The Clear Light Institute  
of Sukhasiddhi Foundation 

summer 2017

In the end these things matter most: 
How well did you love?  How fully did you live?  How deeply did you let go?

-Shakyamuni Buddha 



Amitabha Puja
May 31, 2017 
7-8:30 pm

Medicine Buddha Puja
 July 19, 2017 
7-8:30 pm 

Death Cafe
October 29, 2017
3-5 pm


Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

-Kahlil Gibran


DO YOU appreciate
the work of the Clear Light Institute? 
Donate Here


Compassionate Presence at the End of Life
  ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT experiences in my years as a nurse was to watch people die alone without someone to support them and ease their transition.  We celebrate the arrival of a new birth, but so often abandon those who face one of the most challenging and tender moments in life: their death. When we know someone is dying alone, we can meet their experience with our presence in a way that is meaningful for them. 
I had just arrived on a special care unit and was making my rounds when the charge nurse informed me that one of their patients was in an active dying stage long past what was anticipated. No family or friends had visited, although they had been informed of his condition. I offered to sit with him, which surprised his nurse. She gave me a report and I walked to his room.  

I found a thin pale man alone, lying motionless, non-responsive and with eyes closed.  The monitors revealed both low heart rate and blood pressure. Pulling up a chair, I sat next to him, introduced myself, and put my hand on his. I truly didn't know what I was going to say or do, but my years as a nurse taught me that letting go near death is often hard. Having the support and presence of another can ease this transition and I hoped to offer that to him. I shared with him what I knew about his condition and told him he was dying. He remained non-responsive, but a slight movement of his head in my direction suggested he was listening.  

Nearing death often brings up regrets and disappointments, a desire for forgiveness and closure, and a desire to reach out and express love as one prepares for a peaceful letting go.

I suggested he might be feeling some of these concerns and he could now imagine having those conversations with people in his life and feeling comforted by their response. I sat with him a while,  offering some reassuring words, including my wish that he would be able to let go into peace and love when he was ready. Later, the charge nurse called me dismayed that he had passed away twenty minutes after I left his bedside.

Among our best moments in a full life are when we feel heard, acknowledged, forgiven, appreciated and loved. Compassionate presence at the end of life supports living fully right through to the moment of death, even when the dying are non-responsive.

Documented  evidence supports that the non-responsive person does in fact hear us and benefits from our compassionate presence.

Finding meaning and acceptance in illness and death is not only healing, but is essentially spiritual. The Dalai Lama has often spoken of the special opportunity for transformation in the experience of death: 

From a Buddhist point of view, the actual experience of death is very important.  Although how or where we will be reborn is generally dependent on karmic forces, our state of mind at the time of death can influence the quality of our next rebirth....  so, at the moment of death, if we make a special effort to generate a virtuous state of mind, we may strengthen and activate a virtuous karma, and so bring about a happy rebirth.

To truly serve the dying, our approach must be inclusive and individualized.  A desire for a peaceful death is universal and cherished by all faiths. Supporting a peaceful state of mind at this tender time promotes a peaceful passing, which every dying person deserves.

In friendship,

Pat Berube

Amitabha Puja

Wednesday, May 31 
from 7 - 8:30 pm
at Sukhasiddhi Center 

AMITABHA is the buddha of our realm, and the embodiment of the transformation of desire and clinging into discerning wisdom. When we are faced with a terminal illness or a death of a loved one, it can be quite a challenge to find peace with what is happening. The dharma helps us to connect with the blessings, love and peace of our awakened heart. Amitabha practice helps us now while the time of death is uncertain, to establish a connection to awakened heart that as The Tibetan Book of the Dead teaches is a gateway to our awakening. Please join us in practicing this together for ourselves and for others who are dying or have died.

The Amitabha practice (puja) will done in English. Visualizations and guidance will be provided.

By donation.


Pat Berube, Director
Jennifer Dunn