The process of sleep and the process of death are related

might not be boring or exhaustive for them, but rather a wonderful experience, the joy of being alive. There is this urgency present. I witnessed a woman who studied Chinese acupuncture giving a talk to terminally ill people. I found this very interesting. She virtually talked about her ego: The kind of research she did, the kind of therapy she thought possible etc. But who amongst the ill was interested in this? What happens now? People who look for help live in the future. But it is all about the presence and not about tomorrow to them. When one suffers from a terminal illness, it is all about the here and now. This is what the afflicted learn, namely the preciousness of the moment. They gain a certain understanding for this. D. M. : Rinpoche, what is the relationship between dreams and death? You wrote a book about this: “Übung der Nacht” (Diederrichs?). Rinpoche : The process of sleeping and the process of dying are seen as closely related to one another. The similarity consists in the manner one loses contact to one’s exterior world and whether one perceives the inner processes or not. How does one find oneself in the inner world - when one loses everything in the exterior world? It is not just about the conceptual relationship of the ego with the exterior world, but rather more about the direct perceptions of the senses. What happens when one loses them? When one stops seeing forms, when one stops smelling, when one no longer hears sounds one either likes or dislikes? When one loses contact with these external things one, in a way, loses oneself. In our day to day life, the external world is constantly defining who we are. When practicing people lose their connection to their external world, they have the opportunity to find their inner world. But those that have no experience in regards to their inner world, only know about who they are from their relationship to externalities. D. M. : We in the West have a great fear of dying and death. To what degree is this connected to the fear of living? Rinpoche : I think that it is exactly the same. The fear of death is basically the fear of losing oneself. How do we usually define ourselves? Everything that I am is what I have done in my life and what I possess. Who I am is found in externalities and not in knowledge or in the perception of the inner self. I therefore lose everything and this is naturally scary. But if one is in possession of experiences or the trust in one’s inner self that are not dependent on externalities, death is less scary. Philosophically expressed: • When one has a stronger connection to the basics, one is less scared. When one has a stronger connection to clarity, one is on the other side of hope. When one finds oneself on the other side of fear and hope, one no longer has a reason to fear death. D. M. : How can we, the living, support the dying? This question not only deals with the time to their last breath, but also with what we can do after their external breathing has come to a stop? Rinpoche : I think that the best kind of support lies therein, that we know the individual about to die very well and this includes the circumstances. Does this person have a spiritual background? Does it have trust in itself? Does is have the ability to act in regards to the things that are required? When people die, it means for us that we shouldn’t try to