10 Must-Read Books About Death
All objects, including one’s life, people, and possessions are impermanent. They all change, degenerate, perish and cease to exist.
If we do not realize the impermanence of things we live a life of hallucinations and dreams thinking things will be with us all the time, and we live forever.
Death is a part of our lives. Every sentient being is changing and decaying every moment. Death is coming closer and closer from the moment we are born.
To help you to understand what death is and how not to be scared of it, Buddha Land prepared a list of 10 books with links that will help you along the way:
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
In this classic scripture of Tibetan Buddhism—traditionally read aloud to the dying to help them attain liberation—death and rebirth are seen as a process that provides an opportunity to recognize the true nature of mind. This translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead emphasizes the practical advice that the book offers to the living. The insightful commentary by Chögyam Trungpa, written in clear, concise language, explains what the text teaches us about human psychology. This book will be of interest to people concerned with death and dying, as well as those who seek greater spiritual understanding in everyday life.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
A newly revised and updated 25th Anniversary edition of the internationally bestselling spiritual classic, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche, is the ultimate introduction to Tibetan Buddhist wisdom. An enlightening, inspiring, and comforting manual for life and death that the New York Times calls, “The Tibetan equivalent of [Dante’s] The Divine Comedy,” this is the essential work that moved Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions, to proclaim, “I have encountered no book on the interplay of life and death that is more comprehensive, practical, and wise.”
Making Friends with Death
In Making Friends with Death, Buddhist teacher Judith Lief, who's drawn her inspiration from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, shows us that through the powerful combination of contemplation of death and mindfulness practice, we can change how we relate to death, enhance our appreciation of everyday life, and use our developing acceptance of our own vulnerability as a basis for opening to others. She also offers a series of guidelines to help us reconnect with dying persons, whether they are friends or family, clients or patients.
No Death, No Fear
With hard-won wisdom and refreshing insight, Thich Nhat Hanh confronts a subject that has been contemplated by Buddhist monks and nuns for twenty-five-hundred years— and a question that has been pondered by almost anyone who has ever lived: What is death?
In No Death, No Fear, the acclaimed teacher and poet examines our concepts of death, fear, and the very nature of existence. Through Zen parables, guided meditations, and personal stories, he explodes traditional myths of how we live and die. Thich Nhat Hanh shows us a way to live a life unfettered by fear.
Japanese Death Poems
"A wonderful introduction the Japanese tradition of jisei, this volume is crammed with exquisite, spontaneous verse and pithy, often hilarious, descriptions of the eccentric and committed monastics who wrote the poems." —Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
Although the consciousness of death is, in most cultures, very much a part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than in Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the "death poem." Such a poem is often written in the very last moments of the poet's life.
Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death
A Buddhist teacher draws from her years of experience in caring for the dying to provide inspiring lessons on how to face death with courage and compassion.
The Buddhist approach to death can be of great benefit to people of all backgrounds—as has been demonstrated by Joan Halifax’s decades of work with the dying and their caregivers. A Zen priest and a world-renowned pioneer in care of the dying, Halifax has helped countless people face death with courage and trained caregivers in compassioante end-of-life care.
Leaning into Sharp Points: Practical Guidance and Nurturing Support for Caregivers
Whether you’re coping with a loved one who has received a terminal diagnosis, has a long-term illness or disability, or suffers with dementia, caregiving is challenging and crucial. Those who face this responsibility, whether occasionally or 24/7, are brushing up against life’s sharpest point. In this book, Stan Goldberg offers an honest, caring, and comprehensive guide to those on this journey. Everyone wants to “do the right thing,” and this book provides the often-elusive how-to — from bedside etiquette to advice on initiating difficult conversations, caring for oneself while caring for another, navigating rapid changes in your loved one’s condition, and even offering “permission” for them to die. Goldberg’s stories demonstrate how to address the most difficult topics and will facilitate more open and useful communication and caregiving.
Death and Art of Dying in Tibetan Buddhism
Milarepa, the prince of yogis used to sing: "The fear of death has led me to the snowcapped mountains. On the uncertainty of the moment of my death I have meditated Thus I have reached the immortal stronghold of true essence My fear has vanished into the distance."
Later, the great sufi poet, Jalal Od-Din Rumi was to say: "Our death is our wedding with eternity."
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Graced with opening words by His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the Penguin Deluxe Edition of The Tibetan Book of the Dead is "immaculately rendered in an English both graceful and precise." Translated with the close support of leading contemporary masters and hailed as “a tremendous accomplishment,” this book faithfully presents the insights and intentions of the original work. It includes one of the most detailed and compelling descriptions of the after-death state in world literature, practices that can transform our experience of daily life, guidance on helping those who are dying, and an inspirational perspective on coping with bereavement.
Bardo Teachings gives readers a precise and vivid description of the way of death and rebirth. It contains a wealth of heretofore untranslated material on the Tibetan presentation of the process of dying, the nature of the intermediate state after death, and the process of taking rebirth. This modest but carefully produced book presents the essence of the Tibetan Book of the Dead in a digestible form.