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Death and Dying

Buddhism teaches us that death is the outcome of life for all beings and the only unknown is the time of its arrival. Therefore, it is important that our community be prepared for this inevitability of death in a way that is wise, compassionate and consistent with our Buddhist practice. The following are components of our Death and Dying Program for FCM members.

1.  Buddhist Wisdom on Death and Dying Class

This 4-week class provides FCM members with the opportunity to explore a Buddhist perspective on death and dying and gain a greater understanding and acceptance of impermanence and death.  See our calendar for scheduling of this class, which is generally in January.  All members are encouraged to take this class in person in Tampa for via Zoom, annually.

2.  Death Cafes for FCM Members 

Death Cafes at FCM are monthly drop-in opportunities to talk with other FCM members about death and dying. They are generally held on the first Monday of each month from 7:00 to 8:30 pm at the Tampa Practice Center. See our calendar for dates. Participating in Death Cafes helps members deepen their personal awareness of death, normalize conversations about death within our community, and make it easier to talk with our families and friends about this “elephant in the living room” fact of life.Through deep sharing and listening and open ended discussion, we are able to reflect on the subjects of impermanence and death, and talk about whatever is on our minds, including our concerns, fears, questions and insights surrounding the topic of end of life. As we talk, we  sit together and informally enjoy tea and finger food.  Death Cafes have become a widespread phenomena in Europe, America and Australia.  Based on the work of  Bernard Crettaz, a Swiss sociologist and anthropologist, and championed by Jon Underwood in England, the basic idea of Death Cafes is that it is extremely valuable to simply talk about death.  Two of our members, Marilyn Warlick and Laura Starkey are the FCM Death Cafe facilitators.  The group meets monthly in the comfortable living room area in the Fellowship Hall.  As an FCM member, you can drop-in to a Death Cafe for a one time experience or plan to come each month to talk about the important topic of death and dying.   Please note that the group gatherings are intended as discussion groups rather than as grief support or counseling sessions. If you have any questions, please contact Marilyn at marilynruth21@gmail.com or Laura at lastarkey12@msn.com

3.  End of Life Transition Support 

Under our Dharma teacher Fred Eppsteiner's oversight, a team of FCM members experienced in the area of death and dying has been formed. They are available to members that are in the process of dying themselves or are caring for a loved one who is dying. Through their mindful presence and experience with the process of dying, these members will offer supportive conversation and home visits, and upon request guided meditations to calm and stabilize the mind of the dying person.  For more information contact Marilyn at marilynruth21@gmail.com or Alex at amlerner@me.com. 

4  Funeral Services. 

FCM offers funeral services for members at the Tampa Center. The purpose is to support and guide those who have died with a meaningful Buddhist ceremony and to provide a commemorative ceremony for their families and the community. 

5.  Resources. 

Resources in the area of death and dying are provided in the Buddhist Wisdom on Death and Dying Course, through consultation with the End of Life Transition Support Team and through variously scheduled panel discussions and community presentations.  

For more information or to request services or support in the area of death and dying please contact our Community Care Leader at  Community-Care-Leader@floridamindfulness.org

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