Death and Dharma: 2017 Summer Series

Co-hosted by Green-Wood Cemetery & Brooklyn Zen Center

Tuesday, June 20, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 15, September 19, 7:00-8:30 PM

What can we learn from Buddhist teachings about our own lives on earth? How might we understand the impermanence of life within the expanding universe? In what ways might death inform our relationships with strangers, loved ones, and our own selves? These questions are the inspiration for a new series of lectures and meditations presented by the Brooklyn Zen Center (BZC) and Green-Wood that explore the complexities of death, dying, and the hereafter.

Led by teachers from the BZC, each session will begin with an insightful discussion that highlights Buddhist teachings on life and death. Afterward, just around sunset, attendees will gather for meditation in the cemetery’s tranquil landscape. Whether you’re a practicing Buddhist or just someone looking to gain a little peace of mind, each session will offer thoughtful opportunities for reflection in the company of fellow seekers.

Image by Neal Slavin

Please note that this is an off-site event, which will take place at the Green-Wood Cemetery at 500 25th Street, Brooklyn. The program will begin in the Modern Chapel, just to the right after passing through the Gothic Arches at the main entrance.

If you are unable to sit on the ground, you are strongly encouraged to bring a folding chair or cushion. Every effort will be made to choose a meditation site that is accessible for those with mobility issues.

See each event page for more information and for registration.

June 20: The Undying Mystery of Death
With BZC dharma teacher Greg Snyder
In the Buddhist worldview what we call a being is the continuous coming together and falling apart of countless conditions without anything permanent to be found. In this dynamic interplay of the universe presenting itself in this moment as a human life, how are we understand dying? What dies? How do we meet dying in a way that illuminates a life that forever remains an undying mystery?

July 18: Whistling Past The Graveyard
With Revs. Paco Lugoviña and Daiken Nelson
Two of the central Buddhist beliefs are Impermanence and our own demise—the Great Matter of Life & Death. How do we use those two tenets to guide us: to fuel & fire our Practice. Some examples from Zen history & stories will guide a discussion on practical application of this inspirational perspective.

July 25: Contemplation on Impermanence and the Illusory Nature of this Body
With Lama Justin von Bujdoss
A reflection on the fundamental Buddhist truth of impermanence.

August 1: Embracing Expansive Awareness
With Lama Justin von Bujdoss
Mixing the mind with space. Instruction on embracing radical presence from the mahamudra tradition.

August 15: Letting Death Become Us
With BZC visiting teacher Lama Rod Owens
Our greatest fear in life is dying. However, in order to embrace our dying we must fully embrace our living. How can this happen? Join Lama Rod as he explores liberation from fear of death by first liberating ourselves from our fear of truly living.

September 19: Preparing for a Good Death: Cultivating Clarity and Generating Great Bodhi Mind
With Rebecca Li
Buddha taught that death is usually experienced as suffering. The prospect of death is frightening to most people and the process can be the most physically and emotionally challenging experience of our life. What can we do to prepare for death to minimize the suffering we cause ourselves and others? The practice of cultivating clear awareness of all aspects of our experience and of generating great vows to help all beings will be discussed. No one knows when our journey on this earth will end and it is never too early to start preparing so that we can face death with dignity, peace, wisdom, and love when the time comes.