Living with certainty, clarity and purpose


Pat Best from the United States writes: “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying found me as I searched for an answer on how to help someone with their suffering. A co-worker’s 16-year old daughter had contacted a rare disease that eventually took her life. My daughter at the time was much younger, but the thought of losing my daughter arose as a deep feeling of connection with this father and his grief.

My history with comforting people in difficult situations was very unskillful and yet I very much wanted to comfort him. Therefore I knew I needed the support of someone who knew of illness and death and how to approach the subject with him. Several days after this silent request, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying literally fell off the shelf and into my hands in a bookstore. From that day I found myself on a spiritual path that not only supported me in loosening my fear of facing others in their grief but also how to face the fears of my own life and death.

As I have continued to read and study this book for the last 15 years, I know that it came to me because I would encounter death in so many aspects of life—not just in physical death—to find in me the strength, certainty and purpose of my life that was waiting to emerge.

Through these years I have witnessed the difference in my own acceptance of loss including the death of loved ones. In the last several years I have lost my mother, my mother-in-law and father-in-law. But first, I lost a very close spiritual friend. Seeing her grace in dying and how she was supported by the teachings in this book inspired me and helped me through these other deaths, especially that of my mother.

Sogyal Rinpoche and the many great spiritual masters coming out of Tibet have enriched my life in so many countless ways. When I reflect on this book it saddens me that this profound wisdom culture is being eradicated in Tibet and yet at the same time it has offered the chance that these teachings are now available in the West. They are available to hold us in our quest to understand how to live a life that is filled with a real sense of attaining our full potential as human beings while benefiting others.”

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