The Teachings of Death and Dying
This book discussion group will explore Buddhist teachings about death and dying, with a particular interest in how the inevitability of death can be a support to our practice in everyday life. The group will utilize a contemporary text, as well as optional supplemental references to koans, suttas, and Dhamma talks. We will also have the opportunity to engage with each other using an online forum, where written commentary and dialogue can be shared.
The primary text for this group is “The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death can Teach Us About Living Fully” by Frank Ostaseski.
Each weekly recommended reading is listed below. Suggestions for additional readings are also offered below. There will be no pre-recorded Dhamma talks.
The group discussion gatherings will take place online,
on Tuesdays from 3:30 pm to 4:45 pm Pacific US time/6:30 pm to 7:45 pm Eastern US time,
utilizing Zoom video meeting ID # 141-474-790.
Group discussions will take place October 15th through November 12th.
This teaching is offered by donation. Everyone is welcome, regardless of practice experience.
The First Invitation: Don’t Wait
Tuesday, Oct 15 at 3:30 pm Pacific US time
“Imagine if we regarded dying as a final stage of growth.”
Recommended Reading: “The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death can Teach Us About Living Fully” by Frank Ostaseski, through page 72
Optional Supplemental Reading: “The Blue Cliff Record” translated by Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary, koan 53 “Pai Chang’s Wild Ducks”
The Second Invitation: Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing
Tuesday, Oct 22 at 3:30 pm Pacific US time
“The fierce fire of her love began to melt the contraction of fear around her heart.”
Recommended Reading: “The Five Invitations” through page 114
Optional Supplemental Reading: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones pages 78 - 79 “Bassui’s Letter to a Dying Man”
The Third Invitation: Bring Your Whole Self
Tuesday, Oct 29 at 3:30 pm Pacific US time
“…all these strategies are meant to restore the dynamic expansiveness of our essential nature.”
Recommended Reading: “The Five Invitations” through page 180
Optional Supplemental Reading: Middle Length Discourses MN 10 Four Foundations of Mindfulness
The Fourth Invitation: Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of Things
Tuesday, Nov 5 at 3:30 pm Pacific US time
“The thing is, trying to rest is not resting; it’s just more trying.”
Recommended Reading: “The Five Invitations” through page 231
Optional Supplemental Dharma Talk: Rapping on the Coffin by Ven. Dhammadipa
The Fifth Invitation: Cultivate Don’t Know Mind
Tuesday, Nov 12 at 3:30 pm Pacific US time
“Surrender means moving into flow.”
Recommended Reading: “The Five Invitations” through page 282
Optional Supplemental Reading: “The Blue Cliff Record” translated by Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary, koan 55 Tao Wu’s Condolence Call