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Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die
     

Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die

4.0 3
by Sushila Blackman
 

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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

Overview

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 108 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The striking element in these accounts is a sense of being fully prepared to meet death. Blackman grappled with lung cancer and came to peace with her own fears about death as she compiled this book, completed only a few months before she died."—Library Journal

"Written in lucid prose, the book is a training manual for making graceful exits from this life."—Publishers Weekly

"Not since the ground-breaking work of Kubler-Ross on death and dying has there been such a much needed compilation of inspirational stories and examples of how to prepare oneself for the inevitable."—Midwestern Book Review

"This beautiful little book is a gem. It contributes to our understanding that we are truly timeless."—Deepak Chopra, M.D.

"A magical little volume. It reveals with simplicity and lucidity how wise and compassionate living leads to a wise and compassionate death."—Glenn H. Mullin, author of Death and Dying: The Tibetan Tradition

Mavis Fenn
L....[T]he author has succeeded in her purpose: to make the passage of others through death "more grace-filled, more filled with light, more saturated with God's sublime love and understanding"....Graceful Exits will prove to be reassuring; the anthology will likely be used by many on a regular basis for contemplation and meditation.
Journal of Buddhist Ethics
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Often, the stories of great people's deaths focus on the bizarre details. Blackman's book does not focus on such details, but it focuses on death as a great teaching. Death in the Buddhist and Hindu spiritual traditions, according to the author, is not confined to a particular moment but is a process that may take days even after the usual medical indications of death have appeared. The experience of death is part of the discipline that these "great beings," or spiritual teachers, have practiced, and death is an opportunity for the greatest meditation and fulfillment. The 108 stories collected here show that these spiritual teachers did not fear death but rather welcomed it. These masters embrace death not in the sterility of the hospital room but in the company of students and friends, and, thus, death becomes the final lesson that the teachers teach to their students. Written in lucid prose, the book is a training manual for making graceful exits from this life.
Library Journal
Blackman narrates the death stories of over 100 Tibetan, Hindu, and Zen masters, ancient and modern. The striking element in these accounts is a sense of being fully prepared to meet death. Blackman grappled with lung cancer and came to peace with her own fears about death as she compiled this book, completed only a few months before she died. As Blackman notes, the Judaeo-Christian perspective of death is not represented here, but this fills a demand for inspirational books about death and Eastern spirituality.
Mavis L. Fenn
...[T]he author has succeeded in her purpose: to make the passage of others through death "more grace-filled, more filled with light, more saturated with God's sublime love and understanding"....Graceful Exits will prove to be reassuring; the anthology will likely be used by many on a regular basis for contemplation and meditation. -- Journal of Buddhist Ethics

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590302705
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
05/10/2005
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
346,883
Product dimensions:
5.95(w) x 8.96(h) x 0.41(d)

Meet the Author

Sushila Blackman was a student of the Hindu master Swami Muktananda, and was present at his ashram in India during his death. A few months before she completed Graceful Exits, Blackman learned that she had advanced lung cancer. She died a month and a half after finishing the book.

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Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dying is an essential part of ourtime on earth. This book tells us howthose living an Eastern philosophylife departed from this plane ofexistence. The reports recited inthis publication are interesting, butthey also provide insights into thespiritual development of the oneswho died. The book can be helpful intalking to close friends who havea terminal loved one. The book issmall and the reports are short. It is easy to read just one story andput the book down, going back to itfor the next story without anyconcern for continuity. For thethinking and open-minded non-Easternphilosophy follower, numerousinsights are presented. To thosepracticing and involved in yoga, the pages can be inspiring. This isa book that is worth reading andkeeping.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cannot add much to what the reviewers above have said, but I learned a great deal about a more positive approach to death than we have in most of our western culture. The men and women in this book had focused most of their lives in contemplation and anticipation of death, and were practiced spiritual masters. Many of their exits from life were deeply inspiring, hopeful, and even humorous. Through meditation and other spiritual practices, they learned how to put death in its proper perspective: as yet another step in the ongoing journey of the soul. I highly recommend this book for those grappling with the fact of their body's mortality.