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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
Moni Basu has written this magical narrative about the process of dying in India. Her writing is thoroughly engaging and wonderfully informative. She weaves in a personal narrative that few reporters know how to do so well:

"I’d thought about losing my parents throughout the week as I listened to Shukla talk about dying. Human relationships, he told me, mean little at the end of one’s life. Part of gaining moksha and joining God, he said, is to let go of all earthly desires, including the attachments we have to loved ones.
The concept is difficult for me to grasp, and even more so as I watch Upadhyay and his brothers. The oldest lights a fire inside his father’s mouth for the last time, then the workers on the ghat set the entire pyre alight. It can take four or more hours for the flames to consume the body of an adult man.
I’d never thought much about rebirth or the possibility of moksha when my own father died. But I do now.”

My only beef is the title, "Hotel Death," which I’m certain the writer had nothing to do with since it doesn’t even come close to evoking the depth of this article. Despite that, an absolute must-read for us Westerners.
Moni Basu has written this magical narrative about the process of dying in India. Her writing is thoroughly engaging and wonderfully informative. She weaves in a personal narrative that few reporters know how to do so well:

"I’d thought about losing my parents throughout the week as I listened to Shukla talk about dying. Human relationships, he told me, mean little at the end of one’s life. Part of gaining moksha and joining God, he said, is to let go of all earthly desires, including the attachments we have to loved ones.
The concept is difficult for me to grasp, and even more so as I watch Upadhyay and his brothers. The oldest lights a fire inside his father’s mouth for the last time, then the workers on the ghat set the entire pyre alight. It can take four or more hours for the flames to consume the body of an adult man.
I’d never thought much about rebirth or the possibility of moksha when my own father died. But I do now.”

My only beef is the title, "Hotel Death," which I’m certain the writer had nothing to do with since it doesn’t even come close to evoking the depth of this article. Despite that, an absolute must-read for us Westerners.

Moni Basu has written this magical narrative about the process of dying in India. Her writing is thoroughly engaging and wonderfully informative. She weaves in a personal narrative that few reporters know how to do so well:

"I’d thought about losing my parents throughout the week as I listened to Shukla talk about dying. Human relationships, he told me, mean little at the end of one’s life. Part of gaining moksha and joining God, he said, is to let go of all earthly desires, including the attachments we have to loved ones.

The concept is difficult for me to grasp, and even more so as I watch Upadhyay and his brothers. The oldest lights a fire inside his father’s mouth for the last time, then the workers on the ghat set the entire pyre alight. It can take four or more hours for the flames to consume the body of an adult man.

I’d never thought much about rebirth or the possibility of moksha when my own father died. But I do now.”

My only beef is the title, "Hotel Death," which I’m certain the writer had nothing to do with since it doesn’t even come close to evoking the depth of this article. Despite that, an absolute must-read for us Westerners.

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What if we understand death as a developmental stage — like adolescence, or midlife? Dr. Ira Byock is a leading figure in palliative care and hospice in the U.S. He says we lose sight of “the remarkable value” of the time of life we call dying if we forget that it is always a personal and human event, and not just a medical one:

"I don’t want to romanticize it. Nobody looks forward to it. But we shouldn’t assume that it’s only about suffering and its avoidance or its suppression. That in addition to, concurrent with the unwanted difficult physical and emotional social strains that illness and dying impose, there is also experiences, interactions, opportunities that are of profound value for individuals and all who love them."

Krista Tippett’s interview with Ira Byock on “contemplating mortality.”

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End of Life Zen Care

by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer

"At one of the times that I’m supposed to be extremely miserable, I would say that this is the most loving I’ve ever been in my life."

As Rose Tisnado's physical body became ravaged by terminal cancer, she received regular visits from Robert Chodo Campbell, a Buddhist priest and co-founder of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care. Chodo used Buddhist practices including guided meditation and mindful breathing to help Tisnado stay present to what she was experiencing in the moment, which is profiled in the short film Love and Fear. Tisnado died in 2007 at the age of 57.

The Center is the first Buddhist chaplaincy training program in the United States that’s fully accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. Trainees, approximately 46 of them to date, don’t have to be practicing Buddhists to enroll. The program’s instructors include rabbis, nuns, as well as Buddhists. They learn to develop a Buddhist contemplative practice, and also to support people in their own faith traditions.

What differentiates a Buddhist approach to chaplaincy care? As Chodo explains to Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, most chaplains are rooted in a theology and doctrine that has predetermined ideas and rituals for helping people through illness. Whereas Buddhists, Chodo explains, are “coming in from a place of just being present to whatever is arising in the moment.”

"For most of us, we see suffering and we feel the impulse to do something," says Koshin Paley Ellison, the Center’s co-founder, in a 2008 interview with Rev. Danny Fisher. “A core of the teaching in our training program is learning that just being is enough.”

The film “Love and Fear” provided courtesy of Working Pictures.

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