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Compassionate Care To The Sick and Dying - Khen Rinponche

Venue :   Kasih Hospice Care Centre, Section 14, Petaling Jaya

Date     :  October 23, 2010

Time     :  8.30 pm to 10.30 pm



Khen Rinpoche Lama Lhundrup Rigsel is the Abbot of Kopan Monastery , Nepal who had been in Malaysia since September, 2010 for a series of talks .

Kasih Hospice Care Centre is fortunate to have had the Rinpoche’s presence to give a talk on Compassionate Care to the sick and Dying for the benefits of the volunteers who have given up much of other undertaking to be with the dying patients during their most difficult journeys of their lives.

Khen Rinpoche , who was accompanied by three other Sangha members, arrived at the centre at about 8.00 pm where the participants were lined on a single file to receive Khen Rinpoche warmly with the Katas on hand.


Despite the talk being held on a Saturday night did not deter about 25 participants who came to hear the gems on how to care for the sick and dying compassionately from the Rinpoche.


The talk was given , in most part, in the form of advices and good practices. Therefore, the talk will be transcribed in the form of numbered sayings:

Teaching 1 : Helping people in need is an Altrusim which is the essence of the Dharma.

Teaching 2 : Beneficial attitude translated into action is a form of kind and joyful act which is the act of a Bodhisatva or Buddha.

Teaching 3 : Helping people in need , irrespective of background/ caste is the universal teaching of all great religions.

Teaching 4 : Compassion to help others and developing the noble attitude into practice is the cause of achieving human rebirth;

Teaching 5 : The thought to help others , when put into practice , can purify negative karma , which is better than just meditating in the cave;

Teaching 6 : In helping patients, compassionate mind and good motivation can create good atmosphere .

Teaching 7 : Gentle words and strong compassion can help patients better than medical practices without compassion.

Teaching 8 : Sincere compassion equals sincere love . There are two types (i) limited love – to certain friends and relatives only (ii) real love – extends to all beings.

Teaching 9   : Compassion and Love can help to deal with difficult patients. Compassion can also  reduce anger. Strong determination not to be angry in any situations.

Teaching 10 :  For the dying who is a Buddhist, he or she can think of Medicine Buddha, pray and chant the compassion mantra . Volunteers or caregivers can chant the mantras and blow into the palms which are then placed at the crown of the patients.

Teaching 11 : Helping the patient through these chanting is a practice in generosity since it can save the patients from being reborn into a lower realms.

Teaching 12 :  Practice positive attitudes , meditation on compassion daily due to impermance and fleeting nature of these attitudes and compassion. The daily practice will be the cause of arising again and again of compassion.

Teaching 13 : The practice of compassion in helping the needy/patients can help to reduce the “ non-self “ or ego within the volunteers.

At end of the teaching, the floor was opened to the participants to ask questions during the Q and A sessions. Amongst those questions asked were the following:

Q  :  Can Phowa be practiced by lay members who had some basic trainings?

A  :   Yes

Q  :  Can Reiki be practiced by Buddhist on patients?

A  :   Yes, as long as it benefits the patients. The guiding principle is good motivation.

Q  : How to help patients reduce fear of death?

A   : (i) visualizing the Medicine Buddha  (ii) Chanting of compassion mantras

Q  :  How about helping non Buddhist patients who are fearful?

A  :  Do mental recitation and general advice.

Q  :  What to do when a patient who had died and requested that no chantings or prayers be done but would like singing done during funeral wake?

A   :  Use melodious chants . It may even be beneficial to beings in the Bardo state although the request did not match the deceased’s wishes.

Q  :  When a person died and the consciousness had left the body, it was reported that such person saw its own body as a snake? Why ?

A  : there is a disconnect from the kamma and due to the repulsiveness of the body.

Q  :  Is it true that the presence of bugs or butterfly within the house of the deceased means that the deceased had returned?

A  :  No.

The session ended with the Rinpoche giving blessings to all the participants.