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Living in the Light of Death


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About the Author

Larry Rosenberg is founder and resident teacher of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts.


"We know in our heads we will die," says Rosenberg. "But we have to know it in our hearts. We have to let this fact penetrate our bones. Then we will know how to live." Rosenberg, founder and teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Cambridge, Mass., believes that part of being human means refusing to embrace or even acknowledge our fates, avoiding the subjects of illness, pain, aging and death. However, it is his contention that if and when we can become so intimate with these facts of life that we can accept them as such and let go of the emotional agendas that accompany them, we will become truly liberated. Rosenberg explains the practice of "death awareness," an ancient tradition that uses the Buddha's five contemplations on death for meditation exercises. The first three state that aging, illness and death are unavoidable, and the last two stress personal growth and responsibility for one's actions. Gearing his book toward novices as well as those who practice meditation, Rosenberg very capably teaches correct meditation practice and defines Buddhist terms. He is honest about what he doesn't know, such as what actually happens after death. The book is occasionally marred by Rosenberg's irritating name-dropping of "famous teachers and masters I have known"; otherwise, it is a worthy read. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Living in the Light of Death is an invaluable primer for virtually anyone who has a body and is old enough to read. Larry Rosenberg dives right to the core of what it takes to be truly alive and, with the lightest and kindest of touches, shows us simple ways to wake up to our lives while we have them to live. A true vehicle for exploring the profound question of whether there is life before death."--Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Full Catastrophe Living and Wherever You Go, There You Are

"Intending to wake us up," Rosenberg, founder of the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center, contemplates the inevitability of illness, old age, and death, using the Buddhist text "Five Subjects for Frequent Recollection" as his groundwork. His book is a sharp, if salutary, jolt to our usual sense of complacency about life, and his advice about the knowledge of our death is, in a Buddhist sense, to give ourselves to that knowledge completely. For collections where interest in Buddhism or death studies is strong. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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