Living And Dying With Peace And Joy with Tulku Thondup

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Many of us are assisting aging parents through their final years, or have recently shepherded them through the dying process. The prospect of our own transition is no longer a vague notion too far distant to be of much concern. While our western culture tends to pay as little attention to death as possible, in the Buddhist tradition it is embraced and demystified. Tulku Thondup says that we are much more in charge of what happens than we might imagine, "When you die habits that you have created in your mind will regulate what will happen for you. If you are a very angry person throughout your life, after death the anger will manifest into an unhealthy environment for you. If you are a kind, helpful person, then the whole situation will arise into [what] we call a Buddha paradise. We should be happy about that. It is not somebody else's judgment, but our own choice." The wisdom he offers in this dialogue, and the peace that comes through his gentle words, lead us to a greater understanding of our own death, and helps us ease the way for those who walk the path before us. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Tulku Thondup was born in Tibet and studied at the famed Dodrupchen Monastery. After teaching for many years at universities in India, in 1980 he traveled to the United States to sit as a visiting scholar at Harvard University. He remains in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has written extensively on the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

His books include: 

  • The HealingPower of the Mind (Shambhala 1996)
  • Boundless Healing: Meditation Exercises to Enlighten the Mind and Heal the Body (Shambhala 2000)
  • Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth: A Tibetan Buddhist Guidebook (Shambhala 2005)

To learn more about the work of Tulku Thondup go to

Topics Explored in this Dialogue:

  • What you can do now to enhance the quality of your life after death
  • Why the principles and philosophy of Buddhism are relevant to today's world
  • How you can bring peace to your every word and every action
  • What you can do to help a loved one find peace after death
  • What those who have died and returned tell us about the experience
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 1/11/2006      Program Number: 3129