Question: Should a patient be informed of how much time he or she has left, as estimated by a doctor?
Answer: It is best to work towards readying the patient to accept the prediction soon. (Such predictions might not be accurate in timing, especially when conditions change.) Acceptance is important as there might be unresolved matters to handle or inform. Having settled them for closure better enables departing without regret.
If there is much greedy attachment to the expiring life, there should be reminder of how death for all is inevitable, though it is possible to depart for Amituofo’s Pure Land alive with sincere mindfulness of his name. Also, though all material things have to let go of, all relationships cherished will be remembered upon reaching Pure Land. There should also be the great consolation that there is no more suffering from birth, ageing, sickness and death there, where there is only physical and spiritual well-being.
If there is much fear on what is to come during the actual dying process and what happens after death, there should be reminder of how sincere mindfulness of Amituofo’s name will allay fear, replacing it with peace and bliss. Testimonies of those who successfully reached Pure Land with his guidance should be shared to inspire the patient, explaining how to likewise make it with the Three Provisions. There should also be ample practice with the patient, and assurance that there will be support-chanting later.
Earlier knowing and accepting that life is almost ending, one can earlier be prepared with Faith and Aspiration, to earlier be wholeheartedly mindful of Buddha, and earlier be peacefully born in his Pure Land. If knowing later, due to the truth being hidden, it might be too late, even passing with greed, fear, anger and confusion.
There are only two ways to depart – knowingly and not. Not knowing is usually shocking, possibly leading to a less positive rebirth. It is therefore always better to know what is happening and how to ensure the ideal happens. Although most of us are not given a ‘death sentence’ (yet), the truth is, we too will depart and might at any time. This article’s key points can be shared with the departing too.
Verses On Almost Ending
Verses On Greed & Fear