Before the last Breath

In the past when a person is going to die, he or she was told to take refuge. A banana leaf folded like an envelope, containing a flower, incense and candle, would be put in the dying person’s hands. His or her mother, father, brother or sister would remind the dying relative to think of the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha and the Arahant. This word later on became “Arahang.” In fact one should reflect on the Buddha, the Arahat or Arahant who is beyond all the defilement and suffering from birth, old age, decay and death.

If the dying could keep reflecting on this word “Arahant” until he breaths his last, it was believed that he would have travelled the path of happiness. There was an old expression: “A celestial mansion and a royal chariot are awaiting such a person.”

These sayings which were repeated by ancestors are still used now in order to prepare people for death. The banana leaf envelope containing a flower, incense and candle are for offering to “Phra Chulamani.”


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