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Number of entries: 111
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Sep 18
Friday

Preparing to Die by Andrew Holocek

Filed underbook reviews

Reviewed by Christine Heming

Recently several books have appeared written by well-regarded teachers on the Tibetan Buddhist approach to death and dying.  These add to a growing collection of teachings, practices and guidance for the dying and for their caregivers. One might ask if we need yet another one.  But Andrew Holecek’s book is truly a welcome addition and may be the book to go to for both spiritual and practical guidance.  As Tulku Thondrup writes in the Forward to this book:  “It is packed with clear and practical details and adorned with great love and care.  This handbook is for anyone . . . who wishes to journey with the joyful blessing light of Dharma.”

This book was written to help us negotiate the difficulties of death.  The key to this, Holecek writes, is familiarity – becoming familiar with death, by becoming familiar with our own mind.  He is attempting to take the mystery out of death.  If we can deal with some of the details surrounding our death now, while we are alive, we may be able to relax at the time of death.  “Relaxation is born from familiarity.”

Holecek does not shy away from clearly and directly addressing the reality of death, and he does so, as Thondrup says, with great love and care.  On every page you can feel his desire to help us prepare for our death or the death of our loved ones.  The first part of the book addresses what we can do while living that will be fruitful at the time of death – from the power of shamatha meditation to pure land practice to resting in the true nature of mind. He tells us what we may experience as we are dying as well as the bardos that follow. He encourages us to take advantage of all the opportunities we have now to face this “most precious experience in life,” this “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” with courage and an open heart. Continue…

Author Archive


2020 Harvest of Peace Events
2020 Harvest of Peace Events – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 09.16.20
Harvest of Peace is one of four annual Nyida Day celebrations in Shambhala culture. Each of these holidays mark the changing of the seasons, hence the name Nyida Day (Nyi = sun and Da = moon).  This seasonal transition, the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere ...continue
Mudra: A Tool for Chaos
Mudra: A Tool for Chaos – HIGHLIGHT
no responses - Posted 09.11.20
By Craig Warren Smith “Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news…Chaos is the great space of emptiness that occurs before genesis. … This space provides an opportunity to reconnect with what lies under the chaos and negativity — inherent awakened nature. Another way chaos is good ...continue
Touching the Earth—September 2020 Newsletter
Touching the Earth—September 2020 Newsletter – HIGHLIGHT
1 response - Posted 09.09.20
Eleventh Hour Calling An article by Emily Takahashi We have been telling people that this is the Eleventh Hour Now we must go back and tell the people this is the HOUR. On December 11, 2018, Marybeth Downing of Boulder, Colorado traveled to the steps of the state capitol in ...continue
Thank You for Building Karmê Chöling—Now Help Us Celebrate
Thank You for Building Karmê Chöling—Now Help Us Celebrate – HIGHLIGHT
3 responses - Posted 09.04.20
Karmê Chöling, from the photo archive By Mike De Give Since Shambhala Day, there have been photos from the archives hanging on the walls here at Karme Choling. In the silence before the gong each morning, sometimes I’ll pick one out and study the grainy faces of sangha ...continue
What is Ulab 2020 and how might it be useful to Shambhala?
What is Ulab 2020 and how might it be useful to Shambhala? – HIGHLIGHT
1 response - Posted 09.01.20
By Christopher St. John In September 2019, at the invitation of the Shambhala Process Team and the Shambhala Board, about 400 Shambhala members joined the course in social transformational leadership called u.lab: Leading From the Emerging Future.  This course is free, and is based on the work of Otto ...continue
A Few Thoughts About Karma and Reincarnation
A Few Thoughts About Karma and Reincarnation – HIGHLIGHT
3 responses - Posted 08.25.20
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash by Bob Siegel The Buddhist law of karma emphasizes cause and effect. Our actions have consequences and these consequences in turn affect who we are. This does not negate free will. We can change those consequences by changing our behavior and thereby ...continue
Cartas de tres Acharyas
Cartas de tres Acharyas
no responses - Posted 08.21.20
Tres acharyas dejaron su puesto recientemente, aquí ofrecemos sus cartas respectivas, traducidas al español. La carta original se encuentra aquí. Querida comunidad Shambhala: Escribo con el corazón triste y tierno. El 1 de julio me jubilé como acharya. Me parece que mi nombramiento hace dos años fue, de alguna manera, un ...continue
Touching the Earth Collective—August 2020 Newsletter
Touching the Earth Collective—August 2020 Newsletter – HIGHLIGHT
1 response - Posted 08.20.20
This year, the Touching the Earth Collective is delighted to initiate a collaboration with Family Camp, by sponsoring several camp activities and sharing the wonderful article below.  Recalibrating East A testimony about Family Camp, one of Shambhala’s jewels. By Donna Stephens, Marcelle Gilkerson and Tracy Suchocki PART ONE: What is Family ...continue
Three Recent Acharya Retirements
Three Recent Acharya Retirements – HIGHLIGHT
17 responses - Posted 08.14.20
Recently three acharyas retired from their posts.  Below, the Times has published their individual letters to the community. La carta en español se encuentra aquí. Dear Shambhala Community, I write with a sad and tender heart. I have retired as an acharya as of July 1. I feel that my appointment ...continue
Shambhala Global Services…Needs YOU (or someone you know)
Shambhala Global Services…Needs YOU (or someone you know) – HIGHLIGHT
2 responses - Posted 08.11.20
Photo by Jonny Caspari on Unsplash by Melanie Klein In my new position as Director of Operations for Shambhala Global Services (SGS), I’m learning a lot about SGS and finding that many Shambhalians don’t know who we are or what we do. I’m also looking to fill a ...continue
Lettera di Walker Blaine, Maestro delle liturgie
Lettera di Walker Blaine, Maestro delle liturgie
no responses - Posted 08.07.20
30 luglio 2020 Cara comunità  Shambhala, Questa lettera vuole aiutare a chiarire l’impressione che è stata data dalla recente lettera di dimissioni degli acharya, in cui è stato scritto che il Sakyong intende lavorare solo con un gruppo di studenti più piccolo ed esclusivo. Il 21 maggio, il Sakyong ...continue
Release of New Code of Conduct Policies
Release of New Code of Conduct Policies
1 response - Posted 08.04.20
Dear Shambhala Community — We, as the Board of Directors of Shambhala, are pleased to ratify and introduce  to the Shambhala Community the new Code of Conduct consisting of the following documents: Shambhala Code of Conduct Child Protection Policy Policy for People Holding Positions of Authority Policy to Address Sexual Misconduct Policy on ...continue
Lettre du Maître des Liturgies
Lettre du Maître des Liturgies
no responses - Posted 07.31.20
30 juillet 2020 Chère communauté Shambhala, Cette lettre a pour but de clarifier ce qu’a pu laisser entendre la récente lettre de démission de certains acharyas, dans laquelle il est suggéré que le Sakyong aurait l’intention de travailler uniquement avec un groupe d’étudiants réduit et exclusif. Le 21 mai, ...continue
Carta del Maestro de Liturgia
Carta del Maestro de Liturgia
no responses - Posted 07.31.20
30 de julio de 2020 Querida comunidad Shambhala: Esta carta es para aclarar las impresiones que ha producido la reciente carta de dimisión de los acharyas, en la que se decía que el Sákyong tiene la intención de trabajar solamente con un grupo más pequeño y exclusivo de ...continue


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