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.
Lief highlights the value of relating to the immediacy of death as an ongoing aspect of everyday life by offering readers a variety of practical methods that they can apply to their lives and work. These methods include:
- Simple mindfulness exercises for deepening awareness of moment-by-moment change
- Practices for cultivating loving-kindness
- Helpful slogans and guidelines for caregivers to use
Making Friends with Death will enlighten anyone interested in coming to terms with their own mortality. More specifically, the contemplative approach presented here offers health professionals, students of death and dying, and people who are helping a dying friend or relative useful guidance and inspiration. It will show them how to ground their actions in awareness and compassion, so that the steps they take in dealing with pain and suffering will be more effective.
"Peppered with useful and startling meditations as well as wise reminders, this is a thoughtful approach to a difficult aspect of living."—NAPRA Review
"Filled with meaningful examples of real people facing real problems. It provides us with the essential guideposts for embarking on the journey of life and the journey beyond."—Journal of Hospice and Palliative Nursing
"A manual on how to die, how to relate to dying and death, how to open up to the stages beyond death. Lief's book is also a weave of stories, insights, advice, Buddhism and humor."—Shambhala Sun
"Whether you will die tomorrow or fifty years from now, you need to read this book."—Bernie Glassman
"A seasoned caregiver who walks the neophyte through the extending of one's self to another, Lief presents the issues and common difficulties at hand. She emphasizes the importance of attention to details, but centers on knowing what each patient wants for her or his situation. This defines effective compassion."—Florence Wald, M.N., F.A.A.N., a founder of the first hospice in the United States
"Lief conveys the profound core of the teachings of Buddhism so that anyone can hear and understand. She shows us that in the end, it is kindness, compassion, and mindful attention that matter, and teaches us the simple skill of just being—in all its rawness, love, and pain—with those who are dying."—Marilyn Webb, author of The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life