Taking death into your own hands means facing the inevitable—it means confronting what we fear the most: our own vulnerability as human beings. Each of us will enter the Painful Bardo of Dying and Death, some of us sooner than later. Why not prepare for death now while you are still able to do so? In this Dharma Talk series, Caroline Yongue eases us into the opportunity to consider our own deaths with Buddhist virtues of clarity, lovingkindness, and compassion. Caroline offers dharmic instruction for dealing with death and shows us how to move beyond fear, apprehension, and denial.

Your willingness to move beyond these emotional and psychological limits will be a gift to your loved ones; you’ll be able to leave them with the information they will need to continue their support when you cannot speak for yourself. In facing death directly with a rational and clear mind, we are able to shed the stigma around death and dying and work toward “dying well.”

One of the important things to keep in mind is that death—for the person who is dying as well as friends and family—is both an internal and external experience. At the internal level, death encompasses our deep-seated emotions, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. On the external level, there are logistics involved like planning the funeral. Familiarizing and preparing ourselves for elements surrounding death that are in our control will give us a greater sense of ease.

In her series, Caroline will provide practical tools to help you plan for the inevitable, including completion of advance care directives, will and estate planning, and death care options for Buddhists. Caroline will draw from a wide range of Buddhist funerary and bereavement instructions such as those from Tonglen, Nine Contemplations of Atisha, Essential Phowa, and Dissolution of the Elements.

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