Fearless Compassion in the Face of Violence

The willingness to face suffering can give rise to compassion. The school shooting at Marshall County High School in Kentucky was our nation’s 11th this year. It happened on January 23rd. And now our hearts break again with the horror of[...]

Sam Harris Podcast – The Lessons of Death

In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Frank Ostaseski about death and dying—and about how the awareness of death can improve our lives in each moment. Frank Ostaseski is a Buddhist teacher, international lecturer and[...]

VOX- A Buddhist teacher on what the living can learn from the dying

We know that we will die, yet we spend much of our lives trying very hard not to think about it. But is it wise to ignore death? Could we live better if we spent more time thinking about our own mortality? Frank Ostaseski is the author of The Five[...]

Lions Roar Magazine Video: The Wisdom of End-of-Life Care

Buddhist teacher Frank Ostaseski has been one of the leading voices in contemplative end-of-life care since the 1980s. In this video, Ostaseski talks with Lion’s Roar’s Lindsay Kyte about the lessons he’s learned at the bedsides of thousands[...]

Lions Roar Magazine: Death: The Greatest Teacher


Kiss the Moment

Mindfulness is a straightforward enough word. It means the mind is fully attending to what is happening, to what you are working on, to the person you are listening to, the surroundings you are moving through. It is a basic human capacity. Yet it[...]

How to Tame Your Inner Critic

The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. — Peggy O’MaraNo matter how you try, you can’t please your inner critic.There is no fooling it. The critic knows your every move, every trick up your sleeve, every bit of[...]

Portals not Problem Solvers

A few years ago, I suffered a heart attack that required emergency triple bypass surgery. I have companioned many people through their illness and death. Yet, I discovered that the view from the other side of the sheets is very different. At one[...]

Dying is a Sacred Act

Mirrors reflect the truth of what strikes their surface. The eyes of a dying patient are the clearest mirrors I have ever known. In their gaze, there is simply no place to hide. Over the years, the habits of my life have been reflected in those[...]

Timeless Buddhist Teachings That Will Help You Accept Mortality and Lead A Happier Life

No one alive really understands death. But as one woman who was close to death once told me, “I see the exit signs much clearer than you do.” In a way, nothing can prepare you for death. Yet everything that you have done in your life, everything[...]

Simple Human Kindness

There is a moment for most of us, when we realize that we are about to become a companion of someone who is facing death. Maybe we come to this experience as part of our professional or volunteer commitment. More commonly its arrives when a friend[...]

Thrive Global-How Men Die Differently

Thirty years ago, at the height of the American AIDS epidemic, Frank Ostaseski cofounded America’s first Buddhist hospice–the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco. Since then he’s taught compassionate, contemplative caregiving across the[...]

Being Comfortable With Change Is The Key To Living Your Happiest Life

“Apprentice yourself to the curve of your own disappearance.” — David WhyteTim Gouw Over the past thirty years, I have sat on the precipice of death with a few thousand people. Some came to their deaths full of disappointment. Others[...]

5 Things Death Can Teach Us About Living Life To The Fullest

Life and death are a package deal. You cannot pull them apart. In Japanese Zen, the term shoji translates as “birth-death.” There is no separation between life and death other than a small hyphen, a thin line that connects the two. We cannot[...]

Tricycle Magazine- Washing My Boy’s Body

One day, in the middle of writing a foundation grant report, I got a call from a man I didn’t know. He explained that he was the father of a 7-year-old boy who had been very ill with cancer. Some people had told him that I might be able to help[...]

Watch The Five Invitations Cinematic Trailer

Friends, I am excited to share that my new book The Five Invitations is being released today. In it, I have done my best to share the collective wisdom of my teachers, loved ones, and above all, the people I have sat with at the time of death. It[...]

Don’t Wait – Order Your Copy of The Five Invitations Today

When people are dying, it is easy for them to recognize that every minute, every breath counts. But the truth is, death is always with us, integral to life itself. Everything is constantly changing. Nothing is permanent. This idea can both frighten[...]


By Frank Ostaseski (after his heart attack) I don’t know how to do this. How could I? I’ve never done this before. How do I include illness in day-to-day life? What adjustments are really necessary in my relationships, work, how I eat,[...]

What’s Enough?

Slipping on my shoes Boiling water Toasting bread Buttering the sky: That should be enough contact with God In one day to make anyone crazy Buttering the Sky -by Hafiz translated by Daniel Ladinsky What’s Enough? What do you think?[...]

Taming the Inner Critic

No matter how you try, you can’t please your inner critic. There is no fooling it. The critic knows your every move, every trick up your sleeve, every bit of your past. It has been right there with you throughout your life. You shower with it.[...]

Purchase the book


Discovering What Death
Can Teach Us About Living Fully

Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most.

Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. The Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves.


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