At the Time of Death

by Friends of Godwin


When we die, we have a last chance to become enlightened. Because at the moment of death, if you can practise meditation, if you can really practise conscious dying, that will give us a great opportunity to free ourselves, so to create that opportunity is part of the practice.

There is a very interesting book from the Tibetan tradition: The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It shows how your experience at the time of death is determined by the way you have lived. So in simple terms, as I understand it, at that moment our emotions, especially unpleasant emotions, can surface and they can take many forms. At that moment we don’t recognise that they are simply emotions but as they manifest themselves externally we react to these external forms that we see.

So you see how this is related to meditation. How it is important to recognise how our mind works, how it works with our emotions, to recognise them. And what is interesting is, it is said that enlightenment also manifests itself and we have to recognise it, and if you don’t recognise it your last chance is lost.

So in practical terms, in our meditation we also should recognise our positive states of mind, just to know that they are there. When you know them, when you recognise them, then when they manifest themselves you just know that it is the free mind, the enlightened mind that is manifesting in this way.

So it shows clearly that when you have awareness, when you are conscious at the time of dying, you can know all these things, recognise these things, and we have a last chance to free ourselves from what is happening.