Paranirvana day marks the Buddha’s physical death, and his freedom from the rounds of existence. How can we prepare for our own death, including the practicalities for those we leave behind?
The Tibetan Book of the Dead urges us to look at death head on.
“O procrastinating one, who thinks not of the coming of death,
Devoting yourself to the useless doings of this life,
Improvident are you in dissipating your great opportunity;
Mistaken, indeed, will your purpose be now if you return empty-handed (from this life):
Since the Holy Dharma is known to be your true need,
Will you not devote (yourself) to the Holy Dharma, even now?”
But do we really do that? How can we ensure that we devote ourselves to the Dharma and our highest values in the time we have left?
This Paranirvana weekend take one step towards getting real about death. Your own.
You may well be marking the Buddha’s Parinirvana this weekend and perhaps remembering family and friends who have died in the last year.
Ananda wept when he realised the Buddha was dying. But the Buddha was very pragmatic about it, reminding Ananda that all humans must die. We know we’ll die, but we often hope that’s a long way off, and that we’ve got plenty of time to sort things out, like our funeral and our Will.
Is this sounding like you? You’re not alone: death can feel complicated and too big a thing to engage with. But if we don’t make preparations we risk burdening our loved ones with difficult decisions when they’re grieving. And there’s no guarantee our money will go to the people and causes we love. You can be pragmatic and take a first step towards making your Will. Remember – you don’t have to have everything sorted out right now. It’s more important you make a start.
If you don’t have a Will, or it needs updating, take the first step. This weekend.
If your situation is very simple, you could check out a free online service like Bequeathed.org. (Remember they don’t offer the same level of guarantee as a solicitor).
If your situation is in any way more complex, it’s best to contact a solicitor. If you live in England or Wales then you could email Satyadasa at Greengate Wills. It’ll take just a minute to ask him how to get started.
Of course, you may be one of the 160 people who’ve pledged to put FutureDharma in your Will, and pass on what you’ve been given to the next generation. If so, have you updated your Will yet? Or perhaps you’re thinking about including Triratna in this way.
One step you could take this weekend is to contact us and let Amalavajra and I know where you’re at with this. Please tell us which best describes you:
* FutureDharma is already in my Will
* FutureDharma isn’t in my Will but I’m considering adding it
* I don’t have a Will but I want to know more about getting one
Wherever you are this weekend we hope you have a meaningful and enlivening Parinirvana day.
With warm wishes,
PS – Here’s the lovely Taravandana talking about her Will.