The Art of Dying and Living: An Exploration of Life, Death & the Afterlife
Anthony Bossis, Grandmother Maria Alice Campos, Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, Deepak Chopra, Terri Daniel, Henry Fersko-Weiss, Matthew Fox, Joan Halifax, Andrew Holecek, Richard Martini, Frank Ostaseski, Paulo Roberto Silva e Souza, Therese Schroeder-Sheker, Jai Dev Singh, Robert Thurman, Marianne Williamson, and Alberto Villoldo
March 23-26, 2023
It is our pleasure to invite you to join us in Tibet House US’ 2023 online conference and practice retreat, The Art of Dying and Living. This conference is a new incarnation of a powerfully transformative series of events we launched with the New York Open Center 20+ years ago, which introduced thousands to the profound exploration of the realities of death and dying as the doorway to living ever more vibrantly in the precious moments of life. Last year over a thousand people joined us for this interactive online conference, and we anticipate even greater turnout this year.
In these turbulent times, when we are all confronted by social violence, an epidemic of suicides, overdoses, war, famine, immigrants falling by the wayside fleeing unlivable countries, and the ever increasing series of natural disasters, it is highly fortunate to draw on worldwide wisdom cultures to learn more about death and dying with a view to enhancing our living and thriving and reaching out to others facing loss of life, loss of loved ones, and the sheer scale of planetary dangers.
Over these four days online together, you will hear from the following leading speakers: Anthony Bossis, Grandmother Maria Alice Campos, Deepak Chopra, Terri Daniel, Henry Fersko-Weiss, Matthew Fox, Joan Halifax, Andrew Holecek, Richard Martini, BJ Miller, Frank Ostaseski, Paulo Roberto Silva e Souza, Therese Schroeder-Sheker, Robert Thurman, and Alberto Villoldo. These renowned presenters will share visions and teachings and lead practices drawn from spiritual wisdom, scientific insight, and time-tested experiential methods of dealing with death and dying that immeasurably enrich the lives of those facing death, as well as those facing bereavement.
We will explore ancient and modern understandings of the art of dying and living through the lenses of different spiritual traditions, including Tibetan and Zen Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, and Shamanic. Study the nature of death as part of life. Teachings and practices will be woven throughout the conference to help us contemplate our own life and death more fully. Experts from the field of care giving and bereavement will bring support to those who are caring for those at the end of life or grieving for a loved one.
We will explore the relevance of psychedelics to our understanding of death and dying as well as rituals at the time of death and immediately after death, including sky burial, green burial, and cremation. We will learn about different modalities now increasingly being employed to improve the experience of dying, from meditation and bardo yogas to sound healing and the sacred use of psychedelics, and we will even discuss highly controversial topics such as euthanasia and the recent Tibetan tradition of body-immolation.
Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine and an adjunct professor of religious studies at the University of Ottawa. For over fifteen years, he has conducted FDA-approved clinical research with the psychedelic compound psilocybin. Dr. Bossis was director of palliative care research and co-principal investigator on the 2016 clinical trial demonstrating a significant reduction in psycho-spiritual and existential distress from a single psilocybin session in persons with cancer or near the end of life, specifically, a rapid decrease in depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and demoralization, along with improvements in spiritual well-being. Subjective features of a mystical experience include unity, sacredness, transcendence, ineffability, and a greater connection to deeply felt emotions, including love. He is the study director and lead therapist on a study investigating a psychedelic experience with religious leaders. Dr. Bossis is a training supervisor of psychotherapy at NYU-Bellevue Hospital and co-founder of the Bellevue Hospital Palliative Care Service. He is on the faculty of The Center for Psychedelic Therapies and Research at the California Institute of Integral Studies. His primary psychedelic research interests are the treatment of end-of-life existential distress and advancing our understanding of consciousness, meaning, and spirituality. Dr. Bossis is on the editorial board of the Journal of Humanistic Psychology and a guest editor for the journal’s Special Series on Psychedelics. He maintains a private psychotherapy and consulting practice in NYC.
Maria Alice Campos Freire
Maria Alice Campos Freire was born in the state of Rio de Janeiro/ Brazil. She has two daughters, four grandchildren and one great grandchild. Since she was a child she manifested great affinity with the plants and the enchanted beings of the nature. She became a professional in Education and dedicated herself to education in communities in social need, and to the recovering of the cultural approach in the reconstruction of the life quality of these peoples. Her mission brought her to travel across the world; she lived in Chile, Europe and Africa. In the African Continent she reencountered her ancestral routs and was called to the research of the healing power of the plant kingdom. Coming back to Brazil in 1979 she met her spiritual path in the Umbanda, which is a spiritual line that integrates American indigenous, African and Christian Traditions. Continuing to follow the footprint of her ancestors and their spiritual guidance, she was brought to the Amazon, with the purpose of deepening her initiation with the traditional sacred beverage of the Amazonian Original Peoples. She lived for 23 years in the deep inside of the jungle; in a spiritual Community called Céu do Mapiá, where she worked in the integration of the Santo Daime and the Umbanda lines. She developed a remarkable work as a healer, a social entrepreneur and an educator. She was one of the founders and became the president of the Center of the Forest Medicine (Centro Medicina da Floresta) – a non-profit organization dedicated to the research of traditional knowledge on the healing power of the Amazonian plants, to the education and training of the youth, to the preservation of nature, and to the spiritual and material assistance of sick people. She was the researcher and co-creator of the Flower Essences System “Florais da Amazonia”; and she has been working with them internationally in courses and healings. She is a member of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers – a forum of grandmothers from the four directions of the planet who, since 2004, walk the world planting the seed of Peace and claiming for the preservation of Mother Nature and the original peoples’ ways and territories.
Maria Alice Campos Freire nasceu no estado do Rio de Janeiro/ Brasil. Ela tem duas filhas, quatro netos e uma bisneta. Desde criança manifestou grande afinidade com as plantas e os seres encantados da natureza. Profissionalizou-se em Educação e dedicou-se à educação em comunidades socialmente carentes e ao resgate da abordagem cultural na reconstrução da qualidade de vida desses povos. Sua missão a levou a viajar pelo mundo; viveu no Chile, na Europa e na África. No Continente Africano reencontrou as suas raízes ancestrais e recebeu o chamado para estudar o poder curativo do reino vegetal. Voltando ao Brasil em 1979, encontrou seu caminho espiritual na Umbanda, que é uma linha espiritual que integra tradições ameríndias, africanas e cristãs. Continuando a seguir a pegada de seus antepassados e sua orientação espiritual, foi trazida para a Amazônia, com o propósito de aprofundar sua iniciação com a tradicional bebida sagrada dos Povos Originários da Amazônia. Ela viveu por 23 anos nas profundezas da selva; numa Comunidade espiritualista chamada Céu do Mapiá, onde trabalhou na integração das linhas do Santo Daime e da Umbanda. Desenvolveu um trabalho significativo como curadora, empreendedora social e educadora. Foi uma das fundadoras e tornou-se presidente do Centro de Medicina da Floresta (Centro Medicina da Floresta) – entidade sem fins lucrativos dedicada à pesquisa do conhecimento tradicional sobre o poder curativo das plantas amazônicas, à educação e treinamento da juventude, à preservação da natureza, e à assistência espiritual e material dos enfermos. Foi pesquisadora e cocriadora do sistema de essências florais “Florais da Amazônia”; e tem trabalhado com este sistema internacionalmente em cursos e atendimentos. É membro do Conselho Internacional das Treze Avós Nativas – fórum de avós das quatro direções do planeta que, desde 2004, caminham pelo mundo plantando a semente da Paz e reivindicando a preservação da Mãe Natureza e da cultura e territórios dos povos originários.
Dr. Nida Chenagtsang
Dr. Nida was born in Amdo, in Eastern Tibet. Interested in the traditional healing science of his people, he began his early medical studies at the local Tibetan Medicine hospital. Later he gained scholarship entry to Lhasa Tibetan Medical University, where he completed his medical education in 1996. He completed his practical training at the Tibetan Medicine hospitals in Lhasa and Lhoka. Dr. Nida has published many articles and books on Sowa Rigpa (Traditional Tibetan Medicine). He has extensively researched ancient Tibetan healing methods, and has gained high acclaim in the East and West for his revival of traditional Tibetan external healing therapies.
He has published many articles and books on Sowa Riga and its spiritual counterpart, the Yuthok Nyingthig Vajrayana Buddhist tradition. His extensive research and revival of ancient Tibetan healing methods has gained him high acclaim in East and West. Dr. Nida is the Co-Founder and Medical Director of Sorig Khang International and Co-Founder of the International Ngakmang Institute, established to preserve and maintain the Rebkong Ngakpa yogic culture within modern Tibetan society. Dr. Nida trains students in Sowa Rigpa and the Yuthok Nyingthig spiritual tradition in over 40 countries around the world.
Fluent in English and known for his accessible and humorous style, Dr. Nida trains students in Sowa Rigpa and the Yuthok Nyingthig spiritual tradition in over 40 countries around the world.
To learn more about Dr. Nida Chenagtsang visit: www.iattm.net
DEEPAK CHOPRA™ MD, FACP, founder of The Chopra Foundation, a non-profit entity for research on well-being and humanitarianism, and Chopra Global, a modern-day health company at the intersection of science and spirituality, is a world-renowned pioneer in integrative medicine and personal transformation.
Chopra is a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego and serves as a senior scientist with Gallup Organization. He is the author of over 90 books translated into over forty-three languages, including numerous New York Times bestsellers. His 90th book and national bestseller, Metahuman: Unleashing Your Infinite Potential (Harmony Books), unlocks the secrets to moving beyond our present limitations to access a field of infinite possibilities.
For the last thirty years, Chopra has been at the forefront of the meditation revolution and his latest book, Total Meditation (Harmony Books, September 22, 2020) helps to achieve new dimensions of stress-free living and joyful living. TIME magazine has described Dr. Chopra as “one of the top 100 heroes and icons of the century.”
Dr. Terri Daniel is an interfaith hospice chaplain, end-of-life educator, and grief counselor certified in death, dying and bereavement by the Association of Death Education and Counseling and in trauma support by the International Association of Trauma Professionals. She conducts workshops throughout the U.S. and teaches at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.
Terri is the founder of The Conference on Death, Grief and Belief, and the Ask Doctor Death podcast. She is also the author of four books on death, grief and the afterlife.
Over the years Terri has helped hundreds of people learn to live, die and grieve more consciously. Her work is acclaimed by hospice professionals, spiritual seekers, therapists theologians, and academics worldwide.
She has a BA in Religious Studies from Marylhurst University, an MA in Pastoral Care from Fordham University, and a Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral Care and Counseling from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Henry Fersko-Weiss, LCSW is the co-founder and Executive Director of the International End of Life Doula Association (INELDA), a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to training and certifying end-of-life doulas and building programs in hospices and other care settings. In 2003, he created the first hospice-based end-of-life doula program in the United States, at a large New York City hospice. Since then, he has served as a doula to hundreds of dying people and their loved ones and trained thousands of doulas.
Fersko-Weiss’ work has been written about in many publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle. He has also been a presenter and keynote speaker at national and regional conferences in the healthcare, hospice, and funeral home industries.
In March 2017, Conari Press published his book: Caring for the Dying, The Doula Approach to a Meaningful Death, which was selected by the Library Journal as one of the five best health and medicine books of 2017. The book was republished in August 2020 under a new title: Finding Peace at the End of Life: A Death Doula’s Guide for Families and Caregivers
Matthew Fox is a spiritual theologian, an Episcopal priest and an activist for gender justice and eco-justice. He has written 37 books that have been translated into other languages over 70 times. Among them are Original Blessing, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, A Spirituality Named Compassion, The Reinvention of Work, The Hidden Spirituality of Men, Christian Mystics and The Pope’s War. He has contributed much to the rediscovery of Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas as pre-modern mystics and prophets. Fox holds a doctorate in the history and theology of spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris. The founder of the University of Creation Spirituality in California, he conducts dozens of workshops each year and is a visiting scholar at the Academy for the Love of Learning.
Roshi Joan Halifax, Ph.D. is a pioneer in the field of end-of-life care. She has lectured on the subject of death and dying at many academic institutions and medical centers around the world. She received a National Science Foundation Fellowship in Visual Anthropology, was an Honorary Research Fellow in Medical Ethnobotany at Harvard University, was a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress, received an Honorary DSc from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. She is Founder and Head Teacher at Uupaya Zen Center.
From 1972-1975, she worked with psychiatrist Stanislav Grof at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center with dying cancer patients. She has continued to work with dying people and their families, and to teach health care professionals and family caregivers the psycho- social, ethical and spiritual aspects of care of the dying. She is Director of the Project on Being with Dying, and Founder of the Upaya Prison Project that develops programs on meditation for prisoners. She is also founder of the Nomads Clinic in Nepal.
Her books include: The Human Encounter with Death (with Stanislav Grof); The Fruitful Darkness, A Journey Through Buddhist Practice; Simplicity in the Complex: A Buddhist Life in America; Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Wisdom in the Presence of Death; and Standing at the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet.
Andrew Holecek is an author, speaker, and humanitarian who offers seminars internationally on meditation, lucid dreaming, and the art of dying. He is the author of many books, including The Power and the Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship into Joy, and Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition.
Dr. Holecek is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the coauthor of scientific papers on lucid dreaming. His work has appeared in Psychology Today, Parabola, Lion’s Roar, Tricycle, Utne Reader, Buddhadharma Magazine, Light of Consciousness, and many other periodicals. He also hosts the popular Edge of Mind podcast, conversations with leading-edge thinkers in the fields of science, philosophy, spirituality, psychology, integral studies, and the arts.
Andrew is the founder of the international Night Club community, a support platform for the nocturnal meditations, and the co-founder of Global Dental Relief, which provides free oral health care to children in developing countries. He holds degrees in classical music, biology, and a doctorate in dental surgery. Learn more at andrewholecek.com.
Richard Martini is a best selling author and an award winning writer/director. His 8 books about the afterlife have all been #1 in their genre on Kindle. (“Flipside” “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife” Part One and Two, “Hacking the Afterlife” “Architecture of the Afterlife” “Backstage Pass to the Flipside” 1, 2 and 3. He's written and/or directed eight theatrical features ("Limit Up," "Cannes Man" "You Can't Hurry Love") curated historical content for “Salt” (Angelina Jolie) "Amelia" (Hilary Swank) was “Associate to Phillip Noyce” on “Salt.” His documentaries include “Journey into Tibet with Robert Thurman”, “Talking to Bill Paxton” (Gaia) and “Flipside” Amazon Prime. “Sister Cities – Chicago/Casablanca” was made for the U.S. State Dept. His latest book is TUNING INTO THE AFTERLIFE: his most recent documentary is HACKING THE AFTERLIFE
His documentary about the afterlife under hypnosis ("Flipside") was also a best seller (#1 in its kindle genre); his 8 books on the topic have all hit #1 in their genres. He’s had 10 appearances on “Coast to Coast with George Noory” and seven on the “Beyond Belief with George Noory” on Gaia. This first appearance was the 2nd highest rated show on the network. His three books with medium Jennifer Shaffer (“Backstage Pass to the Flipside”) have all been to #1 in their genre after his Coast to Coast appearances.
BJ Miller, MD, is an established thought leader in the area of serious illness, end-of-life issues and death. He has been a physician for 19 years and has counseled over 1,000 patients and family members. This vast experience has led him to understand what people really need when dealing with difficult health situations.
BJ has given over 100 talks, both nationally, and internationally, on themes of serious illness and dying, and has given over 100 media interviews, including podcasts, radio and print. His TED Talk, What Really Matters at the End of Life has been viewed over 11 million times. He also co-authored the book, A Beginner’s Guide to the End: Practical Advice for Living Life and Facing Death, which was published in 2019.
Frank Ostaseski is an internationally respected Buddhist teacher and visionary cofounder of the Zen Hospice Project, and founder of the Metta Institute. He has lectured at Harvard Medical School, the Mayo Clinic, leading corporations like Google and Apple Inc., and teaches at major spiritual centers around the globe. Frank is the 2018 recipient of the prestigious Humanities Award from the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
He has accompanied over 1000 people through the dying process and trained thousands of healthcare clinicians and family caregivers around the world.
His groundbreaking work has been featured on the Bill Moyers PBS series On Our Own Terms, highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and honored by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He is the author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.
Paulo Roberto Silva e Souza
Padrinho Paulo Roberto Silva e Souza is one of the foremost English speaking authorities on the psycho-spiritual work of Amazonian communities. Trained as a classical psychologist, he has a degree in psychology from the University Gama Filho in Rio de Janeiro. He first encountered Santo Daime in 1976. Working for the Brazilian government in Amazonia, he began his lifelong study of the psychological and spiritual effects plants of the rainforest have on communities of native people. In 1985, he played an important role working with the Brazilian government to ensure the protection and legalization of Santo Daime and its use of Ayahuasca as a religious sacrament.
In 1982 he became the head of the Céu do Mar church in Rio de Janeiro and continued to develop his work integrating the science of the mind with theology that spoke to the spirit. He has been especially influential in the early North American Santo Daime movement and the introduction of the Doctrine and ceremonies to many new cities across the continent (and dozens of other countries globally).
Since his first lecture at Harvard University about 20 years ago, Padrinho Paulo Roberto has been invited to universities and conferences around the world to share his knowledge of Christian-Spirituality and plant medicines. He recently presented at a Google Tech Talk on the threats to the ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest, speaking about the use of sacramental plants and spiritual teachings of the Yawanawa tribe and the Santo Daime communities in Brazil. He is also a keen advocate for the support and preservation of indigenous traditions and teachings.
Musician, clinician, educator and Benedictine oblate, Therese Schroeder-Sheker has been blessed with a dual life in classical music and palliative medicine.
She made her Carnegie Hall debut as a harpist and singer in 1980; composes and records for Celestial Harmonies, Windham Hill, Sony, Curve Blue and others; been the recipient of numerous awards, fellowships and grants; been featured in documentaries for ABC and NBC; delivered residencies, and plenaries at over sixty-five American and European universities; and publishes on women mystics, end-of-life palliative care, and music.
She founded the palliative medical modality of music-thanatology and its premiere organization The Chalice of Repose Project, housed in Mount Angel, Oregon, where she teaches, works with the dying, gardens and writes.
To learn more: www.chaliceofrepose.org
Jai Dev Singh
Jai Dev Singh is a yogi and internationally renowned teacher of Kundalini Yoga and Ayurveda. He is the founder and principal teacher of the Life-Force Academy—a global community for yogic teachings and practices with thousands of students in over 60 countries around the world, and the author of numerous courses on Kundalini Yoga and Ayurveda.
Jai Dev is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and served as the Clinical Director at the California College of Ayurveda, as well as the director of the college's Pancha Karma Center and Ayurvedic Spa.
Jai Dev is emerging as a preeminent voice in the yoga world. He travels all over the world sharing the ancient yogic teachings in a uniquely accessible way that is relevant to our times. He lives in northern California with his wife, Simrit Kaur, and their son.
Learn more about Jai Dev: www.JaiDevSingh.com
Robert Thurman is Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University as well as Co-Founder and President of Tibet House US | Menla in service of HH Dalai Lama & the people of Tibet.
A close friend of the Dalai Lama’s for over 50 years, he is a leading world-wide lecturer on Tibetan Buddhism, passionate activist for the plight of the Tibetan people, skilled translator of Buddhist texts, and inspiring writer of popular Buddhist books. His most recent book is Wisdom Is Bliss: Four Freindly Fun Facts That Can Change Your Life
In partnership with Nena Thurman and dedicated contributors, he now focuses on making Tibet House US and its Menla Retreat & Spa a global center for the promotion, study and practice of Tibetan Buddhist healing arts and sciences of body, mind, and spirit, dedicated as a complement to the vast life work of its patron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
To learn more: www.bobthurman.com.
Marianne Williamson is a bestselling author, political activist, and spiritual thought leader.
For over three decades Marianne has been a leader in spiritual and religiously progressive circles. She is the author of 14 books, four of which have been #1 New York Times bestsellers. A quote from the mega-bestseller A Return to Love, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” is considered an anthem for a contemporary generation of seekers.
Williamson founded Project Angel Food, a non-profit that has delivered more than 14 million meals to ill and dying homebound patients since 1989. The group was created to help people suffering from the ravages of HIV/AIDS. She has also worked throughout her career on poverty, anti-hunger and racial reconciliation issues. In 2004, she co-founded The Peace Alliance and supports the creation of a U.S. Department of Peace. She ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, and in 2021 she launched MarianneWilliamson.Substack.com.
Alberto Villoldo, Ph.D., is a psychologist and medical anthropologist who has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon and Andes for over 30 years.
At San Francisco State University, he directed the Biological Self-Regulation Laboratory to study how the mind creates psychosomatic health and disease. He is the founder of the Four Winds Society, an organization dedicated to bridging ancient shamanic traditions with modern medicine and psychology.
He is the author of more than 20 international bestsellers including Shaman, Healer, Sage, and Grow a New Body. He has been a visiting professor at San Francisco State University and Columbia University in New York.
The Art of Dying and Living Curriculum
- Robert A.F. Thurman: The Inner Science behind the Art of Dying | 11-12pm
- Panel Discussion: Intro to the 3 Death Bardos w/ Robert Thurman, Andrew Holecek, and Dr. Nida Chenagtsang | 2-3:30pm
- Andrew Holecek: Integral Dying: A Multi-perspective Approach to Helping Yourself and Others | 4:30-545pm
- Panel Discussion: Being with Dying as a Compassionate Companion w/ Joan Halifax and Frank Ostaseski | 7:30-8:45pm
- Alberto Villoldo: The Shaman’s Journey Beyond Death | 11-12pm
- Grandmother Maria Alice Campos: From Duality to Unity – Synthesis and Mystery | 2-3:15pm
- Paulo Roberto: Rebirth Experience | 4:30-5:45pm
- Anthony Bossis: Psychedelics and Mystical Experience: Implications for Psychospiritual and Existential Suffering at the End of Life | 7:30-9:00pm
- Marianne Williamson: Death is Not a Punishment | 11-12pm
- Henry Fersko-Weiss: Rituals At the Time of Death and Immediately After Death | 2-3:15pm
- Panel Discussion: Give me Liberty or Give Me Death: Ukrainian Heroes, Sikh Sacred Warriors, and Tibetan Buddhist Body-Offerers, as the Dying Alive w/ Robert Thurman and Jai Dev Singh | 4:30-5:30pm
- Jai Dev: Joy of the Infinite: Death as the Great Ally | 7:30-8:15pm
- Therese Schroeder-Sheker: Binding and Loosening -- Processes of Transfiguration | 8:45-9:45pm