Spiritual Foundations of BHT

The Spiritual Foundations of the Buddhist Hospice Trust

The Buddhist Hospice Trust is a voluntary and autonomous association of Buddhists concerned with the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of the elderly, seriously ill, the dying, their families and friends. The resources of the Trust are also available to non-Buddhists who are sympathetic to a Buddhist spiritual orientation.

The Buddhist Hospice Trust is guided by the essential principles of the Buddhadharma as expressed in formulations upheld by the major traditions of Buddhism. These include: the Three Refuges, the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path and the Five Precepts. We seek to promote the creation of Sanghas as clusters of like-minded spiritual friends engaged in Dharmic action. The BHT wishes to encourage individual Buddhists to act responsibly in co-operation with others to establish the perfections of giving, patience, compassion, kindness, energy, mindfulness and wisdom in daily life. Our relationship with the elderly, the sick, the terminally ill, their family and friends offers us an opportunity to develop these perfections.

The Buddhist Hospice Trust, as a voluntary and autonomous association does not adhere doctrinally to any particular sect or school of Buddhism. We do not hold that any one particular sector school is necessarily superior to any other.

The Buddhist Hospice Trust recognises the dangers of attachment to views and opinions. This is especially important when seen in the context of those who are seriously ill or dying. Both the cared for and the carer will need help and support in letting go of attachments to the body, mind and spirit.

Caring for those who are seriously ill or dying requires the development of clear awareness concerning our own strengths and weaknesses. Courage and integrity are required to express, within our circle of family and close friends, the true nature of our shortcomings, and to seek help and guidance from them and others when it is needed.

The Buddhist Hospice Trust acknowledges that there is much to be learned from a variety of religious, philosophical and therapeutic traditions. We also recognize that our collective experience within Buddhism has much to offer other organizations and individuals – both within the hospice movement and beyond.

Therefore, our main emphasis is on education which focuses on the experiential exploration of Dharma.

In brief our aims are four-fold:

1. To alleviate, as far as possible, the suffering of those who are seriously ill, dying or bereaved.

2. To encourage the development of compassion and wisdom in the face of serious illness, death and bereavement.

3. To enhance the importance of the spiritual dimension of living and dying.

4. To foster and encourage reflection on all aspects of dying, death and bereavement.

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