In 1995, Jim Bedard, a martial artist and Zen student, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and given ten days to live. This is the story of how he used his spiritual strength to bring himself into full contact with a death sentence as well as with painful medical treatment, including chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. It is also the inspiring story of how the faith of his family, Zen teacher, close friends, and the Buddhist community helped him.
Bedard's story introduces us to Zen practices that can help us cope with emotional turmoil and physical pain. His words on compassion, on karma, on gratitude, on impermanence and the inevitability of death—all from a nonsmoking, meditating, aerobically fit vegetarian who became suddenly and "terminally" ill—are inspiring and sometimes funny. He explores, too, the fundamental question of suffering, its cause, and how the teachings of karma can help us accept illness, ultimately using it as an opportunity to deepen our spiritual lives.
"This extraordinary book is both a treasure and a triumph. It is an inspiring testament to the ways in which rigorous spiritual practice can help us deal with acute suffering, pain, fear, and death... Lotus in the Fire proves the benefits of spiritual practice as supportive tool and a key to healing."—Frederic A. Brussat, Spirituality & Health
"[Bedard's] riveting, taut, and very moving survivor's story will appeal to readers of all faiths. A wake-up call to live life to the fullest, told with modest understatement and no New Age jargon, his book will inspire patients and their families coping with illnesses, as well as anyone coming to terms with death."—Publishers Weekly