I have a friend very near the end of his days – so near he’s past the doctors and into hospice care. This friend has a lifetime of involvement with Tibetan Buddhism and is spending his remaining time focused on his practice, sort of shining up his mind to best be able to engage with the great transition. He’s also, of course, dealing with the pain, weakness and loss of functioning that comes as the body goes through the final shut down.
I’ve visited with him in the meditation hut behind his house in the mountains a couple of times. Sometimes I bring singing bowls. Our time can be short, based on his stamina. One time I brought a Lingham bowl and, though he heard it just once, he felt like it brought a clarification of a teaching to him. Another singing bowl, a very special large Jambati, really appealed to him so I left it, a loaner.
When I came back the next week there he was sitting up with the singing bowl right next to him. He said he’d been ringing it all week and then he told this story. One sunny afternoon he had the doors to his hut open (these are Dutch double doors) and he was sitting on his couch ringing the singing bowl and meditating. These two sparrows flew in the hut and one landed on his foot and the other his hand. He sat there in his meditation, not moving (Tibetan style meditation is generally eyes open) and the bird on his foot flew up and landed on the rim of the singing bowl. Then the two birds lifted off and flew out of the hut.