A life dedicated to service...

Week 23: The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Death is real, it comes without warning and it cannot be escaped. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is an ancient source of strength and meaning in the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this film examines its traditional use and points to its acceptance in...
Read More →

Week 19: Leaving no traces

What did you make of last week’s ‘writing your own abituary’ exercise? How does your first sentence go? Mine has to do with the practice of not leaving traces. When this body ceases to function, so my thinking goes, there won’t be anyone left to talk about...
Read More →

living this year as if it were your last

Contrary to habit I’ve made a new year’s resolution. It has to do with a recent conversation about ‘how does one prepare for dying’ with a Zen teacher. “I want you to imagine sitting in your doctor’s office,” he said, “bein...
Read More →

preparing for dying

During a recent retreat I asked my Zen teacher about living and dying, specifically, “how do I prepare for dying?”. Practical as always, he suggested I engage in an ongoing contemplation: “Your doctor inform you that you have 12 months to live. How will you live...
Read More →

Well, this could be the last time*

“Look at everyone as if for the last time, as if they were to die tonight.” Ever since my teacher proposed this experiment, I’ve been seeing people and their faces with different eyes. Rather than feeling sad or afraid, as might be expected with such a weird...
Read More →