo teachings show us precisely what will happen if we prepare for death and what will happen if we do not. The choice could not be clearer. If we refuse to accept death now, while we are still alive, we will pay dearly throughout our lives, at the moment of death, and thereafter. The effects of this refusal will ravage this life and all the lives to come. We will not be able to live our lives fully; we will remain imprisoned in the very aspect of ourselves that has to die. This ignorance will rob us of the basis of the journey to enlightenment, and trap us endlessly in the realm of illusion, the uncontrolled cycle of birth and death, that ocean of suffering that we Buddhists call samsara.
Yet the fundamental message of the Buddhist teachings is that if we are prepared, there is a tremendous hope, both in life and in death. The teachings reveal to us the possibility of an astounding and finally boundless freedom, which is ours to work for now, in life -- the freedom that will also enable us to choose our death and so to choose our birth. For someone who has prepared and practiced, death comes not as a defeat but as a triumph, the crowning and most glorious moment of life."
This one verse by Padmasambhava from the cycle of the Tibetan Book of the Dead sums up the whole Buddhist attitude toward the moment of death:
To conclude this very important topic on death, dying and spiritual liberation, Ricardo has a true confession to make: the other main reason why he started his spiritual path besides soul mastery was the uncertainty of what happens after death which is usually accompanied by the feeling of fear of the unknown. Now that he understands the death process and is familiar with it through the actual experience relating to soul realization by his students and himself, his fear at the time of death is removed. See Awakening the Soul
The mystical experiences he had during the passing of his mother and the passing into mahasamadhi of his late beloved great spiritual teacher Master Choa Kok Sui made a huge impact to his convictions in the truth of the technology of the soul teachings and spiritual findings taught by Master Choa Kok Sui, and the powerful impact of the Phowa practice and Guru Yoga of his spiritual mentor Tibetan Buddhist Mahaguruji Boddhisattva Padmasambahva (who embodies a cosmic, timeless principle; the universal master) especially at the moment of death, spiritual liberation and soul realization.
In the west, the only spiritual attention that the majority pay to the dying is to go to their funeral. When someone dies, one of the deepest sources of anguish for those left behind to mourn is their conviction that there is nothing they can now do to help their loved one who has gone, a conviction that only aggravates their grief which is not true. There are many ways we can help the dying and the dead, as shown in the spiritual help for the dying and the dead in this article such as invoking the buddhas, praying and saying the mantras NAMO AMITABHA BUDDHA, OM MANI PADME HUM and OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM, doing the phowa practice with Guru yoga and tonglen practices, and reading the "Tibetan Book of the Dead", and so help ourselves to survive their absence.
Just as it is the nature of fire to burn and of water to quench thirst, the nature of the buddhas is to be present as soon as anyone invokes them, so infinite is their compassionate desire to help all sentient beings. For spiritual help for the living, dying and the dead, and especially for healing, the masters have assured us: Call out to them, and the buddhas will answer you. As Bodhisattva Padmasambhava says: "Complete devotion brings complete blessing; absence of doubts brings complete success." For if you can unite your mind confidently with the wisdom mind of the master at the moment of death and die in that peace, then all will be well.
May this article enlighten your mind on death and spiritual liberation, from both the Arhatic Yoga and Tibetan Buddhist point of view, that it will initiate your interest in the same or similar spiritual path that Ricardo has taken for three main reasons: (1) the only thing that can help us at the time of death is our mental/spiritual development, (2) physical death can be transformed into spiritual liberation. It is a priceless, spiritual opportunity to achieve illumination and oneness with one's higher soul, and (3) to be a truly effective health care professional, an understanding of the truth about death, and how to care spiritually with loving-kindness and compassion for your dying patient are as inseparable and are as necessary in the practice of holistic healing -- healing the body, mind and spirit.
Lastly, an important Tibetan Bon Buddhist practice called Dream Yoga's lucid dreaming is a vital complementary spiritual teaching of Guru Yoga which prepares one's awareness in the bardo after death.
According to Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, "The Mother Tantra says that if one is not aware in vision, it is unlikely that one will be aware in behavior. If one is not aware in behavior, one is unlikely to be aware in dream. And if one is not aware in dream, then one is unlikely to be aware in the bardo after death."
"If we cannot remain present during sleep, if we lose ourselves every night, what chance do we have to be aware when death comes? If we enter our dreams and interact with the mind's images as if they are real, we should not expect to be free in the state after death. Look to your experience in dreams to know how you will fare in death. Look to your experience of sleep to discover whether or not you are truly awake."
Let this article be dedicated to all beings, living, dying or dead. For all those who are at this moment going through the process of dying, may their deaths be peaceful and free of pain or fear. This is Ricardo's prayer.
Ricardo would like to acknowledge and thank Mahaguruji Boddhisattva Padmasambhava for his "Tibetan Book of the Dead," his Root Guru H.H. Penor Rinpoche, his late beloved spiritual teacher Master Choa Kok Sui, a great disciple of Boddhisattva Padmasambhava, for his pranic healing and arhatic yoga teachings, to Ven. Pende Hawter for his enlightening compiled article "Death and Dying in the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition," and also Sogyal Rinpoche for his "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's "Guru Yoga" which altogether inspired him to write this article after a lengthy period of intelligent evaluation or discernment.
Qigong and Meditation Instructions:
For more information on how to achieve illumination and oneness with your higher soul or develop and experience your Buddha nature, you can attend the Qigong workshops and learn "Meditation on the Guru" or Guru Yoga with Phowa (transference of consciousness) practice, and Master Choa Kok Sui's technology of the soul meditation techniques such as "Meditation on the Soul", "Meditation on Loving-Kindness", "Meditation on the Blue Pearl", and "Meditation on the Lord's Prayer" offered by Ricardo B. Serrano, R.Ac., a disciple of H.H. Penor Rinpoche and Satguru Master Choa Kok Sui. See Affirmation of the Soul and Buddhas and Boddhisattvas
"Life’s most awesome event is death, and death comes to all without regard to wealth, beauty, intelligence or fame. Death is inevitable, but how you die — terrified and confused, or with confidence and spiritual mastery — is within your control." - Buddhism as an Education
Energetic and Charitable Giving
Create Good Karma. Help other people and treat people fairly." -- MCKS
How can you open your heart and help those in need?
1. Energeticaly: Do the Meditation on Twin Hearts or the Meditation on Loving Kindness*. This powerful universal meditation can be used by almost anyone desiring to contribute loving energy toward achieving Global Harmony and World Peace. This meditation is especially good to use for regions that may be in need of food, suffering natural disasters or war, or for any area experiencing hardship. It can also be used to direct energy toward your country, city, neighborhood and even family!
It is recommended, but not necessary, that a group of at least 3 people gather together for meditation. This allows for more energy to pour forth to those areas in need.
*Both Meditations are available on "The EFT Qi-healers Method" ebook:
2. Physically: Donate to Charitable Organizations that offer relief or funding to those areas in need, locally and globally. Some suggestions:
Start doing service in your community. Gather a group of friends and start a feeding program or join a local organization that feeds those less fortunate.
North Vancouver, B.C., Canada Tel: 604-987-1797