Graceful Exit: Preparing for a Good Death
August 16–23, 2019
The silence and majesty of the Colorado Rockies provides the ideal backdrop for exploring the Buddhist approach to end of life. This seven-day program is the first in a series of four retreats designed to give you a complete preparation for death. Each retreat is a stand-alone program, but also develops the material from the previous retreat. This means that if you are interested in doing the entire series you can enter any program at any time. If you are interested in just one of the three retreats, each one is crafted as an independent program all its own.
These programs are an in-depth exploration of the teachings and practices of the three death bardos: The Painful Bardo of Dying; The Luminous Bardo of Dharmata; and The Karmic Bardo of Becoming – perhaps the most sophisticated contemplative map describing the journey of the mind before, during, and after death. The final retreat will explore the sutra and tantra pure lands. This Eastern body of wisdom will be augmented with Western medical, legal, and logistical approaches to the end of life. The uniqueness of the retreats is their comprehensive nature – no stone is left unturned.
Learn what to do before, during, and after death – for yourself and for others – from a spiritual and practical perspective. By the end of this program you will discover the death of death, and how to step back into this world – and eventually the next – with unshakeable confidence for what lies ahead.
Some Topics We Will Cover
- Outer, inner, and secret signs of the eight stages of death
- Understanding and transcending fear
- Preparation for sudden death
- Dream yoga and the inner yogas
- Phowa – transference of consciousness
- Rebirth vs reincarnation
- Pure Lands and how to get there
- Death as the discovery of emptiness
- Involution/Evolution as a map
- Medical and legal advance directives
- Role of hospice and palliative care
- Suicide, euthanasia, organ donation, death of a pet
Who Should Attend?
This program is for anyone seriously wanting to prepare for the end of life. It is a no-nonsense deep dive into the profound teachings of the bardos. While it describes the spiritual preparation from a Buddhist perspective, the material is tailored for anyone interested in a non-material approach to death. This retreat is for those interested in exploring meditations that are designed to prepare you for death, and to “die before you die” — to discover states of mind that do not dissolve at the end of life. This program is also for those wishing to help others during the dying process, either personally or professionally, from both a spiritual and practical perspective.
Andrew Holecek has completed the traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and offers seminars internationally on meditation, lucid dreaming, and dream yoga. He is the author of The Power and the Pain; Preparing to Die; and Meditation in the iGeneration, as well as the audio learning course, Dream Yoga: The Tibetan Path of Awakening Through Lucid Dreaming. His most recent book is Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep.
His work has appeared in the Shambhala Sun, Parobla, Tricycle, Light of Consciousness, Utne Reader, and other periodicals.