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One of our ferrets is dying. He's an old guy, so it's not a surprise, but the process of course isn't fun. We are watching to see if we need to have him euthanized but right now doesn't feel the right time. He's loving being cuddled and giving lots of kisses. So this morning while I was holding him, I was thinking about the process of dying and everything that goes with it as I pondered how we know it might be time to euthanize a pet and release them kindly from their suffering.
I've read a lot over the years in Buddhism about the dying process. Apologies for no sources because it's kind of a conglomerate in my mind from everything I've read. But I seem to have gotten the idea (which has been largely confirmed looking online a bit) that dying in Buddhism there is a focus on maintaining a good state of mind to influence your rebirth even to the point of not accepting pain meds so as not to cloud the mind.
But why? If the mind doesn't transfer/reincarnate then why focus on insisting on no pain meds or other drugs, no euthanasia etc? If the karmic stream is all that goes on, then why does it matter if the mind is foggy? If nothing about our mind but rather our karma is all that gets re-born then how does the state of mind influence that upon rebirth? I suspect I am missing something I understand, of course, the importance of maintaining a certain mind state to optimize practice in the human life, but once dying has commenced, is the mind really that important?
Edited to add: For example:
Crucial in this whole process is the state of mind at the time of death, because it is this that determines the situation a person will be reborn into. If the mind is calm and peaceful and imbued with positive thoughts at the time of death, this will augur well for a happy rebirth. However, if the mind is in a state of anger or has strong desire or is fearful etc, this will predispose to an unhappy or lower type of rebirth.