Diamond Way Press

Fearless Death

Buddhist Wisdom on the Art of Dying

by Lama Ole Nydahl

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From the Introduction

When my wife Hannah found out that she had lung cancer, we were shocked, but inwardly calm. We knew what awaited us and especially her.

Hannah Nydahl

Hannah Nydahl

Her mind stayed open, despite our strong love for each other. She used the last months of her life as well as possible to complete her work and then consciously said goodbye to all her friends, the day before she lost her speech. She died with dignity, a smile on her lips.

Since 1968, when Buddha's teachings had inspired us in Nepal, our skilled teachers had prepared us to help others in the dying process, and to help ourselves in our own dying. My wife needed no further teachings and used the appropriate meditations in full confidence. The people surrounding her could best adapt to her needs because they also knew what was important during that time, and in this way she was lovingly accompanied and supported during the process of dying.

The mourning period for Hannah also looked different from the usual. I continued to work, after a brief withdrawal, because I knew that she was much better off in her present state than in her sick body and because I was sure we would joyfully continue our work together in future lives.

Trained according to the wishes of our lamas and their transmission, over the years I became a teacher precisely for this decisive moment in life. With increasing joy, I can always watch what wholesome effect Buddha's teachings have on unsettled people who do not know what to expect at the end of their lives.

All students who know the teachings about the timeless mind, dying, death and rebirth, and in particular the practice of Conscious Dying (Phowa), have one thing in common: They look fearlessly into the future, think of others, and are sources of strength for their surroundings. They are the quiet center of the storm that befalls the family when death is imminent.

May this book take away the fear of dying for many people and help them already now to plant the seeds for great future happiness!

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgment
  • The Cycle of Life
    • Buddhism and Science
    • Without Beginning and End
    • The Tibetan Book of the Dead
  • The Ways to Happiness
    • The Four Noble Truths
    • The Four Basic Thoughts
    • Finding Lasting Happiness
    • Refuge
    • Ways and Methods in Diamond Way
  • Preparation for Death
    • Having the End in Mind in the Here and Now
    • Accepting and Letting Go
    • Developing for the Benefit of All
    • Outer Preparation for Death
  • The Inner Experience of the Dying Person
    • Emerging of the Elements
    • Dissolving of the Elements
    • Dying Continues
  • Terminal Care
    • Gracefully Taking Leave
    • The Six Liberating Actions
    • Dying as a Process
    • Special Challenges
    • Help beyond Death
  • The Crucial Moment
    • The Clear Light of the Truth State
    • The Light Forms of the Joy State
  • Rebirth
    • Rebirth in the Realms of Existence
    • Long-term Preparations
    • Skillful Means
  • Conscious Dying
    • Phowa into the Truth State
    • Phowa into the Joy State
    • Phowa into the Emanation State
    • Phowa Courses
  • The Art of Dying
  • Meditations
  • Appendix
  • Glossary
  • Biographical Notes
  • Bibliographical References
  • About the Author