PREPARING TO DIE – by Linda Kelly Brown

(This class has now ended. We hope to present it again sometime.)
After her conversations with Bear Hollyday, Linda Kelly Brown explains more about the series:

Buddhists believeheader-IMG_7484-TR-centre-template in the concept of impermanence as one of the Four Noble Truths. That includes each individual. Birth, old age, sickness, and death are all expected way points along the Buddhist path. To assist each of us along this path are the three jewels – the dharma, sangha, and Buddha, not the least of which is the sangha, the people who believe in impermanence and who are learning to live with this truth. The White River Shambhala Center has recently celebrated its 12 year anniversary and during those years two members have died. The community came together and helped each of them as requested. The rituals were healing to all involved. But could we have done more? What were the other options? How can each of us explain to our non Buddhist friends and family what we would like?

On Tuesday evenings from February 28th to April 1st, Mr Jason Newman and Ms Ellen Hollyday (Bear) will lead the second educational offering they have presented on this subject called “Preparing to Die – Teachings from Tibetan and American Buddhist Traditions.” Each developed an interest in death and dying differently. Ms Hollyday had been a volunteer for hospice in Maine, and on the day she volunteered, she was informed that her mother had lung cancer, followed by a friend’s diagnosis of colon cancer. Working with hospice, she found her calling and enrolled in a Masters of Divinity program at Naropa University, becoming a chaplain. Mr Newman’s interest evolved in a different way. As an experienced meditator, he has reached the stage in his personal, professional, and spiritual development where death and dying are a real consideration, with conversations more frequently taking place.

At a previous class we explored a few of the practical aspects of planning for death. In this new class we are expanding explanations using the text “Preparing to Die” by Andrew Holecek (Snow Lion, 2013) as a guide, going into more depth than before. Building on Mr Newman’s significant understanding of Buddhism, Shambhala, and the law, along with Ms Hollyday’s experience as a Buddhist chaplain, they hope to present an in depth look at preparing oneself for death as well as how to assist others in the process of dying. They will be integrating concepts from the Tibetan book of the Dead and various teachers. There will also be some discussion by Ms Patti Morgan on how the White River Junction Shambhala Center has previously assisted community members who have died.

Two of the particularly interesting ideas from the text include drawing up a dharma will and putting together a dharma box. Those in attendance will be invited to join in all discussions. Expect frank discussion on the bardos, working with the mind, and consideration of your present plans. The Shambhala Center invites your attendance, participation, and input. For more information and registration here http://whiteriver.shambhala.org/program-details/?id=305208.

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