Death & Dying

Powerful end-of-life practices and compassionate care
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    Aging Into Dying and Death Paid Member

    Buddhist writer Larry Rosenberg maintains that “we’re not really afraid of dying—we’re afraid of the idea of dying.” The discussion of ideas about dying has become quite fashionable—though they are not usually recognized as anymore than ideas. The Tibetan Book of the Dead and its famous variant, Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, have become bestsellers. At any public meeting on Buddhism you can be sure of at least one question about rebirth. In meditative inquiry it is important to distinguish between ideas and personal experience. Buddhist ideas about death are an expression of the experience of highly evolved yogins, raised in or living in traditional, spiritually saturated cultures. Such ideas can sustain faith. They are also valuable in that they may contain specific meditation and visualization instructions, which, in gifted and advanced practitioners, can lead to altered states of consciousness. More »
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    The Day After You Die Paid Member

    Even if resembling, while alive, the    children of the gods,Once dead they are more frightful than a    demon horde;People of Tingri, you’ve been deceived by    these illusory bodies. More »
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    Like a Hair Pulled Out of Butter Paid Member

    Not long ago, your consciousness was wandering alone. Swept along by karma, it took this present birth. Soon, like a hair pulled out of butter, Leaving everything behind, you'll go on again alone. Be careful—a powerful enemy is approaching. Not an ordinary enemy, but an invincible one: death. No plea, however eloquent, can persuade death to hold off for a few years—or even for a second. Not even the most powerful warrior, at the head of all the armies of the earth, can make death turn a hair. Death cannot be bribed by wealth, however vast, nor stirred by even the most enchanting beauty. More »
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    Good Death Paid Member

    "Your mind state at the time you draw your last breath is crucial, for upon this hinges the subsequent direction and embodiment of the life force. Only with a disciplined and spiritually prepared mind can you hope to resist the pull of old patterns of craving and clinging as your final energies are slipping away. The impulses of thought, feeling, and perception all gather together in this last breath with great potency ... " —Philip Kapleau Roshi So exactly which last breath is the roshi talking about here? The last breath taken before lapsing into coma or vegetative state? The last breath taken before being placed on a respirator? Or the last breath taken when a court orders the respirator removed, one year later? More »
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    The Death of a Philosopher Paid Member

    Timothy Leary died on May 31, 1996. Timothy Leary died as he lived, in public. After announcing that he had inoperable prostate cancer, he held court at his Beverly Hills home, was feted at the Hog Farm’s annual picnic, interviewed on TV and radio talk shows and in various newspapers and magazines, including Time. An active website appeared, giving daily updates on his condition and a detailed record of his drug intake—including numbers of cigarettes, “Leary biscuits” (Ritz Crackers, a pat of cheese, a bud: microwave), and what seemed to be his drug of choice, nitrous oxide. His message was as simple and radical as ever: I’m dying, and I’m going to enjoy it. I am looking forward, he said, to this last great adventure. More »
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    No Second Guessing Paid Member

    Stephen Levine has been working with the terminally ill and the grieving for nearly two decades. His books include A Gradual Awakening, Who Dies?, Healing into Life and Death, and, most recently, Guided Meditations, Explorations and Healings (all published by Doubleday, Anchor Books). He and his wife Ondrea lead workshops and meditations for the dying and their families, and are also the co-directors of the Hanuman Foundation Dying Project. This interview was conducted for Tricycle by Managing Editor Carole Tonkinson. Tricycle: Buddhist teachers say that if one commits suicide, it will create negative circumstances for one's next life. How do you reconcile this with euthanasia? More »