Buddhist Master Teaches Fearless Death

This Planet Is A Hotel

No one should die in distress in the 21st Century, according to Buddhist master Tulku Lobsang Rinpoche.

Having witnessed passings in the West and his native Tibet, Rinpoche believes the end is "the most important thing in your life."

While many of his countrymen die bravely, he has seen unnecessary anxiety among other cultural groups.

"We believe our body can last about 100 years and then generally our job is finished," he said. "Secondly, we believe the planet is not our home. The planet is a hotel."

Rinpoche, the eight incarnation of the Nyentse Lama, who took his title at the age of 13, was on personal retreat in Austria when he paused for a YogaCity NYC interview with Ann Votaw. Born in 1976, the lama appeared youthful and smiley as he talked about his upcoming visit and one of the world's darkest topics.

Ann Votaw: Why are you interested in fearless death?

Rinpoche: A long time ago I went to Switzerland and saw a hospice where people were dying. There I discovered that many Westerners were not ready to die. This made me interested to talk more about death because mostly people come to fear death. They're afraid of losing all that they have. A second reason is they're going somewhere they don't know. That's the reason I try to talk about it.

Votaw: What was the hospice in Switzerland like?

Rinpoche: The people had one week or two weeks to live. Stressful. They were not ready. It is a really, really unacceptable situation in the 21st century with very educated people. They're born in a free country. Free thought. Free speech. All possibilities but they're not ready, and therefore, that makes me interested to talk so much about fearless death, yes? [laughing]

Votaw: Yes. Do you know anyone who has had a fearless death?

Rinpoche: Many Tibetans, not only masters, just normal people, they are much less afraid to die. I don't know if they have 100% no fear, but they're really less fearful. More ready. More calm. More peaceful. They live with whole families and see dying people and suffering loved