The end of life caring

I am a member of the Pure Karma Society in Gold Mountain Monastery, San Francisco. I went to two end-of-life caring cases – chant Amitabha Buddha’s name, Heart Sutra, etc. in a funeral and in a cremation ceremony in the past.On July 10, 2009, it was my first time to go to a hospital to help someone who was dying at the moment.The patient was a Buddhist and he wished to have someone/a group who can recite Buddhism Sutra and Buddha’s name around him when he was dying.However, none of his relatives is Buddhist so his family had no resource at all.Here the story begins:His request came from an email sent by his friend’s mother (who lives in New York City and also does the end of life caring with the Buddha Light Buddhist Association).The email got passed to the director of the Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care (she lives in Sacramento) and she passed the email to Tzu Chi and Dharma Drum Mountain chapters in San Francisco Bay areas.I also help out in the Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association San Francisco Chapter so I got this forwarded email (NYC-Sacramento-San Francisco).After I read the email (3:30pm), I called the director of the Pure Karma Society in Gold Mountain Monastery and she started to call out some volunteers in Gold Mountain Monastery.We (7 volunteers) arrived in the hospital at 7:30 PM. The families already unplugged the oxygen machine (4:00pm) and they were told by the doctor that the patient could die any time within 8 hours.When we arrived, the patient was breathing heavily in coma. The director stood very close to the patient and explained that we were from GGM and came to recite Buddha’s name for him. We started to chant Na Mo Amitofo for about one hour in a very peaceful ton of voice. Then, the director explained the importance of taking refuges with triple jewels to the patient. We chanted the Amitabha Sutra for another hour. Suddenly, the patient body started shivering for a few seconds and I clearly heard the last breath (sigh) of the patient. Honestly, at that moment, I completed lost my word because I knew that the patient just died in front of us. Every volunteer continuously chanted Buddha’s name around him peacefully and harmonically. After the patient passed away, we continued to recite the Heart Sutra until 11:00pm.The whole experience was just unbelievable. We clearly saw the complexion of the patient became brighter and nicer after he died. Two of the volunteers even smelled fragrant around the room when the patient passed away. We truly hope that the patient has been to the Pure Land.

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