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End-of-Life Care Program at DDM Thailand

A program encompassing an end-of-life care and a Buddhist ritual instruments practice was arranged by DDM Thailand from July, 2 - 3. Ven. Chang Chuo, director of Social Care Department, was invited to conduct this program. The three major topics covered were: 1. the principle of life and death as well as end-of-life care; 2. methods and practices of end-of-life care; and 3. end-of-life care and meditation – the Buddhist way – compassion and wisdom.

One important aspect of DDM’s extensive social care education is the ‘end-of-life care’; tending to those who are dying as well as those who had already departed. This ‘end-of-life care’ is spiritual in nature as it aims to guide those on their death-bed to have right mindfulness, conviction, faith, and right view through Buddhist chants in addition to making vows to go to the Western Pure Land after death. As death nears, deathbed chanting provides the person who is dying an opportunity to enter the Pure Land and to pass away accompanied by peaceful Buddhist chant. Other than providing spiritual care to those who are dying, family members of the departed were also given counselling to help them cope with the pain of losing a loved one.

Ven. Chang Chuo provided a detailed description of end-of-life care, deathbed chanting, counselling, and Buddhist funeral. He also explained the process of life from the point of view of the Buddha dharma as well as the endless rounds of samsara in the six planes of existence through the twelve links of dependent origination and the four noble truths; nothing but our karma follows us from one life to another. On the second day, Ven. Chang Chuo showed everyone the correct standing position for deathbed chanting as well as the order and etiquette of arriving and leaving; he also pointed out the proper way to use Buddhist ritual instruments in addition to the appropriate tune and pace of deathbed chants. These activities enabled all participants to have the right view and knowledge of deathbed chanting, counselling, and Buddhist funeral in addition to understanding the capacity and function of Buddhist funeral.

Master Sheng Yen, founder of Dharma Drum Mountain, once said, “Deathbed chanting is a sacred event. Other than guiding the deceased to the Western Pure Land, it is also beneficial to family members of the deceased as well as those reciting the chant or mantra. It is especially beneficial to those reciting the chant; we should make every effort to participate in deathbed chanting and at the same time be grateful to those who gave us this opportunity.”

The participants were grateful for the detailed teaching of Ven. Chang Chuo and indicated that they learnt a lot from the two-day program; moreover, they hoped that Ven. Chang Chuo could extend his stay for another few days in the next training session to conduct more Buddhist courses. May the seed from this ‘end-of-life care’ program grows and nourishes the mind of the participants.

Translated by Frances Liu(劉珮如)
Edited by Leefah Thong

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