End-of-Life Care
RabJung Calculator

Mindful Training
༈ གླང་རེ་ཐང་པ་རྡོ་རྗེ་སེང་གེས་མཛད་པའི་བློ་སྦྱོང་ཚིག་བརྒྱད་མ་བཞུགས་སོ།
Eight Verses for Mind-Training Composed by Geshe Langri Thangpa Dorjee Singghe (1054-1123).
Audio: H.H. the Dalai Lama
1 སེམས་བསྐྱེད།
༈ བདག་ནི་སེམས་ཅན་ཐམས་ཅད་ལ།
May I consider sentient beings,
dearer than the Wish-Fulfilling Gem.
Best wishes in mind,
Forever hold them dear.

2 སྙིང་རྗེ།
Whenever whoever I am with
May I see myself least important.
And sincerely others in mind,
Hold them dearly highest.

3 བསམ་གཏན།
Always observe my behaviour.
Negative thoughts may arise,
[and]Hurt myself and others.
Confront and suppress it with force.

4 བཟོད་པ།
For unpleasant sentient being is,
Overwhelmed by bad-karma and suffering.
When stumble upon rare treasure,
Cherish and empathise.

5 སྦྱིན་པ།
Out of envy others may,
Insult, abuse and treat me unjustly.
May I accept [freewill] defeat and loss,
And offer victory to them.

6 ཤེས་རབ།
Whom I have helped,
With great expectation.
Did immense harm and unjust in return.
May I see him as my true teacher.

7 ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས།
In essence, directly or indirectly,
Offer total wellness to mothers.
Suffering and pain of mothers,
Inconspicuously take upon myself.

8 བརྩོན་འགྲུས།
All above be free from
eight compromises of Acquired Concept.
Recognizing all phenomena is illusory,
May I be free from bondage of disgusting Attachment.
*mother: sentient beings
Transliteration: karma
ThugDham/Tukdam: ཐུགས་དམ།

Death: Definition and primary indicators

All living things die as a natural process and human are no exception. Medical doctors declare if someone is dead or alive by examining few indicators. Eye Pupils are fixed (no response to light) and dilated; Eyes should not have a blink reflex when something brushes against the cornea of the eye; Dead body has no heart beat sounds for one minute of listening; it should have no breathing sounds; it should not response to externally induced pain caused by pressure-press against chest. When a body shows above signs, person is declared dead. Such a person is medically and clinically dead.

As lung and heart stopped functioning oxygen supply to brain stops and within few minute brain too is dead.

Secondary indicators

As a consequence, dead person has no color or shine or glow in his face, the nose sinks inward, the elasticity (soft and flexible) of skin is lost too that is when skin is pulled it does not fall back, body starts to smell as it decompose and in some cases fluids emerge from the nose.

Cremation: Public Health and Safety

When a dead body goes into decaying state, for the sake of public health, corpse must be cremated at the earliest or kept in morgue.


Tibetan monks or lay who have achieved some level of meditation concentration (TiNyeZin) on Dissolution Stages when they die (clinically declared dead) their body shows no secondary indicators mentioned above. Instead their skin glows as if alive, nostrils do not sink in, skin remains elastic, body does not decay, emits no odors (rotting smell), and body does not turn cold but retains very feeble heat. Tibetans refer to such a state of body, after clinical death, in ThugDam.

Some remain in ThugDam for a day and others as long as 3 weeks so far. Nails and hair also grows as normal.


ThugDham state can be in lying down or sitting posture. These days many ThugDham are in lying down position because body arrives from Hospitals. In old Tibet, lamas have a choice and they spend their last few days or hours in meditation in sitting position.

Dos and Don’ts: Historical Myth and what we know today

Historically ThugDham State is not disturbed (movement, touch, pinch), silence is strict, incenses, Sangs( a Tibetan version of Thurible) and sound of the ritual Bells are avoided. However since the inception of dialogue between Buddhism and Science initiated by H.H. the Dalai Lama, many ThugDham state were put to scientific test. As a result ThugDham State were moved or touched for easy access for scientist test, attached various electrodes, people moved in and out, as a result some sound or noise was inevitable. However, all of these disturbances did not disrupt the ThugDham in any way. This is now confirmed.

When Geshe Lobsang Khenrap, Drepung Loseling, passed away in BodhGaya in 2011, he remained in ThugDam state for 10 days. Nechung Monks had to move him for proper Viewing. Sound of footsteps, flash photograph, people moving in and out to pay homage etc. did not disrupt the ThugDham State. Nechung Dorjee confirmed it.

“Some of my religious friends, including practitioners of a system called Great Completeness in the Nyigma order of Tibetan Buddhism, have reported deep experience of dissolution, but still within the realm of similitudes of the actual ones…Just last year, a body of a lama from the Sakya order remained fresh without decomposition for more than twenty days. He “died” in Dharamsala but he remained, while still here in Dharamsala, in meditation[karma: ThugDham], then his body was carried to Rajpur in Dehra Dun[karma: 500km or 8 hour journey] area, where it still remained fresh.” …p.163;Advice on Dying and Living a Better life by H.H. the Dalai Lama.

What we still don’t do is burn Incense, smoke Sangs and use ritual Bell. Although there were many reports of ThugDham State from Sakya, Nigma and Kargue but most of the scientific test were carried out on volunteers from Geluk only.

Explanation of ThukDham

Science fails to explain why body did not decompose soon after it was declared clinically dead. Period.

Tibetan Buddhism explains that mind or consciousness has many levels such as gross and subtle. All humans and animals experience things at grosser level of mind which can react to and perform various other things. It is the grosser level of mind that has left the body when a person is declared clinically dead. Subtle mind still remains within the body to go through the Dissolution Stages whether one is aware of such phases of a process or not.

Subtle mind, on the other hand, has lots of potential but access to it is not within our grasp.

When we dream, we are in subtle level of mind. When we faint, we are in yet another subtler level of mind. Most subtle level of mind, however, comes to fore when we Yawn or Sneeze or during copulation.

Subtlest of all the mind is the “Mother Clear Light” which dawns due to Karmic force at the time of death.

How do we access these subtle minds? There is no way to prolong, Yawning or Sneezing. Therefore some Yogis with their meditative concentration can prolong sexual union and force subtle mind to realize emptiness.

Death is a process, according to Tibetan Buddhism. At the time of death following processes takes place but majority of us miss it although it passes by invariably. Yogis (monk or lay), on the other hand, recognize them as they pass by. They are Mirage, Smoke, Fireflies, Flame, vivid White Appearance, vivid Red-Orange Appearance, vivid Black Appearance and Clear Light. Yogis in ThukDham state abide in these Eight Stages of the Appearances as long as they want. Until they exit from the “Clear Light” ThugDham state remains.

Yogis practice (visualizes within the meditative equipoise; Samadhi) these eight Appearances in set of three; Past state, Present state and the state that is to come. For example, Fireflies are appearing, Smoke just passed, a Flame is just about to dawn. Next, a flame is appearing, Fireflies just passed, a vivid white-Appearance is about to dawn. Last in sequence is; the mind of Clear Light(Luminosity) is just appearing, A vivid blackness just passed. Page180; Advice on Dying and Living a better life by H.H. the Dalai Lama.

Clear Light or Luminosity: འོད་གསལ།
According to DzogChen (རྫོགས་ཆེན།) there are two different types of Clear Light or Luminosity. First Clear Light or Luminosity is the one that meditators experience while in Meditation equipoise. It is often referred to as “Son Luminosity” or “Path Luminosity” or Simile Luminosity( ལམ་གྱི་འོད་གསལ།).

Second Luminosity comes into play at the time of the death. It is called “Mother Luminosity or Clear Light”(གཞིའི་འོད་གསལ།). This Mother Clear Light is experienced by all sentient beings, briefly, at the time of their death.

Liberation happens when these two Clear Lights, the Mother and the Son, meet.