Death & Dying

Powerful end-of-life practices and compassionate care
  • 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 »
  • Tricycle Community 11 comments

    Expiration Date Paid Member

    A human being has a shelf life. It’s a strange thought, given how essential we tend to think we are, as though we’ll be around forever. But we won’t. We’re born, we ripen, we die. And how do we die? I was on my knees, boxer shorts around an ankle, not only praying but vomiting, and not only vomiting but battling ferocious incontinence, when I realized, We all die like dogs. More »
  • Tricycle Community 9 comments

    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 »
  • Hung Jury Paid Member

    The Dalai Lama had just finished speaking at an event on the Capitoline Hill in Rome when I sought him out and asked him to be one of the first signatories of the Community of Sant'Egidio's Appeal for a Moratorium on the Death Penalty. He accepted immediately and signed in earth-green ink, which came as no surprise. Who more than the Dalai Lama is identified around the world with the need to respect life?  More »
  • The Path of Writing Paid Member

    I was nearly sixty when I decided to write this. In February 1998, we flew to Los Angeles to visit C's son for a few days. We slept on a mattress on the floor of his study and that first morning, still on East Coast time, I woke early to the sound of birdsong coming through the open window. The scent of lemon blossoms filled the air. It was as though we had flown from winter into spring. I was reading a book I'd begun on the plane when all at once, in the midst of reading, I suddenly decided to become a writer. It wasn't a whim. I decided, irrevocably, to write a book. The decision was absurd since I'd never written anything. I'd spent most of my life as a visual artist; even writing letters was difficult for me. More »
  • Tricycle Community 17 comments

    But for a Moment Paid Member

    Less than a month ago the Tricycle editors received a note from a young man named Asher Lipson. It began: “My name is Asher Lipson, I am 24 years old, and I have stage 4 cancer, a rare sarcoma that has spread to my lungs and brain. I was diagnosed just after graduating from college at the beginning of 2013. My oncologist has told me to carefully prioritize the things I want to do for the next year, because I may well die within that space of time.” Asher told us of his spiritual journey, one that included Judaism, Catholicism, Unitarian Universalism, and ultimately, Buddhism. He wanted to know whether we would be interested in publishing his writing. Before we could get back to him, Asher passed away. But we had been moved by his words. More »