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Rediscover the mystery and wonder of life through gentle reflections on death and dying.
What can death teach the living? Former monk and hospice worker Rodney Smith teaches us that through intimately considering our own inevitable end we can reawaken to the sublime miracle of life we so often take for granted. A well of stories, personal anecdotes, and direct advice gleaned from years of working with the dying in their final moments, Lessons from the Dying helps us redefine our conception of what it means to truly live. Each chapter contains guided reflections and exercises that allow the reader to integrate the wisdom in its pages more fully into their lives. With a sense of compassion, Lessons from the Dying provides all the tools of mind one needs to rediscover, in this very moment, the mystery and wonder of a lifetime.
From the foreword by Joseph Goldstein: “Lessons from the Dying could also be called “lessons for the living” because of the courageous honesty revealed in so many of the stories told here. These accounts reflect back to us our own attitudes toward death and love, and they prompt us to examine the way we are living our lives right now. In the busyness of our lives we rarely take time to consider our mortality and the implications that it might have for the choices we make. Yet when we do cultivate this awareness it becomes a powerful force for wise discrimination.”
Rodney Smith worked for over fourteen years in the field of hospice care as a hospice social worker, bereavement coordinator, program director, and executive director. He is the founding and guiding teacher of the Seattle Insight Meditation Society and a guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society, Barre, Massachusetts. He is also the author of Stepping Out of Self-Deception: The Buddha’s Liberating Teaching of No-Self. Smith spent eight years as a Buddhist monk in Asia, where he ordained with Mahasi Sayadaw in Burma and practiced several years with Ajahn Buddhadāsa at Wat Suan Mokkh in Thailand. He lives in Barre, MA.