Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality [NOOK Book]

Making Friends with Death: A Buddhist Guide to Encountering Mortality

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.49 price
(Save 42%)$19.95 List Price


Friends with Death,
teacher Judith Lief, who's drawn her inspiration from the

Tibetan Book of the Dead,
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.

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

Friends with Death
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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"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

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834822573
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/18/2011
  • Series: Shambhala Publications
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,091,709
  • File size: 487 KB

Meet the Author

Judith Lief is an acharya, or senior teacher, in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage of Chögyam Trungpa.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

1: A One-Shot Deal

won't wait.

just keeps moving along, and in a blink, it is gone. It is continually
changing. Because of that, we may feel as if we are always playing catch-up.
Just as we begin to figure out how to deal with one stage of our life, we are
on to the next. We might think, "If only I could go back and do that
again"—but we can't.

life is a journey that begins with birth and ends with death, and once we begin
that journey, we are on our way, nonstop. There are no breathers, no time-outs.
It is a one-shot deal. So we should relate to our life now, while we still
can—but to do so, we must also learn to relate to our death.

is this journey all about? No one can tell us. It is up to us to find out for
ourselves. If we recognize that we are on a journey, one that we share with all
living beings, we can look into that journey and learn from it. But most of the
time, we are so caught up with everyday hassles that we lose track of our life.
It is too threatening to look at the big picture, so we hole up in our concerns
of the moment. We are afraid to look beyond that; instead, we keep busy and
avoid the whole issue. Meanwhile, our life is slipping away.

the most part, we are not aware of actually living a life. Instead, the whole
thing goes by in a blur. We lose touch with the preciousness and mystery of the
cycle of life and death and our connection with others. It is easy to take life
for granted, as though we had all the time in the world. But in cutting
ourselves off from the reality of death, we lose any sense of urgency, and life
has less value. It does not feel quite real, as though we were in an endless
rehearsal for a play that never opens. We cannot quite commit to our life as a
journey that has already begun and only happens once.

journey is well underway already, and soon it will be over. The starting point
is birth and the end is death, and we are in the middle somewhere, between our
birth and our death, faced with the question of how to relate to the whole
thing. We find ourselves in the midst of life, and fundamentally, we have no
clue how we got here or where we are going. That is the context, it is our
path, we cannot change it. And how we walk on that path is now up to us. It is
entirely up to us.

children, we may have asked, "Mommy, where did I come from?" If our
mommy tried to answer us, we may have learned a little about the birds and the
bees and about our parents and grandparents. But fundamentally that question
has no answer. Our existence can only be traced back so far. Eventually we hit
the mysterious border separating our life from whatever came before; and
looking ahead, to the time of our death, we encounter a similar boundary.

a personal awareness of death begins by cultivating an appreciation of our life
as a whole. With this as our basic view, as we go about our business, whatever
we do takes place within the context of that entire journey. So cultivating an
awareness of death is at the same time cultivating an awareness of life. We are
reconnecting with the experience of
living a life.

do we work with this journey of life and death? The starting point—the only
option, really—is to begin in the middle of things, where we are right now. We
can learn to appreciate our journey, knowing that it will not last. Although we
have not been here forever and we will not be here forever, right now we have
something to work with.

Birth, Death, and Life

a few moments to sit quietly.

back on your life to the point at which it first began, when you first
appeared. When did you appear? Where were you before that? Where did you come
from? Contemplate the mystery of birth.

go forward in your life to the point at which it ends and you are no longer
here. What will happen to you then? Where will you go? How is it possible for
your life to end and you no longer to exist? Contemplate the mystery of death.

on your life now, sandwiched between your birth and your death and utterly
unique. Where are you now? What is
about? Contemplate the mystery of life.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is as much about confronting your ideas about your own death as it is about death in general, but its real strength is in the area of advice for how to be with someone who is dying. I read it after my father died, but wished I had read it beforehand.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2013


    I am here

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)