Compassion through the dying process

A talk given with hospice nurse Lee Paton in Seattle, Washington on November 19, 1996.

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  • Introduction

    • Introduction to speakers and the program
    • Instructions on breathing meditation and setting a motivation

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    Compassion in living and dying

    • Meaning of compassion in Buddhist view
    • Looking at change through the process of dying and grieving
    • Four components of dying process (physical component of change)

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    Psychological and spiritual changes

    • Questioning and reviewing past life
    • Examining and letting go of attachments

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    What happens at the time of death?

    • The art of dying and the temptations
    • Supporting and caring for the dying
    • Being with what is

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    Questions and answers: part one

    • How long is it recommended for body to stay before cremation or burial process?
    • How do we know when a procedure is going to make the death more difficult or easier?
    • Does morphine interfere with spiritual process?
    • Is there a sense of bitterness on the part of the dying?

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    Questions and answers: part two

    • For caretakers, how to handle things during a dying process?
    • What to do when family of the dying refused to acknowledge death and to discuss death process with the dying?
    • Ethical dilemma about ventilator to sustain the dying

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    Nature of death, impermanence and change

    • The nature of death
    • People’s notions of “good” diseases, “bad” diseases, “good” deaths, “bad” deaths
    • Value of thinking about death and the significance of death for living a good life

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    Questions and answers: part three

    • How to clean up unfinished business
    • Compassion vs. co-dependence

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    Questions and answers: part four

    • Discussion on nursing practices when caring for the terminally ill and the dying
    • In nursing profession–what constitutes compassion
    • The right-to-die movement
    • Wishes of the dying person–written vs. verbal agreement

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    The nature of grief

    • What does grief mean to us
    • Working with our grief or with others in grief
    • How to transform grief

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    Questions and answers: part five

    • Is grieving cyclical?
    • Grieving from guilt

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    How to explain death to children

    • Explaining separation of body and consciousness
    • Developmental level considerations

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