Death & Dying

Powerful end-of-life practices and compassionate care
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    What Is Death? Paid Member

    In the popular imagination developed by a modern scientific education, death is most often supposed to be a terminal state, a nothingness, an oblivion, a void that destroys life, that swallows it up forever. It is aligned with sleep, darkness, and unconsciousness. It is feared by those who feel happy, or feel they should be happy. It is sought after by those who are in misery, filled with unbearable pain and anguish, as a blessed final anesthesia. But science should not neglect to question this picture. In fact, inner science begins with the analysis of nothingness. Nothing is after all just nothing. It cannot be a place that resembles an idea of nothingness. A place involves area, or extension. It is defined by coordinates and boundaries. It is not nothing. It is room. Nothing has no room, nor can anything be located within nothing. Nothing cannot have an inside or an outside. It cannot destroy, swallow, or terminate. As nothing, it can have no energy or effect. More »
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    Our Real Home Paid Member

    Even the Buddha himself, with his great store of accumulated virtue, could not avoid death. When he reached old age, he relinquished his body and let go of its heavy burden. Now you too must learn to be satisfied with the many years you have already depended on your body. You should feel that it's enough. More »
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    Houn Jiyu-Kennet Roshi Paid Member

    Roshi Jiyu-Kennett, founder of Shasta Abbey, died on November 6, at the age of seventy-two. In thirty-three years of teaching, she guided hundreds of students, and her books, including The Wild, White Goose (1977, 1978) and Selling Water by the River (1972),* are read widely by Western Zen practitioners. In her last years of life, however, Kennett Roshi increasingly isolated herself from other Zen lineages in the United States and Japan. More »
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    Lex Hixon Paid Member

    At the age of 22, Lex Hixon wrote a poem that includes the following lines: all I wantinscribed on the dancing flames of my pyre:the enigmatic phrase,all is light More »
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    The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying Paid Member

    The Tibetan Book of Living and DyingSogyal Rinpoche Edited by Patrick Gaffney and Andrew Harvey Harper San Francisco: San Francisco, 1992.356 pp. $22.00 (hardcover). More »
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    Seventeen Syllable Medicine Paid Member

    Waking up in the long indigo shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, my heart is granite. A beloved dharma sister and deep writing friend of 30 years has been diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and has just entered an intensive treatment program at the Christus St. Vincent Regional Cancer Center of Northern New Mexico. I have come to keep her company for a week. Outside her home, the first honey blonde columbine of summer push into bloom, a glory I am too numb to celebrate. More »