Birth as Death in Pure Land Buddhism
Edited by Jonathan Watts and Yoshiharu Tomatsu
To die alone is perhaps everyone's greatest fear, yet in the modern world in hospital rooms, nursing homes or private residences, it has become "routine." This volume covers many aspects of this issue, from our basic fears of death and of facing death alone, to what lies on the other side of death, and perhaps most importantly, what we should do now to prepare for that penultimate moment of life, which is death. It explores why the pursuit of wisdom, compassion, and the ending of our cycles of affliction and dissatisfaction is not a task that should be pursued nor can be achieved alone. We should never die alone because we all can learn together from the amazing moment of death. Like a birth, a marriage, or a graduation, death can be a festival of sharing a tremendously important experience. It can bring us closer to others, to ourselves, and to wholeness. From the lavish cover painting which has served Pure Land followers for centuries as an object of contemplation on their deathbeds to the five essays by prominent Pure Land specialists contained inside, this small book offers useful tools with which to encounter death; and to experience death as Birth (ojo).
Authors include: Mark Blum author of The Origins and Development of Pure Land Buddhism; Carl Becker author of Breaking the Circle: Death and the Afterlife in Buddhism; David Brazier author of Who Loves Dies Well: On the Brink of Buddha's Pure Land; Yoshiharu Tomatsu the Director of the Jodo Shu Research Institute's Ojo and Death Project; and a group of Thai Buddhists offering a different view of Buddhist dying.