Share Your Stories


Reflection on End-of-Life Caring Class at DDM LA Center

This was my second opportunity to attend a class about how to face the last moments of life from a Buddhist perspective. This class focused mostly on how to help and support the person facing this moment have a more peaceful transition. It also helped me to deeper understand what the affected family members might be feeling and cultivate more compassion for them.

Having lived in the U.S. from a very young age, I haven't had much exposure to this subject. My experience here seems to be that the idea of death is not often mentioned or discussed. Part of this has to do with how easy it is to isolate and separate yourself from this reality. Because population density is less than in Taiwan and families are more spread out, it is rarer to come face to face with this in daily life. I appreciate the openness to this topic and time spent discussing this natural phenomenon.

For me personally, it helped to reinforce what kind of mindset and attitude we should maintain while attending to the deceased in the first 8 hours following the death. We also spent some time in class practicing chanting and the leading hand-chime (引磬) and the wooden fish (Buddhist instruments). It was a great chance for many of us to understand how to hold and strike the instrument. For many of the participants, it was their first time to come in contact with these instruments. Of most importance is maintaining the proper pace and mindset while in the midst of sending this person to the Pure Land.

I feel that these classes are invaluable because we never know when it will be time will come to face this challenge. We need these times to practice so we are more clear-headed and calm when we are called to help others.

I believe that the exposure we get to this subject also helps to show us how important it is to constantly deepen our own daily practices. These classes are also an opportunity for us to reflect on our own lives and question whether we are really ready to face this last moment in our lives.

In conclusion, I am very grateful that we had such an amazing Fashi come from Taiwan to bring us this class. Both classes I have attended leave a lasting impression in my mind. I hope we have more chances to approach this subject from a Buddhist perspective.

Written by Janice Lee
Dharma Drum Los Angeles Center

Back to list

Your are here : Share Your Stories > Reflection on End-of-Life Caring Class at DDM LA Center