24

Days

12

Hours

06

Mins

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

May 29 - June 05, 2020

Andrew Holecek

Robert A.F. Thurman

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 registration@menla.org. 
ScheduleFriday, 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.

ABOUT THE TEACHERs

Andrew Holecek

Andrew Holecek has completed the traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and the art of dying. He is the author of many books, including Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom From the Ti...

Robert A.F. Thurman

Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as co-founder and President of Tibet House US and its Menla Retreat & Spa in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet. A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is ...

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