News


Welcome to our News

Welcome to The Pure Land News. This page contains a list of news in reverse chronological order (most recent first)


The Cycle of Life

The Cycle of Life

These two photos had a huge impact on me. Try them yourself.

Look carefully at both photos and then read the captions. Let the impermanence of life and the nearness of death sink in. Reflect on the loving kindness, the caring, and the interdependence of all human beings.

Photos reproduced from Facing Death, by Sandra L Bertman, Taylor & Francis, 1991, pages 96, 97


How My Karma at Death Will Propel Me Into a New Life

How My Karma at Death Will Propel Me Into a New Life [1]

Venerable Thubten Dondrub, former Resident Teacher at Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, recently explained how it is that when your death comes and you have virtuous thoughts at that moment, you will be reborn into a happy life; but if at the time of death you have a non-virtuous mind, you will be reborn into a place of great suffering.

Geshe Lhundub Sopa, in his book Steps on the Path to Enlightenment, also goes into the role of karma at the time of death in some detail.

When we commit actions of body, speech or mind with a clear and strong intention, strong karmic imprints, good and bad, are planted on our mind. These are called ‘throwing karma’ because if one of them ripens at the point of death they have enough power to throw or propel us into the next life.

That is why it is so important to guide the mind to the side of virtue as one approaches death. For example, as long as the dying person can still hear, his spiritual teacher or a close friend, or a relative, can gently recite the practices or mantras or sayings that the person is familiar with.

This is one way we, as trained volunteers, can help when The Pure Land is up and running. How amazing and wonderful it would be if our guidance enabled the dying person to have a more peaceful death and a happier rebirth!

Read more on How My Karma at Death Will Propel Me Into a New Life

[1] Extracts selected by Len Warren from Steps on the Path to Enlightenment A Commentary on Tsongkhapa’s Lamrim Chenmo, by Geshe Lhundub Sopa, with David Patt, Volume 2, Wisdom Publications, 2005, page 306
The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha Inc. http://purelandcentre.org , admin@purelandcentre.org


The Pure Land’s Bhutan Lottery

The Pure Land’s Bhutan Lottery

The Pure Land's Bhutan Lottery

Dear Dharma Friend,

My heartfelt thanks to you if you have bought tickets in the Bhutan Lottery. This is a key part of making our dream come true.

If you are intending to buy but haven’t got around to it, then now is the time. Please go to https://purelandcentre.org/lottery and purchase your tickets with a credit or debit card.

And if for whatever reason you’d rather not buy a ticket, that’s fine too.

A key aspect of this fundraising event is ‘spreading the word’, firstly about the Lottery itself and secondly about the concept of The Pure Land project. If you can help in this way, it is very valuable.

Len Warren, Chairperson, The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Incorporated.


Dignified Death?

A Dignified Death?[1]

The ideal death scenario is the death we would orchestrate for ourselves. The characteristics of such a death seem to be timeliness, painlessness, consciousness, and preparedness. Death would come in later years; it would not be premature. We would be in control of our faculties, alert, and able to communicate. The occasion would not occur suddenly but rather eventually, with time for both philosophical and emotional preparation. We would be able to speak last words and receive the responsive farewells.

Jacques Louis David’s classical painting, Death of Socrates, offers a visual interpretation of this ideal death. Socrates is presented just before he drinks the hemlock that will kill him. Although late in years, the philosopher epitomises vigour, stoicism and decisiveness in his stance. His death is the ultimate expression of virtue; the laying down of one’s life for the defence of ideals. The beloved teacher is surrounded by his grieving family, students and jailer. His finger points heavenward, probably indicating his resolve or perhaps the path his soul will take.

In contrast, the unreconciled, painful scene suggested by the contemporary Beckmann painting, Large Death Scene, markedly opposes the peaceful leavetaking of the painting, the Death of Socrates. The last moments of this man’s death are undignified, unromanticized and unbeautiful. There is no sense of composure, control, or communication. Rather, this expressionist work lays bare the indignity that can befall a person whose dying is prolonged. Raw, naked agony is portrayed by the dying man’s postures and by those witnessing his demise.

Read more on A Dignified Death

[1] Contents of this page prepared by Len Warren based on extracts from Facing Death: Images, Insights, and Interventions A Handbook for Educators, Healthcare Professionals and Counsellors, Sandra L Bertman, Taylor & Francis, 1991


News Flash! Big Donation!

News Flash! Big Donation!

The Pure Land Inc. has been given a great boost by the donation of a sizeable sum – $116,000.

All of us who are working to get our pilot project off the ground, are thrilled to receive this very generous donation, whose donor wishes to remain anonymous.

We are very much in need of funds to support us through this developmental stage and beyond, into the life of the centre. Our immediate target is to raise $350,000 to cover the costs of running the pilot trial for three years.

Our on-going success depends on the generosity of those who are able to give.

So we extend grateful thanks to our generous donor, and to all those who have given their resources, skills and time.

We encourage all of our friends and associates to support us to the best of their ability, and to that end, our donations link below.

https://purelandcentre.org/donations/

Kind Regards,

Len Warren, Chairperson, The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Incorporated.


Euthanasia

Euthanasia [1]

Euthanasia is another challenging topic. Is it okay to pull the plug?

Motivation

The first issue is our motivation. If we are the one helping to euthanise a sentient being, why are we doing it? Are we doing it to remove their suffering, or to remove our anxiety around witnessing that suffering? Who are we trying to benefit, and why do we think it brings benefit? These kinds of questions help to reveal hidden motivations that can guide us through this complex issue. It’s also imperative to realize that people rarely ask for euthanasia when their needs are met. If someone is feeling loved and valued, and has their physical symptoms managed, they generally won’t ask to be euthanised.

Active euthanasia

There is a difference between active and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is actively ending a life, and the tradition is clear on this: Don’t do it. Even though the motivation may be to end suffering, and that does soften the karmic consequences, active euthanasia still has significant karmic repercussions (The Tibetan Book of the Dead, translated by Francesca Fremantle and Chogyam Trungpa, page 78).

Read more on Euthanasia by Andrew Holocek

[1] Extracts selected by Len Warren of The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Inc., Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, 64 Banksia Terrace, Kensington 6151 Western Australia from Preparing to Die by Andrew Holocek, Snow Lion: Boston, 2013 Page 262.

Response to Voluntary Euthanasia
with Sue Lee & Len Warren 4 October 2019

Facing Death – Sandra Bertman

Facing Death by Sandra L Bertman [1]

America in 1991: A ‘Death-Denying Society’

Sandra Bertman sets the scene for her book with a portrait of America in 1991, describing it as a ‘death-denying’ society. I think the situation in Australia now is better in many respects, but in others it seems that we have just become more sophisticated and cunning in distracting ourselves from death until the last moment when it is too late to take advantage of what the Buddhist teachings say are the great opportunities in dying.

“Death Parting Man and Woman” – Fountain Relief by Gustav Vigeland, 1916

Newspapers and television bombard our senses daily with reports of violence, accidents, cancer and the threat of megadeath. For some, death may occur suddenly from a heart attack, an accident or a stroke. Most of us, however, will experience death slowly and in our later years. We are an increasingly ageing population. Many of us will develop chronic illnesses that will eventually prove fatal. Death will be protracted and will involve a growing awareness that we are, indeed, dying.

Yet our society seems insulated from and uncomfortable about the subject of death. The modern age has created a veritable ‘pornography of death’ which extends even to disposition of the body. Aspects of the funeral industry have become exploitative, ostentatious, and sanitised. In hospital and nursing home settings – places where death and dying are daily events – mutual conspiracies of silence and closed communication patterns entered into by dying patients and staff are commonplace. Even children learn to collude in this game by concealing knowledge of their own impending deaths from their parents and medical personnel. Family ties have disintegrated, while the aged and dying have become segregated from their loved ones through consignment to nursing homes and institutional care. America might thus be characterized as a death-denying society.

There is no doubt that increases in medical technology have increased longevity – what gerontologists call ‘prolongevity’. But along with major improvements in the technological aspects of care e.g. marvellous devices for emergency services, ventilators, artificial kidneys, organ transplants, Comes a myriad of ethical and humanistic dilemmas relating not only to where and when we die, but also about the way we die. One of the paradoxes that has resulted from the evolution of medical science in recent decades is that the complexities involved in the treatment of illness and disease often act as a barrier between the caregiver and the sick person. Highly technical diagnostic and therapeutic interventions can become obstacles to effective communication and treatment and accentuate the shift even further away from close personal involvement with the patient.

Read more on Facing Death by Sandra L Bertman

[1] Contents of this page prepared by Len Warren based on extracts from Facing Death: Images, Insights, and Interventions A Handbook for Educators, Healthcare Professionals and Counsellors, Sandra L Bertman, Taylor & Francis, 1991


Retreat: Spiritual Care of the Dying – 22-27 Aug 2019

In late August we have a rare opportunity.

An experienced Australian Buddhist nun, Venerable Chodron, will come to Western Australia to lead a six-day teaching retreat on preparing for your own death and preparing for helping others who are dying.

Venerable Chodron has specialized in spiritual palliative care at Karuna Hospice in Brisbane for many years.

This residential retreat will be held at Fairbridge in Pinjarra just a short drive south of Perth. The retreat is being organized by the Hospice of Mother Tara, a sister group to Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, based in Bunbury.

Life is short and it may be for some of us that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience in-depth teachings in a peaceful atmosphere (such as at Fairbridge).

Such a meaningful way to spend six days.

View the official poster for this event (PDF)

Please email Hospice of Mother Tara at welcome@hmt.org.au to get your Application Form.


Exciting Times for The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Inc.

Exciting Times for The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Inc.

Dear Friend of The Pure Land,

I hope that, in amongst the busy-ness of this time of year, that you find this news item!

My sincere thanks to you for your ongoing support. It means a lot to us to know that you are interested in this project to create a peaceful and virtuous place where one can focus on the spiritual and emotional aspects during the last weeks of life.

As you will see from the report below, we have had a very good year and achieved some important milestones.

There are of course more hurdles to jump and at the bottom of the report are listed some areas where we need specific help.

Please keep an eye out for announcements on the training courses we plan to run in 2019, in preparation for the opening of the facility in 2020.

Kind Regards,

Len Warren, Chairperson, The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Incorporated.

Report on 2018:

March

The Pure Land became an independent Study Group of the international organization, FPMT, which has 160 Centres, Study Groups and Projects around the world. The Pure Land is now a separate entity from its parent, Hayagriva Buddhist Centre. We are grateful for Hayagriva’s support in this process.

April

Anita and Len, representing The Pure Land, met with the Spiritual Director of the FPMT, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, in Bendigo. Rinpoche’s positive response gave us great encouragement. We felt blessed!

May-June

A private home was kindly offered as a possible site for the three-year Pilot Trial. It proved to be highly suitable. However, its availability from 2020 (when we plan to start operating) can not be assured at this stage. We may need to search for an alternative.

July

The Harp Concert, with harpist Shamarra de Tissera, was a huge success. Awareness of The Pure Land was extended to new people and places. We raised $3700. Also in July, the draft Constitution was adopted at a Special General Meeting of The Pure Land.

August

On 16 August, The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha Inc. was approved as an Incorporated Association in the State of WA. The Constitution was accepted without change. The Pure Land is now an independent legal entity.

September-October

The Pure Land received an Australian Business Number and a Tax File Number and opened a new bank account with Bendigo Bank.

November

From a presentation at the Dhammaloka Centre during the Rains Retreat, The Pure Land gained new ‘Friends of the Pure Land’ and a new Member. A video of the event was posted on the BSWA website. Also in November, plans to run basic training courses in 2019 for Pure Land volunteers were adopted.

Areas Where The Pure Land Needs Help

  1. Brand and logo
  2. Design and use of social media and website
  3. Fund raising
  4. Public relations and marketing in general

Also, The Pure Land Committee is seeking another committee member (currently we have six members)


Christmas Gifts for Those with Dementia

Christmas Gifts for Those with Dementia [1]

Recently, Alzheimer’s WA published a wonderful article about selecting appropriate Christmas gifts for someone with dementia. It seems to me that these gifts would also be suitable for someone who is dying, perhaps mostly sleeping, finding it difficult to concentrate and not able to communicate well anymore. See what you think.

There is much discussion in the community – and in my family – about the commercialisation of Christmas. Some worry that Christmas draws you into its vortex and you end up spending far more that you planned. Others worry that the oversupply of gifts simply contributes to unsustainability and landfill.

These are not easy considerations, as they are usually weighed against the fact that gift giving is one of the great Christmas traditions, one of the key ways we celebrate those we love at this festive time. It is at this time we are reminded of the old proverb that it is better to give than to receive.

Christmas can also be a time where people feel disconnected, lonely and isolated. What gift is of value to these individuals?

I’d like to throw out my usual Christmas challenge to you, and ask you to consider the gifts you can give that are entirely sustainable and bank account friendly. While these gifts have value and meaning for everyone, they have special meaning for those living with dementia.

Read more on Christmas Gifts for Those with Dementia

[1] Contents of this page prepared by Len Warren of The Pure Land of the Indestructible Buddha, Inc., Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, 64 Banksia Terrace, Kensington 6151 Western Australia, Dec 2018. Selected from Alzheimer’s WA e-News of December 2018.