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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.

 

HOUSEKEEPING

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.

 
 
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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”


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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”


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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


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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


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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


Thank you for participating in this discussion on death and dying!