Death and the Art of Dying: A Journey into the Bardos of Life and Beyond

  • Menla Retreat & Spa Menla Retreat & Spa
  • 375 Panterkill Road PO Box 70 Phoenicia, NY 12464 United States
  • May 29 - Jun 5, 2020 (8 days)

About This Event

The pristine mountain forests of the Catskills provides the ideal backdrop for exploring the Buddhist approach to end of life. Led by Andrew Holecek, with Robert Thurman as guest lecturer, 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 four 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 these 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.

This first retreat covers the Painful Bardo of Dying, and will show you how the bardo teachings apply not just to the end of life, but to all the small deaths that occur within life. You will learn all the meditations that prepare for every phase of this bardo, including shamatha, formless meditations, reverse meditations, nocturnal meditations, tonglen, and an introduction to sutra-level dark retreat. Guided contemplations, discussion groups, videos, and printed material will supplement the lectures.

Some Topics We Will Cover in the First Program

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

Voluntary vs involuntary rebirth

The trikaya – three bodies

Death as the discovery of emptiness

Involution/Evolution as a map

Medical and legal advance directives

Role of hospice and palliative care

Suicide, euthanasia, abortion, organ donation

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.

If you are unable to attend the entire retreat, you may register for partial stay by emailing Amber at (contact info blocked). 

Schedule

Friday, May 29th

3 - 6 pm  Check-in

6 - 7 pm  Dinner

7:30pm  Welcome & Introductory Class

Saturday, May 30th

7 - 8 am  Yoga

8 - 9 am  Breakfast

10 am  - 12 pm  Morning Class

12 - 1 pm  Lunch

1 - 4 pm  Free Time for Nature Bathing, Spa Treatments, and Relaxation

4 - 6 pm  Afternoon Class

6 - 7 pm  Dinner

7:30 pm  Evening Keynote (Thurman)

Sunday, May 31st

7 - 8 am  Yoga

8 - 9 am  Breakfast

10 am  - 12 pm  Morning Class

12 - 1 pm  Lunch

1 - 4 pm  Free Time for Nature Bathing, Spa Treatments, and Relaxation

4 - 6 pm  Afternoon Class

6 - 7 pm  Dinner

7:30 pm  Evening Class

Monday, June 1st

7 - 8 am  Yoga

8 - 9 am  Breakfast

10 am  - 12 pm  Morning Class

12 - 1 pm  Lunch

1 - 4 pm  Free Time for Nature Bathing, Spa Treatments, and Relaxation

4 - 6 pm  Afternoon Class

6 - 7 pm  Dinner

7:30 pm  Evening Class

Tuesday, June 2nd

7 - 8 am  Yoga

8 - 9 am  Breakfast

10 am  - 12 pm  Morning Class

12 - 1 pm  Lunch

1 - 4 pm  Free Time for Nature Bathing, Spa Treatments, and Relaxation

4 - 6 pm  Afternoon Class

6 - 7 pm  Dinner

7:30 pm  Evening Class

Wednesday, June 3rd

7 - 8 am  Yoga

8 - 9 am  Breakfast

10 am  - 12 pm  Morning Class

12 - 1 pm  Lunch

1 - 4 pm  Free Time for Nature Bathing, Spa Treatments, and Relaxation

4 - 6 pm  Afternoon Class

6 - 7 pm  Dinner

7:30 pm  Evening Class

Thursday, June 4th

7 - 8 am  Yoga

8 - 9 am  Breakfast

10 am  - 12 pm  Morning Class

12 - 1 pm  Lunch

1 - 4 pm  Free Time for Nature Bathing, Spa Treatments, and Relaxation

4 - 6 pm  Afternoon Class

6 - 7 pm  Dinner

7:30 pm  Evening Class

Friday, June 5th

7 - 8 am  Yoga

8 - 9 am  Breakfast

7 - 11am  Check-out of Rooms

10 - 12 pm  Closing Class

12 - 1pm  Lunch and Departure

Schedule is subject to change at any time.

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We believe human beings are innately wise, strong and kind. This wisdom, although not always experienced, is always present. Going on retreat is a beautiful way to reconnect to our basic sanity and health. Our aspiration at Retreat Guru is to inspire people to experience authentic retreats and reconnect with their innate wisdom, strength and kindness.

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