How to treat abdominal pain and low blood pressure?

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Dad, Mom, Khenpo Gawang, & Sister


My father, Dechen Chogyal, passed away on February 15, 2011. In December 2010, my father was in retreat with my mother và my older sister. At that time he became very ill & said that he felt he was near the kết thúc of his life. Although he began khổng lồ feel better, he moved from the retreat place to the family’s high mountain yak herder’s hut.

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He told his eldest son that he wished the family lớn arrange lớn have three sutras, The Fortunate Aeon, The Sutra of Great Liberation, và The Amitayus Long Life Sutra carved into stone for him. His son contacted a monastery asking that these sutras be carved and the stones be put at a very special place blessed by Patrul Rinpoche.

Then my father began to make & fire small statues from local pottery clay that are called tsatsa in Tibetan. Normally my father slept a great deal or rested in his bed saying mantras và turning his prayer wheel. Now he would awaken at 5 AM và make the small statues all day long. From the end of December until the beginning of February, my father worked making these little statutes. While he was making them he would tell neighbors and visitors in a joking, lighthearted way that he was going lớn die soon.

Beginning in January, he started lớn eat whatever he wanted. He asked his niece và nephew, who were also his neighbors, khổng lồ please give him some yogurt và milk. They were concerned that this would not be good for his health but he said, “Now my health and life are near the end, so it is good to lớn eat what I want & be happy.” My father soaked in local hot springs, which made him very ill. At the request of other members of the family he was moved to lớn the home of his eldest son with the hope that he would seek medical care.

My father understood that he was going to lớn die soon. I called to speak to lớn him on February 13th, recommending that he go lớn the hospital. He said, “No, no, I don’t want to go khổng lồ the hospital. I am seeing a local doctor and I am taking his medicine. If this medicine helps then it will lengthen my life, and if it doesn’t then my life will end.” When the doctor came he brought three days of medicine. Later my brother told me that my father said, “Now I have three days of life left.”

My older brother told me that when he first came to town some family members offered lớn buy him medicine. He told them in the words of the great teacher, Padmasambhava, khổng lồ whom he was very devoted, that good medicine taken at the end of life is poison.

My brother told me that on the evening of the 13th he invited all the relatives and his children living close by khổng lồ come và eat dinner together. He said, “We must all eat together and have a good time.” After they had eaten he said, “We need lớn sleep together tonight.” The family tried to lớn move his bed khổng lồ a quiet corner but he said, “No, I don’t want to lớn stay in the corner, I want khổng lồ stay in the middle of the room. We will all sleep here tonight.” He was very pleased with the meal & asked that his bed be left exactly where it was in the room.

I called the next morning. At first my father did not want lớn talk with me because he was concerned I would ask him khổng lồ go to the hospital. When I said, “No, I vì chưng not want lớn talk you into going to the hospital,” then he was very happy to talk khổng lồ me.

We had a wonderful conversation. He told me that he did not have any regrets about his life và that he was not attached lớn anything. He said, “Everything I wished for has been accomplished. I was able lớn go on a very good pilgrimage khổng lồ all the sacred places. At each place I prayed and dedicated the merit for all sentient beings. I was not only thinking of myself but of all beings. Now, I don’t have any problems. I have no regrets.”

Then he asked me, if it was possible, to lớn take care of my mother as long as she was alive và I promised that I would. I said to him, “You have practiced dharma your whole life & it is very good that you bởi vì not have regrets or attachment.” He said again, “I don’t have any regrets, any attachments, or any worries.”

This was our last conversation. I thought, “Well, he is okay.” While I was a little bit sad, it was bearable. I knew that he was relaxed and present, and this is a good way to die.

The day before my father died he was still very strong, talking & relaxed. He wasn’t nervous or afraid of dying & he was not feeling any pain. When visitors came he gave them advice and some dharma teachings. He told them, “Look at your situation carefully & do what you need to vị to keep your family and yourself alive. When you die you cannot take anything with you except what you have learned of the dharma & your good heart và mind.”

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Garuda Mountain


He said, “It is very important khổng lồ always dedicate the virtue to lớn all sentient beings.” Close khổng lồ the yak herder’s hut is a large mountain called Garuda Mountain which he used as an example. He said we need to lớn create virtue equal to twice the size of Garuda Mountain. He said, “You should not vì chưng any non-virtuous activities, not even a little, such as actions that disturb other people’s minds. It is very important always to have a good heart.” He said again, “I have no attachments & no regret. Don’t worry about me.”

Then slowly, in the process of dying, he moved from being able to lớn talk to lớn not being able lớn talk. He was still present and relaxed, with a clear mind. When visitors would come, such as my younger brother & cousin, they could see that he understood them & recognized them. He would touch his heart and fold his hands into the gesture of prayer as he offered his unspoken last words of advice.

Throughout the whole process he did not have any pain or confusion—not even a little. He was very subtle and clear, even in the process of dying. His grandson, who is a monk, was at his bedside reading the Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo or Bardo Tödrol.

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It was clear that he understood what was being read khổng lồ him. He said “I understand now.” His breath became shorter & shorter until finally it ended. The family described it as being lượt thích a butter lamp going out when the last of the fuel is gone.

A few weeks ago I called my sister who lives high in the mountains on lifetime retreat. She has a cell phone now & we had made a plan for me to lớn call. At that time we had a long conversation about my father. I was saying that I thought my father needed lớn receive some instructions và there were some very great teachers who lived close by on lifetime retreat and were his friends.

My sister said, “He doesn’t need to lớn receive any teachings or instructions. He got all this in prison, và this is enough for him.” Though he didn’t read, he had many great teachers visit him over the years, and read lớn him, và he understood a great deal.

My father spent many years in a Chinese prison in the early 1960s. At that time he received very good teachings from great Lamas who were imprisoned with him. He said many times that their heart instruction was khổng lồ see that the very bad situation in Tibet was not just the fault of the Chinese but that our negative karma was being dissolved. They said, “We should not feel anger or hatred & act badly toward the Chinese. Instead, we need lớn raise compassion & dedicate all our virtue to them first.”

Let me share a story that he told about his time in prison when he was sleeping in the same room with his main teacher Lama Ngasung. In the room next lớn them was one of my father’s friends. In the middle of the night he called out, “Ngasung, Ngasung, I am dying! What should I do?” Lama Ngasung called back through the wall saying, “Amitabha is in the north và is red.” Then his friend called back, “Yes, yes that’s it!” In the morning he had died.

So you see my father received very good teachings in the Chinese prison và he met great teachers. My father was an illiterate yak herder but he was devoted to the dharma. He could not read but he could recite many mantras such as the Mani mantra & the Vajra Guru mantra. He was always doing dedications of merit and aspirations that all sentient beings would be liberated, have no suffering, & be happy. He was a very good-hearted person.


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Tsatsa Making Place


In that conversation with my sister on the cell phone she told me that my father was staying at the yak herder’s hut making the little statues. She said that he was getting better, making the little statues, & how wonderful he was, with so many good qualities. She told me about the time he was staying in retreat with her, & there were some small baby goats that were abandoned because their mother had died. She said his heart was so touched that he cried, & she saw clearly his kind heart and his compassion.

During all this time my mother has been in retreat with my older sister. When my father first became ill my mother decided lớn recite one billion Mani mantras for his benefit. When it became clear that my father was dying another brother went to lớn the retreat & asked my mother if she would like to come to lớn town to see my father.

My mother in her wisdom said, “I vày not need to lớn come. If I go then I will have to lớn stay a long time and cannot recite mantras like I can here. No one who is alive can escape old age leading to death & this is how it is. So it is better that I stay in retreat và recite the Mani mantra.”

My mother was not upset or crying, but kept right on practicing and reciting the Mani mantra. My sister, the nun in lifelong retreat, said, “now is the right time for him to go & he is ready. It is proper that old parents are able lớn die before their children. When the children die first & the parents are old they are left with great suffering in their old age.”

All of my extended family và friends feel that my father died at the right time & with the right attitude và view. He had great confidence in the dharma and he had no regrets about his life. He was not attached to lớn anything & this is very good, because many people find it very difficult khổng lồ die due khổng lồ attachment khổng lồ people & things.

My father understood that he was dying. His mind was very clear, he was relaxed, and he was talking khổng lồ each family member, giving them his heart advice. Near the end, while he was still able to lớn talk, he said again and again, “I am dying, so may I now take on the suffering of all sentient beings. May I take their disease, their sickness, their pain, & all their problems onto me since I am dying.” It was clear to those who were with him that even after he was unable khổng lồ speak he was still praying và holding this wish.

Our family has been Nyingma Lineage practitioners for many generations. My father’s brother, who died two years ago, seemed as if he was always meditating. He had a mantra power—when someone was injured, he would recite a mantra that could help. I remember… as kids, we would bother him as he meditated. We would hide & call out to him while he tried khổng lồ concentrate. After he died, his body toàn thân stayed in the meditative posture for three days.

My family is full of these kinds of stories… It is great practitioners lượt thích my father & my uncle, those who practice from the heart, who have true power. They were both illiterate, but their practice was steady và strong.Spoken by Khenpo Gawang Rinpoche with light editing by Candia Ludy & Ellie Maclin.