Where Western society views death as the last taboo, the Tibetan tradition incorporates meditation on death into everyday life. Tibetan Buddhists believe that a conscious awareness of one's own impermanence allows a person to live a happy, fulfilled life.
Over the centuries the Tibetans have developed a wide-ranging literature on death, including inspirational poetry and prose, prayers, and practical works on care for the dying.
LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF DEATH: On the Art of Being Truly Alive by Larry Rosenberg
Growing older, getting sick, and dying are tough subjects we usually like to avoid - even if we've admitted to ourselves that they're inevitable. The Buddhist practice of maranasati, or death awareness, helps us to confront these hard realities head-on, as a paticularly powerful means of liberating ourselves from the attachments that cause us to suffer.
FACING DEATH AND FINDING HOPE by Christine Longaker
"Facing Death and Finding Hope is an ideal and much-needed guidebook for caregivers, friends, and family of the dying. I have known Christine Longaker for eighteen years, during which time she has studied the Buddhist teachings with me. The courses and training she gives, for which she now has a considerable reputation, are exceptional in that they blend her very real experience of hospice work with the insights she has gleaned from her study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism.
BUDDHA NATURE: Death and Eternal Soul in Buddhism by H.H. the Dalai Lama
For the first time, the Dalai Lama presents views concerning the Self in Buddhism. In the process, he explains how Buddhist teachings differentiate the person and the eternal soul. At the same time, he explains his ideas of Nirvana. A fascinating synthesis of individuality and universality arises, one that could only be formed by His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama.
SLEEPING, DREAMING AND DYING: An Exploration of Consciousness with The Dalai Lama ed. and narrated by Francisco J. Varela, Ph.D
An exploration of Consciousness with The Dalai Lama. This book is the account of a historic dialogue between leading Western scientists and one of the foremost representatives of Buddhism today, the Dalai Lama of Tibet. Revolving around the three key moments of consciousness of sleep, dreams, and death-what internationally acclaimed neuroscientist Francisco Varela calls the ego's shadow zones-the conversations recorded here took place at the fourth Mind and Life Conference in Dharamsala, India. With contributions from acclaimed voices such as philosopher Charles Taylor, psychoanalyst Joyce McDougall, psychologist Jayne Gackenbach, cultural ecologist Joan Halifax, and neuroscientist Jerome Engel, the book is both engrossing and highly readable.
LIVING WITHOUT REGRET: Growing Old in the Light of Tibetan Buddhism by Arnaud Maitland
In this honest, poignant account--and teaching--of coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, Maitland unfolds how his grief, guilt, and anger around his mother's death deepened his ability to apply Buddhist teachings. A wonderful look at practical Buddhist wisdom.
LIVING, DREAMING, DYING: Practical Wisdom from the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Robert Nairn, forewords by 17th Karmapa and Ringu Tulku
A Western perspective on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, using everyday language, shows us how to understand life as well as the processes of dying. How do we face our fears? Practical exercises guide us toward expanded states and gives a valuable primer on using sleep and lucid dreaming as preparations for death.
LUMINOUS EMPTINESS: Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead by Francesca Fremantle
A detailed guide to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, elucidating its mysterious concepts, terms, and imagery. Fremantle relates this symbolic world to the experiences of everyday life, presenting the text not as a scripture for the dying, but as a guide for the living.
PEACEFUL DEATH, JOYFUL REBIRTH: A Tibetan Buddhist Guidebook by Tulku Thondup
Buddhism teaches that death can be a springboard to enlightenment-yet for all but the most advanced meditators, it will be the gateway to countless future lives of suffering in samsara. Tulku Thondup wrote this guide to help us heal our fear and confusion about death and strengthen our practice in anticipation of this transition, and to help us realize the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy-not only for death and rebirth, but for this very lifetime. In simple language, he distills a vast range of sources, including scriptures, classic commentaries, oral teachings, and firsthand accounts.
MEDICINE AND COMPASSION: A Tibetan Lama's Guidance for Caregivers by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche with David R. Shilim, MD
Practical advice for dealing compassionately with the dying and the angers and fears of their families, as well as for revitalizing the caring spirit. A wonderful guide for all professional and non-professional caregivers. Chokyi Nyimi is a well-known Tibetan author and teacher.