The Last Wish...

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The Last Wish...

Postby plwk » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:45 am

Once, I was posed this question...
Say I have a possessive parent/sibling/partner/spouse...
and on their death bed, in their last hour...
they take your hand and make a dying wish that you would return back to the faith/creed of the family tradition...
and the dying person starts saying 'Promise me! Promise me!' ...

As a Buddhist, what would you do? What skillful means would you adopt for a case as such? :anjali:
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Re: The Last Wish...

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:40 am

plwk wrote:Once, I was posed this question...
Say I have a possessive parent/sibling/partner/spouse...
and on their death bed, in their last hour...
they take your hand and make a dying wish that you would return back to the faith/creed of the family tradition...
and the dying person starts saying 'Promise me! Promise me!' ...

As a Buddhist, what would you do? What skillful means would you adopt for a case as such? :anjali:


In this case, I would probably lie to the person and make the promise. Otherwise he or she will have an unstable mind state at the time of death.

The way I see it, there are several factors to consider: 1) the likelihood of causing the person anguish and discomfort (or, alternatively, giving them reassurance and comfort), 2) the karmic result of telling a lie, 3) the practical result of my decision, and 4) my egoistic desire to "take a stand". The last one is not skillful, the first one is an important consideration, and in the case of the second I am willing to accrue some negative points if it is done out of compassion. The practical (worldly) result is nil.

If the family tradition or creed was something I considered monstrous or evil -- for instance, if my relative wanted me to become a Nazi -- then I wouldn't make such a promise. I don't view most religious traditions that way, even though I may disagree with them.
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Re: The Last Wish...

Postby Madeliaette » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:22 pm

I would try to stay between lies and truth - probabaly ignore the question and borrow some HHDL quotes about different religions being for different types of people, emphasize aspects that are shared by their religion and mine, perhaps pray with them to their God/s...
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Re: The Last Wish...

Postby kirtu » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:03 pm

The main thing is that they should die in as positive a state of mind as possible.

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Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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