Death & Dying

Powerful end-of-life practices and compassionate care
  • Tricycle Community 2 comments

    Consider Yourself a Tourist Paid Member

    Within less than fifty years, I, Tenzin Gyatso, the Buddhist monk, will be no more than a memory. Indeed, it is doubtful whether a single person reading these words will be alive a century from now. Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well. Therefore, if when our final day comes we are able to look back and see that we have lived full, productive, and meaningful lives, that will at least be of some comfort. If we cannot, we may be very sad. But which of these we experience is up to us. More »
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    Nirvana Paid Member

    We all know what happens when a fire goes out. The flames die down and the fire is gone for good. So when we first learn that the name for the goal of Buddhist practice, nibbana (nirvana), literally means the extinguishing of a fire, it’s hard to imagine a deadlier image for a spiritual goal: utter annihilation. It turns out though that this reading of the concept is a mistake in translation, not so much of a word as an image. What did an extinguished fire represent to the Indians of the Buddha’s day? Anything but annihilation. More »
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    Not Our Bodies, Not Ourselves Paid Member

    Since my sister began medical school last fall, she has spoken constantly about an obese female corpse she refers to as “my cadaver”: “She’s so fat, it’s hard to find the nerves and muscles. You have to do a lot of poking around.” Or, “When we first opened her up, there was still shit in her intestines. Can you believe that? She died two years ago!” More »
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    The Great Matter of Life and Death Paid Member

    "Love and Death are the great gifts that are given to us; mostly, they are passed on unopened." - Rainer Maria RilkeIn Buddhist teachings, the great divide between life and death collapses into an integrated energy that cannot be fragmented. In the Buddhist view, to deny death is to deny life; to live well is to die well. It is easy enough to repeat the truism that death is a part of life and is the only known fact of our existence. This, however, is not the place from which most Westerners function. Throughout most of our culture, the denial of death runs rampant, leaving us woefully unprepared when it is our time to die, or our time to help others die. More »
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    Putting Spot Down Paid Member

    It is a heartbreaking decision, one nearly every pet owner must make at some time. Cindy’s dog, Otis, was suffering a losing battle with cancer. Cindy agonized: should she euthanize? Turning to a Buddhist listserve for advice, she posted the following: Last May, when my dog Otis manifested symptoms of distress and trauma, an ultrasound revealed a large mass in the area of his right adrenal gland. Several veterinary experts agreed that surgery would be tremendously risky, and if he lived through it, there was no promise of any benefit. They gave him three to four months to live. We didn’t choose to do surgery.More »
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    In the News Paid Member

    IN MEMORIAM: PHILIP YAMPOLSKY Philip Yampolsky, renowned translator and scholar of Zen Buddhism, died of complications due to pneumonia on July 28, 1996. He was seventy-five years old. Yampolsky, born in New York City on October 20, 1920, was the grandson of anthropologist Franz Boas, who founded Columbia’s Department of Anthropology. He graduated from Columbia College in 1942, at which time he enlisted in the Navy. While being trained as a translator for the Navy, he learned Japanese. He served as a lieutenant in World War II, fought in the battle of Iwo Jima, and was awarded the Bronze Star “for meritorious service as a translator.” More »