Anyen Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhist master and teacher, and Allison Choying Zangmo, his longtime student and translator, have written a year's worth of wise meditations and exercises on death, impermanence, attachments, and the virtues that deepen and enrich life. Their intention is to uncover the many layers of fear and denial we have developed so we can achieve a compassionate mind at the moment of death.

Mindful training is a key element in the Tibetan tradition. Our state of mind has a great impact on our bodies, our energy, our behavior, and the ways in which we interact with others. For Anyen Rinpoche, the habits we develop during a lifetime will play themselves out at our death. That is why the great Kadampa masters saw death and impermanence as spurs to gratitude, living in the present moment, compassion, and attention.

These Tibetans have a practice of turning their rice bowls over, since they are uncertain that they would make it to eat another meal. They also are careful to take note of all the examples of death and dying which they come across each day. This enables them to take measure of their attachments to people, places, and things. Anyen points out that living and dying with confidence also means to be generous and always put others first.