Tues 8 May talk – Prof Michel Mohr – ‘Death and Dying’

On Tuesday 8 May at 4pm, Professor Michel Mohr from the Department of Religion at the University of Hawaii will give a public lecture at the International Buddhist Academy at Tinchuli on the topic of ‘Death and Dying’. The talk will be in English and all are welcome. Professor Mohr has provided an abstract of the talk below:

“Although death may evoke grim images and is shunned by many, having a fresh look at this topic entails several benefits. Thus, I suggest that we first examine the merit of addressing this issue for various audiences and in various contexts. In the class on “Death and Dying” taught at the University of Hawaii since 2009, I have endeavoured to examine this question from the perspective of the dying individual, and to widen our perception of death by scrutinizing it from a viewpoint that questions its common understanding as the conclusion of life. We also need to take into account the fact that ideas about death tend to be largely culturally determined.

The Tibetan Buddhist tradition provides one of the most thorough set of resources, to the extent that scholars have identified its contribution as a traditional “science of death.” Drawing on these resources, one can begin to envision death as a transition, and to take into account the validity of near-death experiences (NDEs). These NDEs constitute evidence challenging materialist assumptions that exclusively construct death as the cessation of vital functions.

This will lead to a broader discussion about whether we can reconcile the medical definitions of death with approaches found in traditional religious traditions, those of Tibet in particular. I will suggest to adopt a “two-tiered” definition of death, which accommodates both perspectives, while acknowledging their reliance on completely different sets of tools. Further, we can also envision death as the foundation stone of new ethics. In other words, scrutinizing this undeniable occurrence in life can contribute to overcoming distinctions between languages, time, space, and religious beliefs.”Professor Michel Mohr

IBA welcomes everyone to the free talk which goes from 4pm to 5.30pm on Tues 8 May and includes time for questions. For any enquiries, please email IBA at: ibanepal888@gmail.com