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Open and honest discussions with wise and skillful teachers about their experiences with life, death, and Buddhism. If you wonder how others on the path have dealt with death and dying and grief, be sure to listen in. Everyone has a story, a perspective, and a valuable lesson to share. Embrace death, live a full life, and learn to love impermanence because nobody gets out of this alive.
 
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Karma—kamma in Pali—is a complicated topic. In its simplest form, it means action. In today’s world, especially in the West, many see it as payback or retribution. We see too many bumper stickers and t-shirts that say, “Karma’s a bitch.” In our culture, there are not enough acknowledgments of good karma and not enough recognition that “Instant Karm…
 
In season 1 of the Death Dhamma podcast we jumped right in and discussed death, and grief, and Buddhism. We heard from twelve wise teachers. Each sharing their experiences and wisdom directly from their hearts. And from that sharing came the book, Sitting with Death: Buddhist Insights to Help You Face Your Fears and Live a Peaceful Life (on amazon …
 
Since the launch of the Death Dhamma podcast in January 2021, it has all been leading up to this moment. The launch of Sitting with Death: Buddhist Insights to Help You Face Your Fears and Live a Peaceful Life. Now the book is available! And today on the Death Dhamma podcast, Margaret Meloni is thrilled to read a chapter to you. Sitting with Death …
 
The Five Recollections combine a healthy recognition of impermanence with death awareness. Most of the Buddhist monks and nuns that I know chant the recollections every day. The truth is, the recollections are not just for monastics. They were intended for all of us. From the Upajjhatthana Sutta, "These are the five facts that one should reflect on…
 
As you grieve, let there be compassion, first for yourself. Later, send compassion to others who were impacted by your loss. And then, when you feel your strength return, remember that everyone will have this experience, and let this realization fill your heart with an abundance of compassion so that it cannot be contained. Your best response is to…
 
When you speak with twelve wise teachers about death and Buddhism, you receive the wisdom of many years of practice, and you have access to a variety of life experiences. You begin to observe areas where we each have different perspectives. You gain insight into the common experiences that we share around death and dying and grief. A sense of commo…
 
In my family, death has been about cancer and heart disease. There are people whose lives end due to racial violence or because of poverty and a lack of access to healthcare. What some of us might consider an untimely death is an everyday occurrence in someone else's world. We see unjust deaths occurring every day. Far too often, they are the resul…
 
"Buddhists don't cry." - These are among the last words that Diane's husband said to her before he died. Even in death, he was teasing her. Well, yes we do cry. From the time she was a child, Diane Wilde has been comfortable with death. She is rare. MOST of us need to work at it. And being comfortable with death does not mean that you do not feel s…
 
It was so tempting to call this episode, two widows talking. That could be a catchy title. Maybe even an entirely different podcast. And yes, both Diane Wilde our guest, and Margaret Meloni, your host, are widows. But this discussion is so much more than that. This is really about shared experiences. This is two people talking about what it feels l…
 
There you are sitting on your cushion, meditating through love and loss. Or maybe it is just another day and another meditation. As you sit there are many little deaths. The rising and falling of a moment, a thought, a label, a concept, or an emotion. Everything is changing around you. Your resistance to the idea of impermanence, or aversion to the…
 
When I asked Cayce Howe, what he would tell his best friend about grief, especially if that friend was new to grief, Cayce did not immediately provide a definition. What he did, was remind me, that grief is different for everyone. We may or may not have the words to describe grief. We have words - sadness, fear, suffering, clinging. But fear might …
 
A good son learns from his mother, and when that son is a Buddhist monk, that son also teaches his mother. Venerable Sumitta's widowed mother raised him and his siblings in such a way that they always felt like a whole and complete family. She steered them all through joy and hardship. As she aged, and as he became an experienced monk, he steered h…
 
As an eleven-year-old monk, Venerable Sumitta attended the funerals of community members. He did not like it, but his teacher insisted. And in time, he learned that he could be of comfort to his community and that everyone would face death. Young Venerable Sumitta was no stranger to death. His father died, when he was three, one of his sisters died…
 
Mary Stancavge (https://marystancavage.org/) told me, that she views the world through the lens of having an undefended heart. She is open to whatever shows up in her life. She seeks to be vulnerable. She encouraged me to consider the many ways in which we armor ourselves. Her undefended heart led her to say yes when a complete stranger asked to sp…
 
Death? That's one of her favorite topics! This is what Mary Stancavage (https://marystancavage.org/) told me, as she joyfully agreed to speak to me. Understanding that there is death is different than navigating grief. It is dealing with grief that challenges so many of us. And each loss we grieve is different. Mary shares a story about sitting wit…
 
Growing up down the street from advanced Buddhist practitioners (like Daniel Goleman, or Joseph Goldstein, or Sharon Salzberg), is no guarantee that your life will be easy, and that you will just know how to avoid suffering. How do I know this? Because I learned from Dave Smith, of www.davesmithdharma.com. Between the ages of 11 and 18, Dave experi…
 
Dave Smith of www.davesmithdharma.com reminds us that death is not rocket science. We know everyone dies. And when we are confronted with death, it is painful. Our challenge lies in knowing about death, but not understanding how to deal with it. And so we treat it as something that needs to be fixed. We can just move on if we can just fix it. "It" …
 
If you are looking for a mantra to help you navigate everyday life then consider this, "Have an Open Heart." If you are looking for a mantra to assist with your ability to help yourself and others prepare for death, try, "Have an Open Heart." Are you currently sitting with your own experiences of grief and loss? Please remind yourself to "Have an O…
 
If you think that being a Buddhist is all about passive meditation and not about taking action - please listen to Venerable Karma Lekshe Tsomo. She will not say this, but I will, she is a role model for compassionate Buddhist social action. So when she says that the way we live sets the stage for the way we die, she is not just preaching. When we d…
 
Death Dhamma Aha's from speaking with Timber Hawkeye. There is more than one type of death. Consider the death that occurs when someone says to you, "You are dead to me!" Ouch. How do you grieve the loss of someone who is still alive? Can substituting celebrations of life for funerals help us to let go of ego and self-pity? It seems worth a try. Th…
 
When it comes to preparing for death, many people say, "I will cross that bridge when I come to it." Timber Hawkeye is here to tell you that you are already on that bridge. You might as well keep moving forward. Stop assuming that death is bad. You don't know that. You know that you will die, what happens next is unknown. When it is his turn he wil…
 
When the right person is providing spiritual care, it might not matter which robes he or she is wearing. The right chaplain in the right circumstance is invaluable. Speaking with Venerable Guan Zhen was a reminder of the importance of a chaplain who is comfortable with death. In a world where we all have different comfort levels with death and grie…
 
A Buddhist monk of more than twenty years, a chaplain in our US Army, and now working in hospitals, Venerable Guan Zhen knows about spiritual care. And when he works with families who are experiencing loss, he comes to them from a place of deep wisdom, understanding, and authenticity. He knows that when your loved ones die, it can feel like you hav…
 
So many wisdom bombs, In a good way. You know like a truth bomb or a value bomb? Reflections on the different ways in which people handle their grief, with an understanding that however you are feeling is absolutely OK. Your feelings do not own you or define you, and they will change. Keep working on your practice, this helps you build up your inte…
 
It takes a special person to illustrate the different ways in which grief impacts each of us, and then to teach what it is we all need in order to flourish. Dr. Seth Zuihō Segall, author of Buddhism and Human Flourishing: A Modern Western Perspective, is that person. His background as a Psychologist and Zen Buddhist priest make him uniquely qualifi…
 
It's one thing to observe the circle of life as it impacts wild animals. And a completely different experience to learn that we too are part of the circle of life. That is when death comes crashing in. Holly Hisamoto learned about death when her favorite aunt died by suicide. And that tragedy helped to create the caring, thoughtful and wise woman t…
 
If you listened to the Death Dhamma podcast Episode 3 with Venerable De Hong, it might have changed your perspective on grief and trauma and what happens when our parents die. In this Death Dhamma Aha follow-up, Margaret Meloni shares the impact that knowing Venerable De has made on her, and some of her own experiences in what it feels like when bo…
 
When his father died, Venerable De Hong shed many tears. When his mother died, he also cried. They died many years apart. But, the difference in the grief he felt is not just due to his own progression on the path. It is that and so much more. When you are a child, and someone you love and trust abuses you. You feel trapped. When your abuser dies, …
 
Before COVID there was AIDS. And Noel Alumit learned about life, and death, and grief while working as a volunteer in an AIDS hospice. He was only 22 or 23-years-old. Now it is years later, and some things have changed, and some things remain the same. We cannot touch one another, we are afraid to be around one another. In the 1990s, Noel and his c…
 
The Grim Reaper is a friend of mine, and Buddhism made it possible. I am Margaret Meloni, your host. Please join me as we together we journey to a place of peace and strength and wisdom. Listen in while amazing Buddhist teachers share their experiences about life, death, and Buddhism. It will be insightful, and interesting, and once in a while, you…
 
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