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95.   A Letter to a Dying Man

Bassui wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:

"The essence of your mind is not born, so it will never die. It is not an existence, which is perishable. It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither color nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains.

"I know you are very ill. Like a good Zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself: What is the essence of this mind? Think only of this. You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in the pure air."

Spiritual teachers have always had to offer words of comfort to those who are dying or suffering with illnesses. It can also be a very difficult time for the dying person's friends and family. No matter what their faith, teachers like Carter Conlon do their best to comfort all those involved.

 
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