Teachings, Courses, & Retreats

  • $444.00 to $567.00 – GENEROSITY RANGE
  • $325.00 to $443.00 – SUSTAINABILITY RANGE
  • $246.00 to $324.00 – ACCESS RANGE

Date & Time Details: 8 Presentation Sessions: Tuesdays: September 19- November 7, 6:30-8:00pm (MDT) | 7 Live Discussions: Fridays: September 22- November 3, 1:00-2:00pm (MDT)

Location: Online - Zoom

Suggested Dana Range: $95.00 - $285.00

The program prices do not include teacher offerings (dana). To learn more about dana and suggested dana ranges, please click here.

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Writing Your Spiritual Care Directive – A Buddhist Plan for the Time of Dying (ONLINE)

With Rhonda LoPresti

September 19 - November 7, 2023

This 8-week online course and interactive group study will be presented from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective, inviting a unique conversation and exploration in planning and training as a practitioner for the time of dying.

Using a 10-part comprehensive template, called a Spiritual Care Directive, we will start with creating a Dharma Vision and journey all the way through the 49 days following death.

This process is designed to clearly and practically write down wishes and reflections as an act of kindness for ourselves and others.

In preparing for dying and death, we deepen and clarify our daily practice and inspire the lives we live.

As a group, we will explore topics, ideas and aspirations in such a way that we seek out specific instructions from our own teachers and lineage traditions. As we may be coming from different lineages and different levels of practice, the course will offer structure and planning to be personalized by each practitioner.

As an End of Life Coach, Rhonda LoPresti presents this course not as a teacher of the dharma, but as a gatherer of dharma friends to hold safe space to share, inspire, and develop community on the topic of dying.

This Course Includes: 


What is a SPIRITUAL CARE DIRECTIVE? This is a document that invites you to write down your spiritual wishes and instructions for the time of dying. Like a medical care directive, it communicates what is important to you and appoints someone to act on your behalf when you may not be able to speak for yourself. We will move through this 10 part journey in applying the dharma to dying for ourselves and/or the dying of a dharma friend. This Spiritual Care Directive PDF will invite you to take practical and clear action in writing down your wishes. Our group goal will be to have this directive completed by the end of our 9 weeks.

DHARMA VISION – We will open the session by meditating on the inevitability of our death and taking death to heart. We will discuss what death may ask of us and look honestly at how prepared we may be. This will be an opportunity to reflect on the criteria of dying as a practitioner and what would support that vision.

ASPIRATIONS – We will share traditional aspiration prayers as well as compose our own personal aspirations for the time of death. We will draw together our experiences as a community. It will inspire you to seek out, collect, clarify, and encourage your practice of these prayers from your own lineage.

SPIRITUAL ADVOCACY / DHARMA FRIENDS –  We will discuss the importance of choosing a Spiritual Advocate or Dharma Friend who can partner with us through the dying process. At our most vulnerable time, we will rely heavily on our loved ones. As an act of kindness creating a Spiritual Care Directive will give them the guidance and direction they need to ease their hearts and offer meaningful dying and death care.

CREATING OUR DHARMA BOX – We will share what ritual items may be supportive at the time of dying and build a dharma box. As a practitioner, certain items may create auspicious conditions for the time of dying and it can be beneficial to be prepared in advance. 

ACTIVE PHASES OF DYING – This will be an opportunity to explore the natural phases and signs of dying, as well as explore the dissolution process of senses and elements as it is described in Tibetan Buddhism. By becoming familiar with these natural processes of dying, we may be able to recognize these stages and meet them with greater grace and confidence. We will explore the merit of suffering and how we can bring what death asks of us onto the path.

MOMENT OF DEATH – We will share opportunities for learning more about phowa, the inner and outer respiration, and the three subtle bodies. By opening this conversation we will raise our awareness of these teachings and empowerments and seek them out from our own teachers and lineages. We will explore the varying perspectives on organ donation.

THREE DAYS FOLLOWING DEATH – We will explore what is happening in the days following death, how the dead body is sacred and what may be happening during this phase of entering the bardos. We will discuss the structure of bardo prayer sets. This session will include an overview of the home funeral and how to preserve the sacred body at home.

DISPOSITION OF BODY – We will discuss the importance of choosing your disposition of body, the ceremony of shrouding, compassionate transportation to crematory or burial site, and green deathcare. Together we will review and share prayers and chants for the cremation or burial ceremony.

49 DAYS – We will share prayer options for daily, weekly intervals during the 49 days and inspire each other to identify prayers from your own lineages. We will practice sponsoring prayers and review the Sur incense offering for those traveling in the bardos.

DHARMA WILL – We will review the importance of writing a Dharma Will to assign our dharma items to our dharma friends or centers.


Who is this Course for?

  • You know preparing for death is important and yet you keep putting it off.
  • You have spiritual practices and prayers that you want to organize for the time of death.
  • You are worried that your family or friends would not know how to fulfill your spiritual wishes at the time of death.
  • You would like a guide or template to support and inspire you in clarifying your specific wishes.
  • You would like to create a plan for death as an act of kindness for your family and friends.
  • You would like to support a practitioner or dharma friend in fulfilling their dying wishes.
  • You want planning for death to inspire your current practice.
  • You would like to connect with resources in your community to support your dharma vision for dying.
  • You feel far from your teacher and monastic community and want to create a support system where you live and will die.
  • You are looking for a community of practitioners to hold safe and loving conversations in preparing for dying.

Who Should Attend? 

  • This program is open to everyone.

Recording Access: 

All participants will have a 1-year access period to the recordings. 

What is a Tara Mandala Online Program?

Tara Mandala offers online programming via live and pre-recorded curriculum that give you the opportunity to access dharma teachings, engage in guided practice, experience personal retreat and hands-on learning, while connecting with other participants through easy-to-use online platforms and an engaged community network. When needed, the program description and schedule will inform you in advance if and when a specific online session must be attended live if a direct transmission (Tib. lung) may be given. Access to recordings of all sessions will be available for additional viewing for one year. 

Tara Mandala Program Pricing


Choose an amount within this range if you have the financial security and capacity to support Tara Mandala at a higher level. The contributions we receive within this range make it possible for us to offer a below-cost Access Range to those practitioners with a limited income.

 This range is for you if you:

  • Own your own home and live comfortably without financial worry
  • Have investments and savings 
  • Easily have access to money in times of need or emergencies
  • Have the desire to help make the Dharma more accessible to others


Choose an amount within this range if you have the financial capacity to sustain Tara Mandala’s ability to offer high-quality programs. The contributions we gratefully receive within this range enable us to keep our prices low while covering the basic program costs. 

 This range is for you if you:

  • Have the capacity to meet your basic financial needs
  • Make your rent or mortgage and other monthly payments 
  • Are generally able to purchase new items and experiences for yourself
  • Can afford to take trips and go on retreats


Choose an amount within this range if you have limited financial capacity or are currently experiencing financial hardship. The contributions we gratefully receive within this range go toward covering costs and are supported by contributions of those who choose the Generosity Range.

 This range is for you if you:

  • Have difficulty meeting your basic financial needs 
  • Are experiencing housing, employment, or income instability
  • Live paycheck-to-paycheck and and lack money in times of need
  • Face challenges due to devaluation of your currency against the US dollar. 

Offering dana to the teacher: The practice of offering dana, which means “generosity,” is the traditional offering the student makes to the teacher as a symbol of appreciation, gratitude, and reciprocity for receiving the precious teachings. Information on offering dana to the teacher will be provided during the virtual retreat. To learn more about dana and suggested dana ranges, please click here. 

Payment Plans and Financial Assistance

Tara Mandala offers two types of financial assistance: Deferred Payment Plans and Scholarships. You may apply for one or both of these types of assistance. Read the terms carefully as outlined on the financial aid application. Please see this page for further information.

Sustaining Sangha:

If you are currently a member of our Sustaining Sangha, you may apply your Online Program discount to this course.

Click Here for Our Online Programs Cancellation and Refund Policy


The live sessions of the program are listed below. All times are Mountain Daylight Time. Please use this link to see how this daily schedule translates into your timezone.

8 Presentation Sessions 
Tuesdays: September 19- November 7
6:30-8:00pm (MDT)

7 Live Discussions 
Fridays: September 22- November 3 
1:00-2:00pm (MDT)

Access to the recordings will be available for one year.


Rhonda LoPresti
RHONDA LOPRESTI – END OF LIFE COACH, HOME FUNERAL GUIDE As an End of Life Coach, Rhonda is passionate in holding and creating sacred space, personal ritual, spiritual practice and creative choices through dying and deathcare. She believes we can learn to die and in learning to die we actually…
Learn more about Rhonda LoPresti

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Tara Mandala

PO Box 3040
Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Phone: 970.731.3711 Web: taramandala.org

Mission Statement

Tara Mandala offers solo and group practice, study, and retreat inspired by and anchored in authentic lineages of Vajrayana Buddhism, nurturing a complete path to ultimate realization as well as exploring the interface between Buddhist teachings and Western psychology … More »