The Phowa Foundation supports the ongoing practice of phowa in Tibet as well as the US. We support yogis in Tibet to devote themselves solely to the practice of phowa and the recitation of the Bardo Thodol (The Great Liberation Upon Hearing), known in the West as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The reading of this text, written by Guru Padmasambhava, guides the dead in the bardo state between death and rebirth to help them recognize the nature of mind and attain liberation from the cycle of samsara.
In the US, Anyen Rinpoche and qualified practitioners also practice phowa for the dying. The Phowa Foundation will be housed in the new Orgyen Khamdroling Center near Denver, CO. Plans are to have both retreat space as well as a residential center to spiritually support the dying.When you request services...
While practicing phowa throughout one’s lifetime is the most beneficial way to approach death, phowa performed by qualified practitioners benefits all and can be done far from the physical person. Under Anyen Rinpoche’s guidance, practitioners in various locations will gather to practice phowa regularly for those who have requested prayers.
The greatest benefit occurs when lamas and practitioners are notified right at the time of death and up to three days following, although phowa can be of benefit anytime after a death. By making arrangements in advance, practitioners will be available to begin practice as soon as the Phowa Foundation is contacted.Planning Ahead for Phowa Services...
Many people make advanced funeral arrangements in order not to place a financial and emotional burden on loved ones. As you will read in Anyen Rinpoche’s book, Dying with Confidence, it is most important for family and friends to focus on prayers and compassionate thoughts to help the loved one through the bardo states. We highly recommend that you engage in the same financial planning for phowa as you would for a funeral, especially if you are considering having phowa done for you or a loved one for the traditional 49 days.Why plan ahead for Phowa now?
We know that death can come at any time, although we may ignore this truth for ourselves. Planning ahead and creating a trusted group of practitioners to help you with practice during the dying process can make a significant difference in being able to use your Dharma practice at the most crucial time.
Here is a brief story about two of our sangha members, one of whom had a long bout with cancer and one who died suddenly in their 40’s.
The sangha member with cancer had spoken with other members about what he wanted done at the time of death, but had not prepared any written document and had not spoken with his family about having sangha members present to support him and practice phowa. The family came to take care of him the last month of his life…and, being unprepared, did not allow sangha members to be there as he died.
The sangha member who died suddenly had a group of practitioners immediately performing phowa for her. The family had known about her wishes and participated fully in all the prayers and practices through the cremation and 49 days beyond.
While phowa was performed for both, the support of practitioners during the dying process would have greatly helped the member dying of cancer while he was still conscious. And the family of our beloved sangha member who was at teachings one day and passed away a few days later was immensely comforted with the practices of the sangha and their continued support.
We can transform the experience of death in our modern culture and give Buddhist practitioners the opportunity to best use their training for enlightenment!
For information about creating a “Dharma Will” that includes these advance arrangements, please click on the publications link and read about Anyen Rinpoche’s new book Dying with Confidence.
You may also request Healing Prayers…
Practice of the Medicine Buddha may also be requested to benefit yourself or anyone experiencing illness. According to Buddhist tradition, as well as in many other spiritual traditions, those suffering from illness can be benefited by prayer and meditation done on their behalf.
The person for whom healing prayers are requested will also be included in the powerful prayers of the annual Great Medicine Buddha Monlam, held each May in Denver.
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information on the Medicine