Frank Ostaseski has dedicated his life to helping others. He is co-founder of the Zen Hospice Project and founder of the Metta Institute. Frank is a Buddhist teacher, international lecturer and expert on the end-of-life experience. His work spans from helping the homeless to the wealthy to the young and to the elderly have an easier transition to the other side. Frank loves what he does because of how “real” the experience of death is. His new book is The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully.
How did Frank begin helping people with the experience of death? It was not a linear path. Frank had experiences with death early on in his life with the passing of his parents. He later was introduced to the Buddhist practice with the central tenet of Buddhism being the study of constant change. When his son was born he felt it was important to “birth his soul”. He went to a program where everyone was grieving and learning about the loss of a soul. Frank on the other hand, wanted to learn how to gain a soul for his son. He didn’t find much help with that, however the leader of the program invited him back to see first hand what experiencing death was like. He later visited Central America working in refugee camps where he saw a lot of misery and death. He then went to San Francisco when the aids epidemic was running rampant on the streets. Each experience kept pulling him in a little more and more and every death he witnesses continues to show him how precious and precarious life is.
Frank’s five invitations, outlined in his book, have become his road map and guidelines for life: don’t wait, welcome everything and push away nothing, bring your whole self to the experience, find a place of rest in the middle of things, and cultivate don’t know mind.
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