Information for those caring for a Tibetan Buddhist at the end of their life
The following is based on the Buddhist belief that consciousness continues after the body dies. The first 3 days following death are considered to be particularly important, whereby the subtle process of the mind disengaging from the body is taking place.
Below are a few points to bear in mind:
- Please contact the nearest Tibetan Buddhist Centre for prayers to be said if death is known to be close, or as soon as possible after death – our number is shown below. The ideal is to have prayers done at bedside as soon as possible
- Please leave the body undisturbed for at least 4 hours. We understand that a doctor has to touch the body to certify death, but request that the nurses delay laying out the body for as long as is practical. Only the minimum should be done.
- Once prayers are done, the body can be laid out and moved. Paper mandalas or a blanket may be supplied by the Buddhist centre and placed on the body at this point (and later on the coffin).
- Buddhists believe that it is possible to help the person who has just died, by trying to maintain a quiet, stable and compassionate attitude when in their presence.
- If a post mortem is required, please ask for it to be postponed for 3½ days.
- Where there is no family to organise a funeral, please inform social services that the undertaker should just lift the body into the coffin and that there should be no embalming. Cremation should not take place before 3½ days have elapsed.