Cover image for Sacred passage : how to provide fearless, compassionate care for the dying
Sacred passage : how to provide fearless, compassionate care for the dying
Coberly, Margaret.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Shambhala : Distributed in the U.S. by Random House, 2002.
Physical Description:
xii, 162 pages ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
R726.8 .C626 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Offers advice on meeting the needs of the dying, looks at healthcare's view of death, and explains Tibetan Buddhism's approach to dying.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Health professionals are often sadly lacking in the training needed to deal with bereavement. A nurse who's worked in trauma centers and hospice settings for more than 35 years, Coberly was already an R.N. when her brother was diagnosed with cancer, from which he died, but she had had little helpful experience in relationships with terminally ill patients. Subsequently, Coberly learned about Tibetan Buddhism's view of death: it is not something to be feared but a perfectly natural happening, ordained to all of us. Coberly well addresses three topics: Western healthcare's view of death, Tibetan Buddhism's approach to dying, and advice for people who care for the terminally ill, both professionals and family members. She offers concrete recommendations for dealing with the dying, including what not to do or say, citing numerous examples based on her years of nursing experience. Also included is an extensive list of recommended readings. Recommended for public and academic libraries, and as a gift for anyone who may be in contact with a terminally ill friend, relative, or patient. Mary Prokop, Savannah Cty. Day Preparatory Sch., GA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
Part 1 Death in Western Health Care
1 The Problem of Death Denialp. 11
The Prevailing Medical Paradigmp. 16
Nursing School and Death Denialp. 19
Emergency Room Practicep. 22
Death Denial in the Communityp. 24
2 A Broader View of Healingp. 29
Kubler-Ross and the Plight of the Dyingp. 30
Palliative Care and Healingp. 32
Healing and the Power of the Mindp. 35
Reflecting on Deathp. 38
3 Awakening to Impermanence and Facing Deathp. 45
Death's Scythep. 50
Questioning Assumptionsp. 58
Part 2 Resources from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition
4 Ceaseless Transformationp. 65
Dependent Origination: The Truth of Impermanencep. 66
Karma: Form and Shadow Remain Linkedp. 68
Ordinary Mind: The Worlds We Find Ourselves Inp. 70
Enlightened Mind: The Light Withinp. 71
Rebirth: The Realms of Cyclic Existencep. 72
The Tibetan Book of the Dead: An Instruction Manualp. 74
5 The Eight Stages of Dissolutionp. 79
Stage 1 Earth Dissolves into Water (Mirage)p. 82
Stage 2 Water Dissolves into Fire (Smoke)p. 84
Stage 3 Fire Dissolves into Wind (Fireflies)p. 86
Stage 4 Wind Dissolves into Space (Flame)p. 87
Stage 5 Ordinary Mind States Dissolve (White Flash)p. 88
Stage 6-8 Subtle Mind States Dissolve (Red Flash, Black Flash, Clear Light)p. 89
The Tibetan Art of Death: Two Lamasp. 92
Summary Table of the Eight Stages of Dissolutionp. 94
Part 3 Practical Applications for Care Providers
6 Tibetan Buddhist Practice and the Dying Trajectoryp. 101
The Tibetan Buddhist Death Meditationp. 103
Hearing the Diagnosis: Death Is Certainp. 106
What Do I Say? Time of Death Is Uncertainp. 109
Focusing: At Death Only the Condition of the Mind Has Valuep. 112
7 Developing a Transpersonal Stance in Care of the Dyingp. 115
Presence, Not Pretensep. 117
Promoting Peace in Relationships: Forgivenessp. 119
Ensuring Peace at the End: Sacred Passagep. 121
Notesp. 125
Recommended Readingsp. 143