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Below is a list of items that belong to ‘All’. They are presented in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Each item has a Title and a synopsis. Click on an item’s Title to view more details about it. Click on “Older posts” button at the bottom of the page to view older items.


Finding the Courage to Communicate

Story #5: Finding the Courage to Communicate [1]

This is one story in a series of 15 on End of Life.

It was late afternoon on Christmas Eve, and my husband, Lyttle, and I were at the leukaemia clinic for his checkup. The doctor examined the recent swelling in Lyttle’s leg and frowned, “It looks like a new blood clot is forming in your left leg,” he said. “This is very dangerous. If you are walking around, part of it could break off and destroy your lung or heart. I want to have you admitted to the hospital today.”

This was a devastating blow. Lyttle hated being in the hospital. Since his diagnosis in late August, he had been hospitalised for three weeks in every four, dealing with with one life-threatening crisis after another.

Complete your reading on Finding the Courage to Communicate

[1] Extracts from Facing Death and Finding Hope:
A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying By Christine Longaker, Broadway Books, New York 2001, 262 pp


Family failing to connect with each other

Story #4: Family failing to connect with each other [1]

This is one story in a series of 15 on End of Life.

A young man told me of his father’s last days:

‘My mother didn’t want my father to be told he was dying. She was afraid he couldn’t handle it. She had committed herself to caring for him at home as long as she could physically manage it. When the family came to visit – my sister, myself, my brother and his wife – we felt extremely awkward, looking at his emaciated body and talking normally about the sports and weather as though nothing had changed.

Complete your reading on Family failing to connect with each other

[1] Extracts from Facing Death and Finding Hope:
A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying By Christine Longaker, Broadway Books, New York 2001, 262 pp


Dedicating your pain and suffering

Story #3: Dedicating your pain and suffering [1]

This is one story in a series of 15 on End of Life.

Father David, a retired priest and hospice volunteer, was conducting his weekly visit with an elderly, wealthy widow who was very bitter and suffering greatly. All Norma talked about were her troubles and her blame of others – the caregivers who neglected her, the doctor who didn’t listen, the pain which was not relieved, her loneliness and abandonment by her children, whom she resolved to disown. Week after week, Father David listened patiently and wondered if his presence made any difference at all.

Complete your reading on Dedicating your pain and suffering

[1] Extracts from Facing Death and Finding Hope:
A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying By Christine Longaker, Broadway Books, New York 2001, 262 pp


We can choose a positive response

Story #2: We can choose a positive response [1]

This is one story in a series of 15 on End of Life.

In the journal she kept during her illness, Treya Wilber wrote:

‘Learning to make friends with cancer, learning to make friends with the possibility of an early and perhaps painful death, has taught me a great deal about making friends with myself, as I am, and a great deal about making friends with life, as it is. I know that there are a lot of things that I can’t change. I can’t force life to make sense or to be fair. This growing acceptance of life as it is, with all the sorrow, the pain, the suffering and the tragedy, has brought me a kind of peace. I find that I feel ever more connected with all beings who suffer, in a really genuine way. I find a more open sense of compassion. And I find an ever steadier desire to help, in whatever way I can.’

Complete your reading on We can choose a positive response

[1] Extracts from Facing Death and Finding Hope:
A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying By Christine Longaker, Broadway Books, New York 2001, 262 pp


The story of Rose: a lack of honest communication

Story #1: The story of Rose: a lack of honest communication [1]

This is one story in a series of 15 on End of Life.

A middle-aged woman was dying in a major city hospital. Rose was receiving palliative treatment for her cancer and was spending most of her days alone. In the last few weeks of her life, as her condition slowly deteriorated, she kept ringing the nurses’ bell, complaining of pain. Although the doctor adjusted the medication dosage a number of times to ensure that her pain was well-managed whilst keeping her alert, Rose continued to ring the nurses’ bell over and over, complaining of pain. A psychiatrist was called in yet before going to the patient’s room he learned from one of the nurses that Rose had never been informed of her diagnosis or prognosis.

Complete your reading on The story of Rose: a lack of honest communication

[1] Extracts from Facing Death and Finding Hope:
A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying By Christine Longaker, Broadway Books, New York 2001, 262 pp


COVID and Impermanence

COVID and Impermanence [1]

COVID-19: A Lesson in Impermanence and Loss of Certainty

The untrustworthy Lord of Death
Waits not for things to be done or undone;
Whether I am sick or healthy
This fleeting life is unstable.

– by Shantideva

Covid-19 has really put impermanence and uncertainty in the front of our minds, where it should have been all along of course.

But so many things happen daily, things that have nothing to do with Covid, experiences that are unexpected, for example, the end of a relationship we thought would last for ever. Whether I am sick or healthy, I meet what I don’t want or what I didn’t expect. According to the Buddha, that is the very nature of this life: unstable, unpredictable, impermanent. I could die at any time…

Of course, there are many ways of getting sick and dying, but somehow this coronavirus, because it has spared no person and no country, has captured our imagination, and set in train fear and anxiety, and the sudden realization that life is fragile and I could die at any time. Yet this has always been a fundamental truth of the Buddha’s teachings; it’s just that we don’t really and truly believe it.

Read more on COVID and Impermanence

[1] Talk given at the Dhammaloka Centre of the Buddhist Society of WA, Friday 24 September by Len Warren and Sue Lee


Meditation on Equanimity

Meditation on Equanimity [1]

As we approach death, it is good not to have excessive attachment to friends or hatred of enemies but rather a feeling of friendliness towards all – friends, enemies and strangers alike. This meditation is taken from Venerable Thubten Dondrub’s teachings on compassion given in 2004 at Hayagriva Buddhist Centre.

Select a friend, not your best friend or someone you are sexually attracted to, but a lesser friend. Then think of a stranger who you can picture in your mind. Finally consider someone you dislike, maybe they have hurt you, but don’t pick someone you hate. Visualize these three real people in front of you.

See that they are three human beings just like you who all want to be happy. Now ask, “Why is that person my friend? Why does he or she seem more deserving of my attention and energy? Is it because they bolster my ego? Is it that they fit with my self-cherishing thought?” Now try to remember what caused them to become a friend when you first met them. What was it that changed them from, say, a stranger into a friend?

You expect the friendship to go on, yet one rude word to you, one criticism, may kill the friendship. Friends often fall out; marriages break apart. So why exaggerate the friendship as your exclusive source of happiness and well-being? It is unhealthy to think, “Only these people like me and make me happy.”

But don’t be mistaken: with your friends, the object of the meditation is not to cut the friendship; you want to cut the attachment. If you generate a valid basis for the friendship, it will last longer and be healthier.

Read the Complete Meditation on Equanimity


Documents for Dying Updated

Documents for Dying Updated [1]

We’ve updated our popular pages on “Documents for Dying”. There are now 3 pages on the subject.

Part 1 is an introduction to the subject.

Part 2 provides a summary on each of the six documents.

Part 3 explains that, if you are unable to make decisions for yourself and non-urgent treatment is needed, treatment decisions will be made according to the ‘hierarchy of decision makers’.

We’ve also updated links to the latest version of forms and documents that can be obtained online.

Here’s a handy menu with links to all 3 pages:


The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Reading Aloud – Part 3 of 3

The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Reading Aloud (Part 3 of 3)

Don’t have 36 minutes to listen to the full audio recording of The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Reading Aloud? Not a problem! We’ve re-packaged the recording into three easy parts of 8, 12 and 17 minutes respectively. Here is the audio recording of Part III (the angry and frightening visions leading to the search for another body and rebirth) which runs for just 17 minutes and 32 seconds.

This is the last of the 3 part recording.


The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Reading Aloud – Part 2 of 3

The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Reading Aloud (Part 2 of 3)

Don’t have 36 minutes to listen to the full audio recording of The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Reading Aloud? Not a problem! We’ve re-packaged the recording into three easy parts of 8, 12 and 17 minutes respectively. Here is the audio recording of Part II (the peaceful visions at the start of the journey through the intermediate state) which runs for just 11 minutes and 20 seconds.

Listen to Part II then come back to our website’s News page over the next two weeks for a link to III.