Death Doula Ministerial Program

There is only one certainty about life, which is that it will end in death. We all will face death, but in our culture there is little support or knowledge about what happens during the process of dying, or how to have a blessed and auspicious death.
Few people are aware that death can be something to look forward to as a precious opportunity for spiritual liberation, or at least a good rebirth. Let's change that!

About the Program

Graphic of Buddha

This ministerial training specializes in preparing you for your own death, as well as for guiding others though dying, death, and the interim state, according to the teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Vajrayana Buddhism has, as a primary goal, "how to die professionally". Being able to remain in meditation at the time of death is the specialty of this tradition. There are many precious teachings on practices for death and dying that have been carefully preserved and passed down through many generations.

Cultivation of Compassion

The most important factor in facing our own death, and helping others during their transition as well, is the cultivation of bodhichitta , the awakened mind of compassion. Specific prayers, meditations, and practices for the cultivation of compassion are emphasized in this course.

The state of our world may bring many deaths in the coming years, and there could be no greater service of compassion than helping those who are passing away.

Interfaith Ministry

Although based on the wisdom teachings of the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, it is designed to be an interfaith ministry to help and support all beings, humans and animals, during the dying process. It can also be taken for the main purpose of preparing for one's own death.

Why this Program –These Degenerate Times

As predicted by masters of the past, in this time of degeneration of the dharma (truth), there are many inauthentic teachings and paths that may not serve you well at the crucial moment of death.

Being connected with a genuine lineage consisting of many generations of realized practitioners who have been able to maintain meditative awareness through the passage of death and beyond is the best guarantee that you will be able to do the same when you die.

Buddha Mind Beyond Death

The power of this lineage has been documented countless times over hundreds of years, as yogis who sit in meditation after passing. They remain in a state called tukdam, in which the body is biologically dead but consciousness continues.

Tuk means ‘Buddha-mind,’ and dam means ‘one with.’ So tukdam means absorption in the Buddha-mind. Tukdam starts when death occurs, and remains for some time— for a few days, up to a week or two after biological death.

Strengthening your own meditation practice in preparation for your own death will remove anxiety and fear, instill confidence, and will also give you greater capacity to guide others as you enter the blessing stream of the enlightened ones.

Please watch the introductory presentation to the left to learn more about our program.


The the only requirements for admission into this program is a belief in the law of karma cause and effect, reincarnation, and the willingness to work on one's own spiritual practice.

Practice requirement during the program is minimum of an hour spiritual practice every day which consists of prayer, meditation, and offering/purification practices.


Death Doula Ministry is an outreach ministry of Home Temple. Tuition is $600 for the six month ministerial program, and sliding scale is available according to what you can afford. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Suggested Reading

We suggest you read our main textbook, Living is Dying by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche, before applying to the program. It is available as a  free download here.

Golden statue of The Buddha


A new cohort will start in 2024. Please contact us with questions, or to request an application.


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Painting of Avalokiteshvara