When Anyen Rinpoche began teaching in the West more than ten years ago, he was overwhelmed with questions from aging Western Buddhists about how to support their friends, loved ones, and sangha brothers and sisters facing illness and death. Rinpoche was inspired to create an instruction manual (Dying with Confidence) and further training (the Dying with Confidence Training Program), so that practitioners would be able to use their practice to support themselves and others at the time of death.
The Phowa Foundation supports Anyen Rinpoche's vision of helping sentient beings around the world who are ill or dying or who wish to prepare for death in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Phowa (Tib. "transference of consciousness") is a Tibetan Buddhist practice, which helps the dying to leave this life behind without attachment or regret and find a positive rebirth. The practice of Phowa can benefit all beings, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, including animals.
In Tibet, there is a great web of spiritual support for the dying. First and foremost, a qualified Lama is invited to the bedside to guide the person through the dying process and the bardo (Tib. "intermediary" or after death states). Even sincere practitioners in the West do not often have this opportunity. Therefore, the Phowa Foundation offers healing prayers, phowa, and death rites to assist the ill and dying. Such practices are performed by Lamas living in Tibet, by Anyen Rinpoche himself, or by the members of the Phowa Foundation who are being trained to carry on this lineage of practice.
It will be very hard to remember our practice when we are sick, in pain, or facing the moment of death. We need to train diligently now.
-- Anyen Rinpoche