Program Details

The Dharma Box Series: Preparing for Death and Dying

with Rayne Johnson
November 21 / 6:30 PM - February 13 / 9:30 PM

“Our lack of reconciliation with the truth of our mortality has given rise to global suffering, consumerism, stupidity…”

~ Roshi Joan Halifax


 The Dharma Box Series: Preparing for Death and Dying

Based on the Teachings of the Buddhist Tradition on Life and Death

Dharma Box: a vessel or box to contain our spiritual wishes for care in death.
A Dharma Box is a vessel to contain our spiritual wishes for care in death.

$25.00 per workshop or $60.00 for all 3 in the series

Please Register at or Eventbrite.

These sessions aim to prepare you mentally for the inevitability of death, and to create a safe place to discuss and express your feelings and experiences around death.  We will cover a brief overview of the Buddhist understanding of living and dying; contemplative practices; preparing for death; stages of dying; caring for the dying; sudden deaths; care after death—funeral rituals and practices; grief; and beyond the will—advanced care planning, personal directives/wills.

We will also prepare our own Dharma Box filled with our wishes and aspirations for the care of our body in death, as well as in the process of dying.

This series is for health care practitioners, chaplains, caregivers, the lay person—for anyone, in other words, who would like to explore ways of being with dying that serves both the caregiver and the dying person practically and spiritually.

All are welcome. While the workshops are best taken as a series, it is possible to take any of the workshops individually.

Presented by Rayne Johnson

Rayne Johnson is a grief coach and Palliative/Spiritual Care Provider & Educator on end-of-life matters.  Rayne is also a member of the Edmonton Shambhala Centre.

She offers spiritual guidance along with hope and encouragement, to those who are dying, and their families. More recently, she has become interested in Death Midwifery and attended the first ‘Home Funeral Alliance’ conference in Boulder, Colorado in 2010. She has researched green burials and funeral homes that provide them.

Dharma Box Session Details
What is in your Dharma Box?

The content of each workshop will be based on participants interests and needs. As a means to explore the topics more deeply, we will utilize contemplative practices, beginning with the Heart Practice. Each session builds on the other, but can also be beneficial if taken separately.

Workshop 1: Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully
November 21, 2012

In this session we will explore how the quality of our life can affect our state of mind at death. Central to this topic is a discussion of pain versus suffering: what the difference between pain and suffering, and how can we manage each skillfully?

During this first workshop we will also discuss the benefits of having a dharma box, as well as what might be in your personal Dharma Box by the end of the three sessions.

Workshop 2: Compassionate Care for Dying
January 16, 2012

In this workshop we will explore the meaning of compassion and the many forms it can take, as well as discuss the various kinds of compassionate care that might be offered a dying person. Central to knowing how to help oneself or others through the process of dying is understanding the various dissolutions of the elements in one’s body, and how they manifests in the process of dying.

Knowing more about compassionate care for the dying will help us decide how we would like to be cared for during our death as well as caring for others, and we can add these wishes to our Dharma Box.

Workshop 3: Compassionate Care after Death
February 13, 2012
The final session will deal with care immediately after death: what kind of funeral rituals and practices are appropriate given the individual’s personal beliefs and wishes? What are the various losses in one’s life and what are the differences between grief, mourning and bereavement? What is Advanced Care Planning, and how is it useful?

What do you want to happen to your body after death, and how would you like others to celebrate your life?

These are the final considerations we need to include in our Dharma Box.

Suggested Reading:

  1. Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. (San Franscisco: Harper Collins). 1993

  2. Anyen Rinpoche, Dying With Confidence, A Tibetan Buddhist Guide to Preparing For Death. (Wisdom Publications: Boston) 2010

  3. Margaret Coberly, Sacred Passage, How to Provide Fearless, Compassionate Care for the Dying. (Shambhala: Boston & London) 2003

Please Register at or Eventbrite.

For questios, you can also email Rayne.

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