Bardo Group

In the Buddhist tradition, the process of death is considered to be one of the most important periods in a life. Rokpa Bardo is a group of Sangha members of the Cape Town Samye Dzong  formed to assist the dying and their families; to learn about the processes of death – both spiritual and practical, and to provide a service of assistance and education to others, particularly members of the Sangha. Their activities include organising:

  • educational events which are open to the public*;
  • 24hr vigils for the dead;
  • assistance with funeral/memorial services;
  • prayers and chants for the ill, the dying and the dead.

*These educational events have included talks by experts in their fields on :

  • Beliefs & practices around death and dying from different perspectives such as Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish and African Traditional.
  • Phowa – Transference of Consciousness;
  • How the coma state resembles the last moments of life and how we can communicate with and be with a person in this state?
  • Death preparedness; What occurs at the moment of death; Supporting the dying; What you can do to put your life in order; Wills and Wishes; Living Wills; Organ Donation; Laying of Mandalas; Handling the body.

We have initiated an Amitabha Buddha Shrineroom Fund, produced Bardo Kits and published three booklets, namely :

  • ‘When a Buddhist Dies : Instructions and Prayers’;
  • ‘Objectives & Activities of Rokpa Bardo’,
  • ‘When I go – what I would like my family and friends to do when I die.’ (a booklet setting out personal preferences and requirements around death)

Rokpa Bardo meets regularly at the Cape Town Samye Dzong and these meetings are open to anyone interested in the subject of death and dying.

To learn more about Departure Planning, which encompasses more than Estate Planning in that it recognises that there is also a Psycho-social and Environmental component to consider ~ please download What is Departure Planning

For further information please contact: capetown@kagyu.org.za

Items for Sale

The Ven. Akong Rinpoche gave Rokpa Bardo instructions about how to care for the dead. These instructions, along with the necessary artefacts, have been assembled in a kit (the Bardo Kit) for use by Sangha members at the death of family and friends.

1. Bardo Kit: The items below are contained in an A4 plastic studded envelope :

  • 6 Yantra mandalas, hand-painted with saffron (see example at top of page);
  • A picture of Amitabha Buddha;
  • Instructions for placing the abovementioned items on the body and coffin;
  • One Bardo Thodol CD (or audiotape);
  • Two publications : ‘When a Buddhist Dies – Prayers and Instructions’ & ‘When I go – what I would like my family and friends to do when I die’ (a booklet setting our personal preference and requirements around death)

2. Shroud: Made of pure cotton, hand-dyed in saffron. It may be used to wrap the body prior to placing in the coffin or simply draped over the body in the coffin.

3. Bardo Thodol CD: for playing before, during or after the dying process. This recording features Vajrayana chanting by the Very Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche and the monks of his monastery. The playing of this CD is considered very auspicious and can be dedicated to anyone who has died even if some time has elapsed.

The costs of these items are : Kit – R300; Shroud – R200; CD or audiotape – R100.
Costs include VAT but exclude postage, packing, shipping and banking charges.

All income derived from sales or donations goes towards the building of an air-conditioned
Amitabha Buddha Shrineroom to serve the Sangha in Cape Town, and its surrounds.
For further information and orders please contact : capetown@kagyu.org.za

To Die With Presence – Workshop

In one of his last teachings, Akong Rinpoche instructed his students to always reflect on the impermanence of life and to remember that when death comes there can be no holding back. To that end, the Bardo group invites you to join them for a morning of reflection and planning, as they introduce the “When I go” booklet.

This booklet was designed to help planning the practicalities of our departure, so as to make it easier to communicate our wishes to our loved ones. As practitioners, it is important for us to die with as much calm and presence of mind as possible. The knowledge that we have seen to these practicalities means that we can focus on our practice when the time comes.

Where: Cape Town Samye Dzong, 6 Morgenrood Road, Kenilworth

When: 22 July, 10h00-13h00

Cost: R150 (non-members) / R100 (members)

Price includes both the “When I go” booklet and the “Bardo guidelines” booklet.  

Living Dreaming Dying support and practice group

The group meets every 6 weeks on a Saturday @ 11.15 am to 12.4 5pm.

Next dates:  17 Jun, 15, Jul, 19 Aug, 16 Sept,  21 Oct, 18 Nov

ALL WELCOME! The group is based on the Living Dreaming Dying book by Rob Nairn.Using the book as a reference we aim to support practical steps in long term mind training in relation to how we train the mind in day-to-day life, our experience of dreaming for the cultivation of insight and awareness as well as understanding the dying process and its opportunity for enlightenment.

Hosted by the Cape Town Bardo Group these study sessions will deepen your knowledge and integrate the wisdom of these teachings into day to day life.

Facilitated by David Tyfield & Pam Bishop

Enquiries to: David 082 412 7781 david tyfield <davetyfield@gmail.com>
Pam on 078 6198346 pambishop@telkomsa.net