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Buddhism and care for the dying
I just came across this lovely article about the intersection of Buddhist practice and care for the dying. I found it quite touching that such beautiful people chose to devote themselves to bringing better care to the dying, I’d hope that there would be more of these kind of zen centres around the world.
That is a very beautiful article @kerome, thank you for posting it.
I just discovered that there is a Buddhist hospice for the dying in Rotterdam, which is not that far from me. Unfortunately it’s a bit too far (and expensive) to travel daily, otherwise I’d be tempted to spend some time there volunteering.
Typical, I have to start dying to get Metta Zen attention? ?
I will be in the naughty corner practicing dying if anybody wants me ... ?
⬛️ What a great service. Eh Ma Ho - [Deep bow to the Zeniths] ⬛️
Hospice care is a part of my job that I feel like I am best suited for. It is something that is emotionally exhausting, but, it is so important (especially when you know that the dying person doesn't have anyone to sit with them) to take the time to let someone know that they do not have to take the next steps on their journey alone.
The part that got to me most was the angry woman, just being allowed to be that angry. That kind of acknowledgement and acceptance must have meant so much to her. Rilke thought we should all practice dying, although I'm not sure how you go about it.
Rilke was onto something. I think death means many things: death allows space for the new to be. I think contemplating selflessness is the buddhist "way to die"
'But we, when moved by deep feeling, evaporate: we breathe ourselves out and away, from moment to moment our emotion grows fainter, like a perfume.'
'Does the infinite space we dissolve into taste of us then?'
From the second Duino Elegy. Far too sensual to be Buddhist, but that's Rilke for you
Thanks for posting this @Kerome . My cousin, to whom I am extremely close, has been diagnosed with carcinoma. He is starting chemo on Tuesday and will be in the same hospital I will be in for my operation. He too is a Buddhist, and has been for about 20m years. Since his diagnosis he has been so angry and lashing out. I can't blame him, and everyone is so shocked because he is usually so placid. But after reading this article I can at least try to support him emotionally and spiritually with a bit more certainty.
I've never understood why lying down and dying quietly is seen as so advantageous. So that article has caused ripples in my pond too. Came fairly close to the final frontier in February, out of the blue, no warning given, and I didn't feel at all quiet about it. To face it in others like @ajhayes is something I don't think I'd ever have the guts to do.
Back in 2003 a Buddhist friend and his Quaker partner started the Resting Buddha Respite Care Service on the island, quite a few islanders volunteered their time (including myself) ......Unfortunately they had to close in 2006...Volunteering there was a rewarding experience...
A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to attend a Dharma talk by Venerable Robina Courtin
"How to make Peace with Death & Dying" at the Amitabha hospice in Avondale West Auckland...
This Link is similar to the Dharma talk I attended...An amazing Dharma talk...food for thought....
"Do not go gentle into that 'goodnight'
But rage, rage against the dying of the light..."
Dylan Thomas, written when his father was incurably ill.
Another line which comes to mind is from Sean O'Casey's play, "Juno and the Paycock":
"It's about time we had less respect for the dead, and more respect for the living."
I totally get this. The care, consideration, compassion and gentleness we respectfully accord those at Death's Door, should be also unconditionally given to all those around us, still in full and blooming health.
For who can honestly hand on heart, say with 100% certainty that they can unreservedly guarantee they will definitely see another sunrise?
My dying father's medical Consultant dropped dead one day from a massive stroke. He was 49. My dying father outlived him by 7 months.
So much for predictability.
It is a good death.
Die before you die.
“Letting go is the lesson. Letting go is always the lesson. Have you ever noticed how much of our agony is all tied up with craving and loss?”
― Susan Gordon Lydon, The Knitting Sutra: Craft as a Spiritual Practice
And how much of our meaning and joy.
'What I've seen with these eyes! It will vanish like tears in rain'
From the film Bladerunner.
"Joining the majority" is something my Zen teacher's teacher used to reference.
Imagine -- instead of working so long and so hard to stand out as the individual called "me," there is a welcome change from potatoes.
Talk about a party!
RSVP? Count me in ?
Thank you for posting the Dharma talk @Shoshin she is an amazing teacher. Lots to learn from in there!
You're welcome @kando ...
Robina has a down to earth Aussie style when discussing the Dharma....
I love Robina Courtin