“We are all walking toward death, carried by the river of aging. Contemplate on impermanence!”
The Phowa Foundation supports the vision of Anyen Rinpoche to help sentient beings around the world who are ill, in the dying process, or those wishing to prepare for death in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
Phowa is a traditional Tibetan Buddhist practice, performed by all lineages, that supports the dying person to release attachments, remember the spiritual teachings they have been given, and offer favorable conditions for liberation or a positive rebirth. It can benefit all beings, Buddhist or non-Buddhist, as well as animals.
Traditionally in Tibet, a lama who has known the dying person would be invited to the bedside and guide him or her through the dying process and the bardo states. For sincere practitioners in the West, we often do not have that opportunity. The Phowa Foundation works to connect our modern world of Western Buddhism with the long-held traditions of our Tibetan Buddhist lineages.
PHOWA FOUNDATION NEWS
The Phowa Foundation hosted a new Dying with Confidence program at Orgyen Khamdroling in Denver this March. Once again, students gathered from across the country and Canada to attend the first of the three retreats over the next 12 months. As each new program begins, Anyen Rinpoche looks deeply into the needs of the participants and offers broad foundational teachings to support the student’s path of Dharma from the present moment to the time of death. Rinpoche teaches that, without the strong commitment to practice and study of the fundamentals of the Vajrayana path, one cannot achieve the level of confidence needed to practice phowa and achieve liberation at the time of death. A number of students attended the program for the second or third time, broadening their understanding of Dharma and finding their experience of phowa deepening with each retreat.
If you would like information on these upcoming events, please email info@PhowaFoundation.org.
Rinpoche receives a number of requests for the Dying with Confidence program. The next Level I will be hosted in the Seattle/Takoma area in the Spring of 2016, and a Vermont program is in the planning stages.
Information will be available on the Phowa Foundation website (www.PhowaFoundation.org) when the program dates are firm. Please join the email list on the website to be sure you receive program information as soon as it is available.
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The Importance of Sangha—Now and at the Time of Death
So many deaths around us--loved ones, acquaintances, those we have never met but hear about from friends and on the news. Even though we may try, it is really impossible to deny death’s presence. Those of us on the Buddhist path use these deaths as reminders of impermanence. Everything changes moment by moment, including ourselves and our own bodies. We work on moving the intellectual understanding to our hearts and deepest knowing—we too will die.
Our sangha had an opportunity to deepen our practices at the time of death with the passing of Anyen Rinpoche’s brother in March. Although we knew the Tibetan Buddhist practice of praying for the dead for 49 days, we had not yet done this together as a sangha. To support our beloved Lama, we came together to practice Sur and recite the King of Aspiration Prayer at least once a day, while Rinpoche also practiced a special Medicine Buddha sadhana.