Question: What will happen to those who have sudden deaths, such as being in a crash, who might be sound asleep? Will their consciousnesses be able to find their way home or reach Pure Land? How can we help them?
Answer: It is impossible to die in one’s sleep as dying is the process of the consciousness consciously being separated from the body. Even when physically sleep, a crash would force their consciousness to wake up and part. This means they will all have active final thoughts, the quality of which will lead to corresponding rebirths.
If their consciousnesses linger around after death for a while due to habitual attachment before taking rebirth, they can still practise Nianfo (mindfulness of Amituofo) to create their actual final thoughts for reaching Pure Land, by giving rise to the Three Provisions (Faith, Aspiration and Practice). If not reborn anywhere yet, where they think of in this life is where their consciousnesses will return too – including home.
The main help to render is support-chanting, the skills for which will be shared in the ‘Destination Pureland’ course. Briefly, the family members should pray sincerely to Amituofo (Amitabha Buddha) to guide the deceased back home (if not yet reborn), where they can be benefited from their guidance and support-chanting, to urge the giving rise of the Three Provisions for birth in his Pure Land. The above practice can still be done if unsure whether the deceased is already reborn elsewhere, along with the practice of doing of much good to benefit many others in the name of the deceased, with their merits dedicated for alleviation of any possible suffering in the next life.
Introduction To Pureland Buddhism: Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (18th Run)
Destination Pureland: How To Have The Best Rebirth (5th Run)