Death Dying

Zen teachers Debra “Seido” Martin (front, far left) and Abby Mushin Terris (front, far right) held a class in Corvallis last year.

Zen teachers, Debra “Seido” Martin of Empty Field-Zen West near the Eugene area, and Abby Mushin Terris of Corvallis Zen Circle will facilitate a one-day workshop on death and dying in Pistol River on March 7.

The educational workshop will be held at the Pistol River Friendship Hall from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Vegetarian lunch will be provided. The cost of the workshop will be $25 to offset the travel, lodging, facilities and food expenses. Pre-registration is requested.

“What does it mean to practice with death and dying?” asks Brent “Kenzan” Lawrence of the Rogue River Zen Center of Gold Beach, which is hosting the event. “Through exercises, discussion and meditation, space will be made to confront a natural part of life we rarely turn attention towards. Beyond all odds, most of us secretly hope it won’t happen to us. And yet, when we see into the nature of birth and death, we can face our fears and find liberation in meeting death with courage and clarity.”

The workshop will help participants contemplate the reality and spiritual meaning of death and dying.

“The workshop gives people a chance to talk about death and dying in a safe environment,” Terris said. “By sharing their fears, they are better equipped to deal with the process. A lot of stress accompanies letting go of this life.

“The workshop is designed for people who have a difficult diagnosis and are struggling with their own mortality, and for people who are with someone who is dying and don’t know what to say,” Terris said. “The dying process is a meditation. People who are dying are in a deep state of concentration.”

Often, sitting with someone who is dying is being meditative with them, she said.

During the day, participants will explore their fears, concerns, hopes and experiences, considering their own passing and those around them.

“We must take time to check in with ourselves, and what our thoughts are and how prepared we are,” she said. “The workshop can adapt to the needs of who attends the workshop. 

“The entire experience is dealing with uncertainty. If you have a difficult diagnosis, what kind of privileges do we grant ourselves in these circumstances? How do you ask for help? Who do you tell? Who is involved?”

Having those conversations in advance with family and friends is important.

At the workshop, participants will engage in both group conversation and individual reflective exercises in a supportive environment. “The workshop offers a chance to bring compassionate attention to the process of dying, our own in the future, and to others, we have tended,” Lawrence said.

Registration, and further information, can be found at www.RogueRiverZenCenter.com. Brent “Kenzan” Lawrence can be contacted at 541-373-0577 for more information.

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