sacred understanding? Without it, what is life worth? And

without it, how can we die well?

It is crucial now that an enlightened vision of death and

dying should be introduced throughout the world at all levels

of education. Children should not be "protected" from death,

but introduced, while young, to the true nature of death and

what they can learn from it. Why not introduce this vision, in

its simplest forms, to all age groups? Knowledge about death,

about how to help the dying, and about the spiritual nature of

death and dying should be made available to all levels of society;

it should be taught, in depth and with real imagination, in

schools and colleges and universities of all kinds; and especially

and most important, it should be available in teaching

hospitals to nurses and doctors who will look after the dying

and who have so much responsibility toward them.

How can you be a truly effective doctor when you do not

have at least some understanding of the truth about death, or

how really to care spiritually for your dying patient? How can

you be a truly effective nurse if you have not begun to face

your own fear of dying and have nothing to say to those who

are dying when they ask you for guidance and wisdom? I

know many well-meaning doctors and nurses, people of the

most sincere openness to new ideas and new approaches. I

pray that this book will give them the courage and the

strength they will need to help their institutions absorb the

lessons of the teachings and adapt to them. Isn't it time now

that the medical profession should understand that the search

for the truth about life and death and the practice of healing

are inseparable? What I hope from this book is that it will

help inspire everywhere a debate about what exactly can be

done for the dying, and the best conditions for doing it. A

spiritual and practical revolution in the training of doctors and

nurses, in the vision of hospital care, and in the actual treatment

of the dying is urgently needed, and I hope this book

will make a humble contribution to it.

I have expressed again and again my admiration for the

pioneering work that is being done in the hospice movement.

In it at last we see the dying being treated with the dignity

they deserve. I would like here to make a deep plea to all the

governments of the world that they should encourage the creation

of hospices and fund them as generously as possible.

It is my intention to make this book the foundation of

several different kinds of training programs. These would be

for people of all kinds of backgrounds and professions, and

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