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  • Tricycle Community 5 comments

    What to Think About at Death Paid Member

    I want to remind all of you who are presently sick or dying to think about what I have to say and try to change or go on diligently with your practice. The Buddha spoke of “death-proximate karma” (asanna karma). This kind of karma is really powerful. It can lead us to a better or worse realm after we die. If death-proximate karma is good, it will lead a dying person to a good realm, and vice versa. More »
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    Caring for Our Own Paid Member

    But death is real, Comes without warning. This body Will be a corpse —Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Four Reminders More »
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    The Longest Hospice Patient Paid Member

    When my father was dying, I wanted to practice a “charnel ground” meditation, or the closest version I could offer. I didn’t leave his bedside. I interviewed him for three mornings, taking notes so that I could write his obituary. I stayed as close to his body as possible by setting up his dialysis exchanges four times a day. On the final morning, I was in his bedroom at five a.m., draining liquid out of his abdomen. As the liter of sterile replacement solution flowed into his abdomen, I yoked my breath to his. Every time he breathed in, I breathed in. Every time he breathed out, I breathed out, sighing—“ahh”—as if to confirm that he had lived a long, satisfactory life. When the dialysis exchange was finished, I went back to bed, meditated for a few minutes, then dozed. An hour later, my sister woke me up. Our father was dead. More »
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    Molly's Death Paid Member

    Six of us carried Molly’s body up the narrow, twisting staircase, an embrace so intimate and sweet that the experience remains vivid for me months after her death. Her passing was expected and uneventful, like many I’ve witnessed—a slow withdrawal, a growing acceptance of the inevitable, and a quiet release. Molly had struggled for four and a half years with advancing brain cancer and with the effects of the drugs that slowed its progress. Her body now rested in a hand-built coffin, cut from cedar at a nearby sawmill and reassembled for her only hours ago at the top of the house, in the bedroom that she’d abandoned several months before, no longer able to negotiate the climb. She and her husband, Craig, had built that large room and the attached deck six years earlier—she had loved it there. More »
  • Tricycle Community 2 comments

    Remembering Ed Softky Paid Member

    I remember picking up the phone on Thursday and hearing my wife Eva’s voice. I could tell she was crying. “Sweetie,” she said, “Ed was in an accident and was killed.” I felt my knees buckle, and I dropped into the chair behind me. My mind couldn’t accept it. This simply wasn’t possible. Ed Softky was the Tibetan translator for Geshe Ngawang Singey, our teacher in Williamsville, Vermont. Ed had orchestrated the camping trip for our sangha to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Ed was the one who secretly shoveled our driveway all winter until we finally caught him in the act, shovel in hand, laughing. Ed was the one we all thought of whenever we heard the word bodhisattva. Ed was our dearest friend. More »