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I’ve been thinking for a while about this week’s Free the Dharma eBook; There’s more to dying than death by Lama Shenpen Hookham. You can download it here until June 1. If you prefer, you can buy a printed copy here.
I can feel my resistance. Yet all around us is talk of daily deaths, sickness, and this quiet unseen virus that can pass between us. Some of us are worried about getting sick. Some of us are taking risks, wanting to feel more alive. Some of us are mourning friends and family. It’s painful. And yet, turning away locks up an enormous amount of energy. And it leaves us unprepared.
One of my strongest responses to the Dharma comes from the idea of capacity. I want to know how I can become a person who can turn towards life and death. How can I become a person who can help others because I have been truthful about what experience is really like, and see how things are conditioned?
The Buddhist tradition is deeply interested in death. There’s more to dying than death offers a Tibetan view that explores the nature of consciousness and what transitions can show us of the liberation of spiritual death and the opening of the heart. Shenpen Hookham looks at bereavement, facing your own death and helping others who are dying or bereaved. It is inspiring and hopeful.
We can also recommend a book by the Theravadin scholar and monk Anālayo called Mindfully Facing Disease and Death: Compassionate Advice from the Early Buddhist Texts. He gathers wide ranging verses from the Pali suttas and Chinese Agamas. In them the Buddha speaks of the care of a sick person, how to be a patient, how to be a nurse, how to deal with pain, how to maintain patience and work with disgust and irritation. This book is full of practical wisdom. You can buy a copy here in paperback form, and here as an eBook.
Wishing you a tender brave heart.