We know, we know: death isn’t all that much fun to think about. But since when has Buddhism ever shied away from sharing the bad news? So here at Tricycle, we won’t either. The truth of the matter is, we’re all going to die someday. And as our new retreat leader Caroline Yongue, a Soto Zen minister from North Carolina, puts it, why not prepare for death now, while you are still able to do so?
It’s been said in some circles that the Buddha was the ultimate pragmatist. Our November retreat, “How a Buddhist Can Prepare for Death,” is just about as practical as you can get about it. Over the next four weeks, Yongue will share with you her insights about planning for your own death, from phowa practice to preparing advance care directives.
In this first week’s teaching, which is available for all to watch, Yongue first tells her own story of learning to care for those who have died in her sangha (she is the director of her sangha’s project Center for End of Life Transitions). Then, after taking us through three of Atisha’s contemplations (1. We will all die; 2. Your life span is continuously decreasing; and 3. Death will come whether you are prepared or not), she gets into the nitty-gritty. As it turns out, dying takes a lot of paperwork.
Watch a preview of this week’s teaching below and click here to watch the full video.