Dying with Peace and Hope:
A Special Purpose, Multifaith ‘Hospice’ with a Focus on the Spiritual

It’s natural to want to die peacefully and without pain. This is what most people would prefer.

This desire for a peaceful death is reflected in the stage of care called ‘palliative care’ which seeks to control pain – both physical and mental – sufficiently to make peace of mind possible at the end of life.

Physical pain we can all understand, but ‘spiritual pain’ can also cause great distress, said Andrew Allsop from Silver Chain and Palliative Care Australia. This is why psychological, social and spiritual care is such an important part of palliative care. Here, ‘spiritual’ refers to what gives purpose to our lives, and to our sources of meaning and hope. Spirituality refers to the way we experience our connection to ourself, to others, to our world and to the significant or sacred (Meaningful Ageing Australia).

Despite the importance of the spiritual side, it is in our experience generally neglected.

The ‘Pure Land’ aims to restore the natural balance and give primary attention to the emotional and spiritual aspects at the end of life. The ‘Pure Land’ is about creating a peaceful and virtuous environment in a purpose-built, multifaith, facility in Perth, Western Australia.

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How the ‘Pure Land’ Operates

The ‘Pure Land’ is not a hospice, since all nursing and medical needs are met by visiting health professionals such as Silver Chain. The dying person has a well-equipped private room, and there are adjoining rooms for their carers, who are usually their family, to live in. The dying person’s own spiritual teachers can be invited to visit frequently to provide spiritual guidance.

Advice from Lama Zopa Rinpoche

The Buddhist Connection

The Pure Land’s Committee is comprised of Buddhist students from Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, Phen Dhe Ling, and the Buddhist Society of WA. We hope in time to include other faith groups. Admission criteria includes that the dying person themselves has expressed the wish to have the conditions to allow them to focus on the emotional and spiritual aspects important to their tradition.