I had first listened to the audio version and was so impressed I ordered the printed text. After a slow start the essence unfolds. The Dalai Lama's treatment of impermanence is based on the First Panchen Lama's seventeen stanza poem on the process of death and rebirth. Each stanza is thoughtfully explored and summarized. A wonderful read for a person who is seeking to grow in understanding how to become more comfortable with our ultimate fate.
This is a great gift for one who would prepare , since (as Ram Das reports seeing on a New England headstone):
"As you are no, so once was I, I thought that I would never die, As I am now, so you will be, Prepare yourself to follow me,"
Publishers Weekly, 2002-11-15 Buddhist scholar and professor Hopkins studied intimately with the 14th Dalai Lama to complete this volume on spiritual preparation for death and dying. The book draws upon the 17th-century poem by the First Panchen Lama, which focused on Buddhist techniques for mastering the fear of death and finding spiritual enlightenment through the "stages of dying." The 17 eloquent stanzas begin with ideas about awareness of life's cycle ("May we extract the meaningful essence of this life-support/Without being distracted by the senseless affairs of this life"), and move through each level of consciousness in anticipation of death, or rebirth ("May we be reborn with the supreme life-support of a Tantra practitioner using the sky"). The Dalai Lama elaborates upon the verse with Indian and Tibetan textual and oral traditions; the rather esoteric poem thus leads to more concrete advice, such as "You have to practice morality, concentrated meditation, and wisdom on a daily basis." Fear disappears when practitioners learn to embrace awareness of death, the Dalai Lama says, and through such insight, they are able to more fully take advantage of the given life. (Nov. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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