After ordering this course, you will receive an email with a link to a webpage to download a PDF document that contains the enrollment key for the course and instructions on how to access the course on the FPMT Online Learning Center.
Heart Advice for Death and Dying is an online FPMT introductory course that provides practical ways for thinking about and preparing for one’s own and others’ death. It is suitable for anyone—non-Buddhist, beginner student of Buddhism, or senior Buddhist practitioner—interested in thinking about and preparing for death in a deeply personal way. Ven. Sangye Khadro, a senior American teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, teaches this course in her usual engaging, gentle, and down-to-earth style, making death into an immensely important and practical topic for contemplation. Having completed this course, you will feel much more confident in facing your own death and also in your ability to help and support others as they are dying.
This course is presented as a series of five sessions. Each session consists of teachings by Ven. Sangye Khadro (available in both MP3 and written formats) supplemented by two guided meditations on related topics and two mindfulness practices. These are complemented by and elaborated upon by teachings and meditations by Lama Zopa Rinpoche in the course book, Heart Advice for Death and Dying. Each session concludes with some points for reflection intended to encourage a personal reflection and analysis of the topics taught. Additional supplementary materials are provided to help prepare for one’s own and others' death.
The five sessions of the course cover the following topics:
Session 1: Death and Rebirth in Buddhism
Session 2: Working with Emotions Regarding Death
Session 3: Preparing for Death
Session 4: Practicing Tonglen and Experiencing Death
Session 5: Helping Others Die
The meditations guided by Ven. Sangye Khadro can by done either by listening to the audio file, reading the corresponding transcript, or reading a summary of the meditation:
The mindfulness practices consist of reflecting on a passage from Ven. Sangye Khadro’s teachings throughout the day:
The online course materials consist of the following resources:
The course book Heart Advice for Death and Dying contains Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s essential instructions on impermanence and death, an overview of the death process, guidelines for preparing for death, and, in particular, a detailed explanation of how to practice the five powers at the time of death. This book is included in the course materials for online reading and in PDF format for download.
Also included in the course material in PDF format is the companion book Heart Practices for Death and Dying, which contains Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s advice on preparing for death and assisting others through that time. It also contains practices for the time of death, such as the Medicine Buddha Puja and the traditional eight prayers recommended by Lama Zopa Rinpoche to help others at the time of death. It also includes mantras to say for those who are dying or who have died, teachings on their benefits, and a sheet of mantras to place upon the body of one who has died.
The recommended additional reading, How to Face Death without Fear by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, is a step-by-step instruction manual with detailed advice on how to prepare yourself to face the end of your own life and your loved one’s lives with the confidence that comes from knowing what to do. It contains most of the practices Lama Zopa Rinpoche recommends be done before someone dies, as they are dying, and after their death.
When the books Heart Advice for Death and Dying and Heart Practices for Death and Dying along with Ven. Sangye Khadro’s teachings and meditations are combined with the book How to Enjoy Death, you will have all the information and practices you need to be able to face your own and others’ deaths with confidence and serenity.
Note: The entire course was revised in 2019 to provide the option of either reading and listening to the teachings and meditations online or to download all the audio and text files and make use of them offline. Many supplementary materials were newly created for this revised edition.