The fourth subdivision is to pray to die happily. In the words of Panchen Lobsang Choekyi Gyaltsen: “The things which were accumulated with much attachment are left behind,
Separated forever from the dear and loved ones and going to an unknown state with trepidation,
May I have the strength to be confident and joyful”. The meaning of the above quatation is; relentless effort such as braving heat, cold and tiredness in order to obtain food, clothes and wealth that one could not afford to give away are left behind. The people who loves us dearly and keep us in their thoughts such as our family, friends, colleagues and entourage are forever left behind. Fearful of the bardo precipice where one would be going alone without any company, At that time may I have the confidence to die not only without any regret but trust in the precious three jewels and by practising the five opponents powers and die with joy like a child going home. The five opponent powers are the means of purification. At the time of death we have to think of what we have practised in our life time. No other means which we have never practised will work. So, normally, we have to start practice with the five opponent powers to purify our bad karmas. These are the five opponent powers.
1) We have to reflect on the suffering of samsara in general and especially the suffering of the lower realms and feel disenchanted by such intense suffering and cultivate the thought of liberating ourselves from such harsh reality. This helps us to generate the renunciation thought. As we see for ourselves the terrible sufferings of the different realms, we have to generate empathy, compassion to liberate all suffering beings from their dismal state. This is the first opponent power known as accustomed power because this is what all practioners do in their daily practice.
2) The determination to practise compassion towards all sentient beings during the bardo stage and at all times is an intentional commitment.
3) In order to fulfill that commitment, one has to make offerings to the holy beings and practise generosity. This is called the white seed opponent power.
4) The reason why we are stuck in the cycle of death and rebirth is because of our self-cherishing. The root cause of self-cherishing is self grasping. The notion of holding our physical body as me and holding it very dearly. In reality, our body is not ours. It is part of the father and mother. The blood, flesh and skin are the product of the mother’s egg while the bones and marrow are the result of the father’s sperm. We are holding onto something as “me”or “I” which actually belongs to our parents. This is the root cause of our samsaric bondage. This is known as the direct antidote power.
5) Even after death, wishing to achieve a good rebirth and meeting a good teacher to continue Dharma practice is aspirational opponent power.
In order to purify the negative afflictions within mind, we need this tool to clean them so that our thoughts will not be influenced by the delusions.
So, for the good practioners, the scary hallucinations during the time of death and the fear are used as means to generate positive thought of not being daunted by the Occassion but rather using it as a plank to cultivate strong motivation to liberate oneself and others from the ocean of suffering. Thus instead of fear, they use it as means of pushing themselves even harder to get out of the cycle of death and rebirth. This opportunity is therefore used as Dharma practice opportunity rather than something fearful and loathsome.
Therefore, while it is true that for most of us, death is a fearful and dreaded event, it hasn’t got to be that way all the time. If we practice earnestly, It is said that we can get more and more confident to face the inevitable end in a less fearful way. It all depends on how serious the practice has been. If one had done the practice earnestly, there is cause for optimism in death. Just like, if we have learned our school work well, examination is not a fearful event but we can look with confidence and even excitement. Dharma practice is not for show or for entertainment. It is for the individual to achieve higher state of mind where the worries and the anxieties are curtailed and gradually removed. So, that the person is calm and posed and happy. At the moment, our minds are ceased by desire, anger and jealousy. How can we ever achieve happiness with such poisonous elements roaming freely in our mind? You can’t have peace of mind when a murderer is on the loose. When it is caught and put away in the prison and thrown the keys away, everybody will sleep peacefully. It’s the same thing. Therefore, while we cannot avoid death, we can avoid a fearful death and replace it with a positive death. That is possible if we do serious Dharma practice.