​Opening The Presence of Loss & Death: An Experiential-Contemplative Workshop

Brad Hunter, B.A., CHT is a Buddhist Chaplain and meditation teacher.  His 50-year meditation practice has been a parallel path to his work around death, dying, & bereavement—from cemeteries and crematoria, to grief and trauma counselling and therapy, to hospice work and support groups. Brad also taught courses in grief and trauma for a number of years at King’s University’s Thanatology program.

Timings

  • Introductory Dharma Talk by Brad Hunter on Monday, June 6, 2022 from 7:30pm-9:00pm (Aired on Zoom and In-Person at the Chan Center)
  • Two Part Workshop on Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12
    • Timings: 9am – 11:30am, 11:30am – 12:00pm (Lunch Break), 12:00pm-1:00pm (Aired on Zoom Only)

Description

​Carl Jung said that he never had a patient (client) over 40 whose root psychological struggle was not death itself.  Death educator, Robert Kastenbaum (1992) states: ‘The fear of death is not to be explained away as a superficial and disguised representation of a ‘deeper’ conflict.  Quite the opposite!  Anxiety—all anxiety—is rooted in the awareness of our mortality.  The consequences are enormous, and reveal themselves in virtually every aspect of individual and cultural life.’
​Death anxiety presents both a challenge and an opportunity for all of us, not to solve the mysteries, but rather, to reconnect to Mystery and Awe, to transform our own sense of being-in-the-world while assisting in the healing of others as well.

​Rilke wrote that ‘Love and Death are both gifts.  Mostly we pass them on—unopened.’  Over 2500 years ago, the Buddha said, ‘Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme.  Of all the meditations, meditation on death is supreme.’

​In this workshop-retreat, we will be swimming against the current of busy-ness, distraction and acquisition, while turning our gaze directly towards the Great Matter of Birth and Death.

​By employing teachings and practices from Buddhism, we will investigate some of the deepest existential questions in order to (eventually) reduce death anxiety and the chances of the inevitable pain of grief becoming an endless cycle of suffering :

​·        What is it about Death that is most frightening?

​·        What is the nature of the ‘self’ that fears?

​·        What happens when we let go of clinging to beliefs and abstractions?

​·        How do we live a life of joy, love and wonder without Death Denial?

​·        What begins to be revealed when looking deeply into impermanence?

​·        What do we really have now that could be lost?

​·        Where can find refuge from all of this?

​·        Is Attachment Theory really in conflict with Buddhist non-attachment?

​·        What is the essential role of compassion and how can we apply it?