In the Presence of Dying.Self Paced

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Facing realities of dying, death and grief are central to our human experience.

This series offers Buddhist reflections on dying, loss, grief, illness and pandemics.  It includes classes on Buddhism and Dying from the point of view of experts in diverse fields such as caregiving, hospice, buddhist ministry, Tibetan Buddhist history and past-life research. It also includes a training in Buddhist funerary practices, known as Zhitro, led by Pema Khandro.

Classes led by Pema Khandro, Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Chagdud Khandro, Julie Rogers, Jim Tucker, Koshin Paley Ellison, Dr. Bill McGrath


Pema Khandro

Chagdud Khandro

Koshi Paley Ellison

Dr. Jim Tucker

Shugyen Roshi

Julie Rogers

Dr. Bill McGrath


Buddhist Wisdom for Death and Dying: Interview & Lecture Series

  • Chagdud Rinpoche in conversation with Pema Khandro
  • Dr. Jim Tucker in conversation with Pema Khandro
  • Shugen Roshi in conversation with Pema Khandro
  • Julie Rogers in conversation with Pema Khandro
  • Koshin Paley Ellison in conversation with Pema Khandro
  • Dr. William McGrath: Buddhist Responses to Widespread Diseases in Tibet

 Instructions and Explanation on the Six Bardos: Part One

  • Introduction: The Story of Mandarava
  • The Bardo of Dying
  • The Bardo of Clear Light
  • The Bardo of Becoming 

Instructions and Explanation of the Six Bardos: Part Two

  • The Bardo of Existence
  • The Bardo of Dreaming
  • The Bardo of Meditation

Introduction to the Zhitro – Tibetan Buddhist Funerary Practice

  • Overview of the Teachings, Lineage and Source Text
  • Lung (Oral Transmission) of the Zhitro Practice
  • Explanation of the Zhitro
  • Guided Zhitro Practice


Pema Khandro is a teacher and scholar of Buddhist philosophy. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia. Pema Khandro is  the founder of Ngakpa International and its three projects, The Buddhist Studies Institute, Dakini Mountain and the Yogic Medicine Institute. She is an authorized Lama and lineage holder of the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions and was enthroned as a tulku to carry on the lineage of her predecessor, the first Pema Khandro, an early twentieth century yogini in Eastern Tibet. 

Chagdud Khandro is the spiritual director of Chagdud Gonpa in Brazil. She was ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist teacher in 1997, by Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche—a great master of the Nyingma school.   Khadro and Chagdud Tulku were married in 1979. She remained his devoted student for twenty-three years. She has taught the meditation of Phowa, transference of consciousness at
the moment of death, since 1986.


Jim Tucker, M.D. is Bonner-Lowry Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia. He is Director of the UVA Division of Perceptual Studies, where he is continuing the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson with children who report memories of previous lives.  A board-certified child psychiatrist, Dr. Tucker worked with Dr. Stevenson for several years before taking over the research upon Dr. Stevenson’s retirement in 2002.



Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi is the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order, abbot and resident teacher of Zen Mountain Monastery. Shugen entered full-time residential training in 1986 after studying mathematics and receiving a degree in classical music. He received dharma transmission from John Daido Loori, Roshi in 1997. His teachings on Zen, social justice and environmental stewardship have appeared in various Buddhist journals.



Julie Rogers has been a student of Ven. Gyatrul Rinpoche since 1983. She is the author of TLC’s end of life manual ‘Instructions for the Transitional State’, published in 2007 ( Julie received hospice and bereavement training at Ashland Hospital in Oregon where she volunteered for two years, and was employed as a caregiver for elders and developmentally disabled adults for over twenty years.



Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison is an author, Zen teacher, Jungian psychotherapist, and ACPE Certified Chaplaincy Educator. After more than a decade as a chaplain and psychotherapist, Koshin co-founded the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.The non-profit center offers contemplative approaches to care through education, carepartnering, and Zen practice.




William McGrath M.D. is the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at New York University. His research interests include Buddhism in East and Central Asia, Tibetan and Chinese medical traditions, Tibetan language and history, and the intersections of religion and medicine. He recently edited a volume entitled Knowledge and Context in Tibetan Medicine.




Special Thanks to our producers of this program at the Buddhist Studies Institute: Pema Khandro, De’dzin Drolma, FaJun Real and Satya Shiva.