Aging

Impermanence is a powerful–and ultimately liberating–teaching on nonattachment
  • 12 Things You Should Never Say to the Sick Paid Member

    Even the most well-intentioned people often don’t know how to talk to the chronically ill. This is because we live in a culture that treats illness as unnatural. As a result, people have been conditioned to turn away in aversion from those who aren’t healthy, even though it’s a fate that will befall everyone at some point in his or her life.  The consequences of taking this unrealistic view of the realities of the human condition is that many people feel uneasy and even fearful when they encounter people who are struggling with their health. I admit that this was true of me before I became chronically ill. Now I find it as natural to talk to people who are chronically ill as I do to people who are the pinnacle of health.  More »
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    Taken Away and Given Paid Member

    1 It is said that we who live within the mists do not see the shapes of the clouds that are our dwelling place. We do not see the light of the sun, the moon, the stars, nor do we know the vastness of the sky. There are many stories of children, young men and young women, princesses and princes, whose parents were determined to shield them from suffering and obstacles. They were raised behind high castle walls. There are many stories of men and women who never dared to leave the security of their palaces but who could not silence the whispers of the high winds or avoid fugitive and nameless fears. More »
  • Lost in Capitulation Paid Member

    A life-affirming Buddhism that teaches us to find happiness by opening to the richness of our everyday lives. That's what we want—or so we're told by the people who try to sell us a mainstreamlined Buddhism. But is it what we need? And is it Buddhism? More »
  • Accepting the Unacceptable Paid Member

    Over the last century or so, death has been becoming increasingly institutionalized and removed from immediate experience. It is no longer a common experience in concrete terms. Where people used to die at home in the past, this is no longer the case, and the usual gathering of relatives and family no longer takes place spontaneously. It is no longer a communal affair, but on the contrary, it is hidden from public view, resulting in less actual contact with death and dying. Perversely, the literature on death and dying has been growing considerably, and people are actually talking about it more and more, while handling the practical fact less and less. The irony of this situation is described by Ray Anderson, a Christian theologian, in his book Theology, Death, and Dying: More »
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    The Eternal Care Unit Paid Member

    To what shall I compare this life of ours? Even before I can say it is like a lightning flash or a dewdrop it is no more. —Sengai (1750–1837) When I was in retreat, death and impermanence—death’s harmonic base—provided the background tone of every practice, from preliminary contemplations to yogas focusing on the dissolution of the elements and aggregates that occurs when we die. For months, maybe years, my beloved retreat master, Gendun Rinpoche, answered virtually all my questions (even the most abstruse) with a laugh and the suggestion that I delve deeper into impermanence. More »
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    Simple Paid Member

    God's joy, wrote Rumi,
moves from unmarked box to unmarked box. I remember my sister’s husband,
 after her stroke, complaining
 "Liz is a box. It says
 on the outside Liz, but she’s not there, not the Liz I married." "Is she simple," our daughter wondered, noting how the sheer
weight of loss
 had rendered my sister speechless. But I have to confess, as I watch your memory fade—
grief and the rest of it aside—
I’m also curious: What is the self? What of the self, or the no-self, outstays loss after loss? 
I watch the wind 
fill with leaves, red and gold,
 as the tree that was once
 a summery billow
thins to an outline. A friend
 told of a woman he knew 
with dementia. "And who are you," someone asked her pointedly,
 and she replied, I watch.
 How is it for you?" our son 
got up his courage and asked you, More »