Preparing for Death in American Culture

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Dorje Shedrub
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Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:56 pm

Here is an article I wrote years ago.

DS

http://hub.me/ajsYx
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🙏🌺🙏 Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
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cjdevries
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by cjdevries » Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:47 pm

Thank you for your article. It was helpful.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by Kim O'Hara » Fri Dec 20, 2019 12:53 pm

Dorje Shedrub wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:56 pm
Here is an article I wrote years ago.

DS

http://hub.me/ajsYx
Thanks - sensible and practical.

There's one point your younger self didn't explore, however. You noted that, "By the age of eighteen, a majority of Americans have seen thousands of deaths portrayed on television," but how many Americans have seen a dead person - let alone seen a person die - by that age? Or even by their thirties or forties?
America is a much more violent place than Australia but my own experience is not unusual here: I did not see a dead person - at all - until I was over forty. I'm sure many Americans are similarly unfamiliar with human death. And of course the unknown is scary simply because it's unknown.

As a country kid, at least I had often seen dead animals - pets, farm animals, wildlife - and had killed animals myself, so I was familiar enough with death as such. But most of the population these days is urbanised, so many young people don't even have that level of knowledge.

:namaste:
Kim

monkishlife
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by monkishlife » Tue Feb 11, 2020 3:49 am

Americans like to act as if death doesn't happen. We are very much in denial about it. It leads to great suffering when we cannot accept. I think this is more or less true in the Western world. This is unlike India, where death is in your face in many aspects.

I lived in Sydney, Australia for two years in the early 2000's. I saw a lot of violence there.

I grew up in rural America and saw little violence. I was a very sheltered boy. Rural America is still not much different than rural Australia. The inner cities in the US are very violent in certain quarters. We do have a serious problem with gun violence in all our major cities. We have way too many gun accidents as well. It's hard to manage a population of over 300 million people when the country is now deeply divided because of politics. I don't see how things will get better in the short-term. The world is just more defiled than many years past because of social media, fast-paced life, etc.

I will say that rural America is a bit more violence than 20-30 years ago. People have become more guarded and less lighthearted. Things are changing, and not for the better. The sense of community and having decent, protective neighbors seems to have gone out the window as well. It is what it is. The world spins in chaos and will continue to do so. You hope things improve but all we can do is focus on our practice and living the right way according to the Holy Dharma.

Peace and enlightenment :namaste:

Knotty Veneer
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by Knotty Veneer » Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:21 am

A great book for anyone interested in this subject is Frank Ostaseski's "The Five Invitations". Frank was one of the founders of the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco.
What's done is done. The question is: what is to be done now?

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Nemo
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by Nemo » Wed Feb 12, 2020 7:21 pm

I'm a huge fan of Swedish Death Cleaning. Many of us are getting older and having cleaned the useless clutter of the dead a few times it's just rude. It's only your property till you die. Leave a gift not a burden. Write a will too. People love things so much more if you wanted them to have it. They feel remembered and it is a great solace. Sorting through a loved ones belongings for something to remember them by often feels wrong unless you leave them instructions.

As for the rest please throw it in a dumpster now instead of making those who survive you do it.

"Will anyone be happier if I save this?"
If not dispose of it now.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:27 am

:good:

Another upside is that you will have less clutter in your life for the last few years.

As for giving to charity in your will, it's not a bad thing to do but you are, when you think about it in a certain way, being generous with other people's property.

:namaste:
Kim

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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:32 am

Preparing for my own departure, I am in the process of this very activity.
My challenge isn’t so much getting rid of things,
But instead, feeling compelled to find people who need the things I don’t need, rather than just tossing it into the garbage. It’s still attachment, but I’ve made a few people very happy to get stuff (that they will someday have to dispose of).
Profile Picture: "The Fo Ming (Buddha Bright) Monk"
People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Preparing for Death in American Culture

Post by Kim O'Hara » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:54 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:32 am
Preparing for my own departure, I am in the process of this very activity.
:thumbsup:
... feeling compelled to find people who need the things I don’t need, rather than just tossing it into the garbage. ...
The middle way (Middle Way?) for most of us would be to give things to thrift shops, refugee centres or other charities.

I have recently moved into a smaller home after becoming an empty-nester and very little has actually gone into garbage bins. Friends and relations have taken some things, thrift shops have done well, a small NGO appreciated chairs and whiteboards, and most of the rest went to the recycling bin or the compost heap.

:namaste:
Kim

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