Noble Living, Noble Caring, Noble Dying

Continue the Conversation

We hope that you have found the resources shared here helpful. The Samye Institute team wishes to encourage all participants to join in contributing to this resource center. Many people these days seek information on caring and dying with dignity and purpose.

Continue the Conversation Online

Inspired by the Buddhist teachings, and under the guidance of Phakchok Rinpoche, we aim to provide both support material and a caring community to help. We encourage you to post your questions as well as your experiences to the student forum. Members of the team will be monitoring the discussions, and will do their best to offer suggestions based upon their extensive training.

Please also post your suggestions or requests for new information in the forum. We envision this home practice program as a continually expanding information hub. If you are interested in contributing a blog post to the program, please also indicate that in the forum.

Click here to access the group forums

Continue the Conversation in Your Dharma Group

As Buddhists, we all know that contemplating impermanence and death brings openness and deepens our compassion. But do we take the time to discuss this openly in our group meetings? Probably every member of our dharma group faces issues about caregiving or their own aging and illnesses. We encourage you to spend some time discussing together and sharing experiences. You might want to schedule some time to go through some of the units in this program together, or to talk about similar issues. How can we support each other and our wider communities?

Continue the Conversation With Family, Friends, and Even Strangers

Finally, we also encourage you to open up the conversation in creative ways. As we noted in the introduction, all of us will face the reality of death. And many of us will spend some time caring for those undergoing that process.

These days, new interest in overcoming old taboos is emerging. The Swiss thinker and writer Bernard Crettaz, in 2004 organized a “Death Cafe” to bring people together to discuss death. He also wrote Cafés Mortels: Sortir la Mort du Silence (Death Cafes: Bringing Death out of Silence). Later, non-profit organizations emerged following this theme in France and in the UK. And the trend seems to be growing, with groups forming in the US. The mainstream media has begun to report on these events as well.

Often, people begin with close friends and acquaintances—maybe your book club, or another social group might be interested in examining this theme. Many informal groups have started to form, and people report a sense of connection. Networks of kindness can emerge, and we can all feel less lonely.

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Suggested Reading

Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, trans. and ed. by Gyurme Dorje and Matthew Kapstein (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1991), vol. 1, pages 468–474.

Ngawang Zangpo, Guru Rinpoche: His Life and Times, Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2002.

Nyoshul Khenpo, A Marvelous Garland of Rare Gems: Biographies of Masters of Awareness in the Dzogchen Lineage, trans. Richard Barron (Junction City: Padma Publishing, 2005), pages 41–48.

Padmasambhava, Legend of the Great Stupa, Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1973

Padmasambhava & Jamgön Kongtrul, The Light of Wisdom, trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1986-1999), pages 43-47 & Appendix 5.

Taranatha, The Life of Padmasambhava, Shang Shung Edizioni, 2005

Tulku Thondup, Masters of Meditation and Miracles, Shambhala, 1996.

Yeshe Tsogyal, Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays (Emeryville: Dharma Publishing, 1978, republished 2008).

Yeshe Tsogyal, Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2004.

‘The Life of Guru Padmasambhava’ in A Great Treasure of Blessings, The Tertön Sogyal Trust, 2004.