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This book is not necessarily an instruction manual on how to die with grace, but it can provide inspiration to help the reader re-frame his or her perspective of death, fear it less, and hopefully be prepared for it when it comes. These masters see death as an integral part of life, and they accept it with dignity and grace. Thus, death becomes the final lesson that these masters teach their students and anyone else interested enough to learn. The stories are easy-to-read and reveal a remarkable range of unique personalities and bits of humor, wisdom, joy, and grace.
However, even here, the fundamental message of accepting death with grace is preserved. The book begins with a page introduction that provides a background to Hindu, Buddhist, Zen and Tibetan beliefs around death, reincarnation, and enlightenment. All in all, this book is inspirational, but not for everyone. It is written for seekers. This term, as I use it, is very broad. It includes all those who consider the unseen in life to be their true source of nourishment, sustenance, and joy.
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Death is a subject obscured by fear and denial. When we do think of dying, we are more often concerned with how to avoid the pain and suffering that may accompany our death than we are with really confronting the meaning of death and how to approach it. Sushila Blackman places death—and life—in a truer perspective, by telling us of others who have left this world with dignity. Graceful Exits offers valuable guidance in the form of stories recounting the ways in which Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist, and Zen masters, both ancient and modern, have confronted their own deaths. By directly presenting the grace, clarity, and even humor with which great spiritual teachers have met the end of their days, Blackman provides inspiration and nourishment to anyone truly concerned with the fundamental issues of life and death.
Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die: Death Stories of Hindu, Tibetan Buddhist, and Zen Masters