The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

realjannaweiss

The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

INTRODUCTION xiii

our attitudes toward death and in the kind of care we as a

society offer to the dying and the bereaved. Public awareness

of death and the many issues surrounding dying has been

heightened. Books, Web sites, conferences, serious radio and

television series, films, and support groups have all contributed

to a greater openness toward looking into death. There has

been a considerable expansion in hospice work and palliative

care, and this has been the period during which, in some

countries, the whole field of care for the dying has been

opened up. Initiatives of many kinds have taken place,

inspired by courageous men and women, for whom I have

the greatest respect and admiration. Meanwhile, there have

been more and more requests for those working in the Buddhist

tradition to take part in projects and explore how they

can contribute.

A number of my friends and students have gradually created

an international program of education and training based

on the teachings in this book and designed to offer spiritual

care to the dying, their families, and those who care for them.

We offer courses for the medical profession and the public,

coordinate volunteers, and have begun to work hand in hand

with hospitals, clinics, hospices, and universities. What is

encouraging is that there is a growing recognition everywhere

that spiritual issues are central to the care of the dying, and in

some countries a number of medical schools now offer

courses in spirituality and medicine. Yet, I am told, surveys

show that denial of death still prevails, and we are still lacking

in our ability to offer spiritual help and care for the dying and

answer their deepest needs. The kind of death we have is so

important. Death is the most crucial moment of our lives, and

each and every one of us should be able to die in peace and

fulfillment, knowing that we will be surrounded by the best in

spiritual care.

If The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying has played some

small part in helping us look at how we deal with our own

death and that of those around us, it is an answer to my

prayers, and I am deeply moved and grateful. It is still my

dream that the teachings presented here be made available to

people everywhere, of all ages, and at all levels of education.

My original hope for this book was that it would help inspire

a quiet revolution in the whole way we look at death and

care for the dying, and so the whole way we look at life and

care for the living. Our need for spiritual transformation and to

take responsibility, in the truest sense, for ourselves and others

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