using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2010
69 fall 2 01 0 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly The opening line of the pamphlet was straightfor- ward: Join us in a workshop where you will expe- rience your own death. Six months prior, I would have thought it an interesting exercise. But having received a diagnosis of “aggressive prostate cancer,” it had the relevance of a guidebook for an upcoming trip. “I’m going to the Santa Cruz Mountains for ten days,” I said to Wendy, my wife. “Want to come?” “And do what?” “Attend a workshop.” “On what?” “Dying.” I don’t remember her exact words, but I sent in a reser- vation for one. Three weeks later in the meditation hall at the Vajrapani Institute for Wisdom Culture, I was among more than a hundred people waiting to hear the words of the revered teacher. Monks and nuns silently peered toward the blue double doors as other people talked or looked out the windows, like excited children on the last day of school. In the distance we saw him. Some started whispering and point- ing, but the monks and nuns bowed deeply toward the closed doors and waited. Eventually they opened and the Venerable Ribur Rinpoche entered, supported by his devoted interpreter, Fabrizio Pallotti, and a Tibetan assistant. A maroon robe cocooned the seventy-eight-year-old. He wore his black Reeboks without socks and the shoes squeaked as he slid each foot. After ten years in a Chinese prison, he couldn’t walk without help. His curved spine and knees made him appear as if he were preparing to jump, and he could look up to see faces only if he bent his neck at a painful angle, which he did continuously. Earlier, I had found a space off to one side and immediately in front of the teaching platform. Through the haze of incense I saw that Rinpoche’s bent body, from the floor to the top of his closely cropped head, was no taller than a seven-year-old. Most beguiling was his toothless smile. He stopped on the way to the platform in front of a woman wearing a red headscarf who appeared to be in her early sixties. Rinpoche drew her close, placed his hands on her head, and spoke softly to her in Tibetan, waiting after each phrase for Fabrizio to translate and for her to nod before continuing. When Ribur Rinpoche reached the platform, Fabrizio and the assistant each cradled a thigh and pushed him up as if he were a young child learning how to climb stairs. At the top, they gently lowered him onto a golden pillow. Once his shoes were removed, he rotated forward into a lotus position. After his breathing quieted, he looked at each participant, beginning on his far right and slowly moving left. I watched people react as his eyes met theirs. It was as if a wave of joy was spreading across the room. Finally, looking at me, he said something in Tibetan. I waited for Fabrizio to translate, but he didn’t say anything. They looked at each other, then at me. Rinpoche closed his eyes and sat motionless for a few minutes. Then, opening them, he spoke to the audience through Fabrizio. What Makes You Think You’ll Live Forever? Stan Goldberg gains sobering insights into death and his own insecurities during a retreat with Ribur Rinpoche. Stan GoldberG is a professor emeritus of communicative disorders at San Francisco State University and the author of six books. His latest is Lessons for the Living: Stories of Forgiveness, Gratitude, and Courage at the End of Life. IllustRatIon Kim Scafuro