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Preparing to Die

Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition
Narrated by: Karen White, Neil Shah
Length: 13 hrs and 48 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

We all face death, but how many of us are actually ready for it? Whether our own death or that of a loved one comes first, how prepared are we, spiritually or practically? In Preparing to Die, Andrew Holecek presents a wide array of resources to help the reader address this unfinished business. Part One shows how to prepare one’s mind and how to help others, before, during, and after death. The author explains how spiritual preparation for death can completely transform our relationship to the end of life, dissolving our fear and helping us to feel open and receptive to letting go in the dying process. Daily meditation practices, the stages of dying and how to work with them, and after-death experiences are all detailed in ways that will be particularly helpful for those with an interest in Tibetan Buddhism and in Tibetan approaches to conscious dying.

Part Two addresses the practical issues that surround death. Experts in grief, hospice, the funeral business, and the medical and legal issues of death contribute chapters to prepare the listener for every practical concern, including advance directives, green funerals, the signs of death, warnings about the funeral industry, the stages of grief, and practical care for the dying.

Part Three contains heart-advice from twenty of the best-known Tibetan Buddhist masters now teaching in the West. These brief interviews provide words of solace and wisdom to guide the dying and their caregivers during this challenging time. Preparing to Die is for anyone interested in learning how to prepare for death from a Buddhist perspective, both spiritually and practically. It is also for those who want to learn how to help someone else who is dying, both during the time of illness and death as well as after death.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Andrew Holecek??Excerpts from The Tibetan Book of the Dead, translated with commentary by Francesca Fremantle and Chögyam Trungpa, 1975 by Francesca Fremantle and Chögyam Trungpa. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Inc (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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  • kahali
  • 13-11-2015

Good book, badly read.

What did you like best about Preparing to Die? What did you like least?

Preparing to Die is a comprehensive and thorough book on what to do in order to die in a peaceful and meaningful manner. It has chapters on concrete practices which can be helpful for everybody, and others which are directed more specifically towards those practicing Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism of all lineages. These are further divided into what to do for oneself and for others both before, during and after the individual has died, and has suggestions from a number of Tibetan teachers as to what is most important in each circumstance. It also has discussions on a number of ethical, and legal, questions around death and dying. One caveat is that the book is written by a US citizen and the discussions around some of the legal issues may not necessarily apply in other countries.

Any additional comments?

The reason I have been motivated to write this review is to point out something which I found disturbing in the reading. I haven't heard the whole book, although I have read it through. I downloaded this book because I was using it as the basis of a course and needed to reread it while travelling. In paper form it is a thick and heavy book to carry around, so I thought this would be a convenient way of refreshing my memory. Unfortunately, I found it disturbing that the reader did not know how to pronounce Buddhist words and names. I suggest that one of the criteria in choosing someone to read a book which uses terms from a particular discipline, is that the reader is or has been involved in some way in that discipline, and has some way of checking with those who are directly involved on the pronunciation of words that are not commonly used in English.
Another thing was that the chapters in the audio version did not correspond to those in the hard copy.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John Welch
  • 10-01-2015

Wisdom & compassion for life's toughest challenge

Would you listen to Preparing to Die again? Why?

Yes, as we need to prepare for death while we still have health and are relatively free from the pain & suffering that often accompany the process of dying.

What other book might you compare Preparing to Die to and why?

Robert Thurman's Liberation Upon Hearing in the Between: Living with the Tibetan Book of the Dead and Sogyal Rinpoche's The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying both of which are essential listening for those interested in how Tibetan Buddhism can help us deal with death & dying.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but you will need to listen to it repeatedly to gain the maximum benefit as the book (13 hrs and 48 mins) contains a great deal of valuable information and insights

Any additional comments?

I hope Audible makes available as Audio Books more Tibetan Buddhist classics for those who are blind or have other visual handicaps. Thank you to Andrew Holecek, the narrators and Audible for making these precious teachings available on audio.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Dr. Horn
  • 14-04-2018

Essential reading for life

If you could sum up Preparing to Die in three words, what would they be?

Well-Rounded, Essential, Inspiring

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Learned how to pronounce Buddhist words before reading a text on Buddhism. The narrator mispronounces at least 70% of Tibetan Buddhist terms and 100% of names (and that might be generous). A simple google search would have clarified pronunciation. For people who have studied Buddhism it is an annoyance that detracts greatly from the listening experience of the book. Had he not tried to pronounce it in an accent, it wouldn't have been as annoying, but he says the words with an accent as if he knows how to pronounce it but doesn't.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The first part of the book was the most profound. Once they started getting into the legal portions and so forth it was tough to get through. But if you are in the process of dying and have some time then the legal portion might be more interesting.

Any additional comments?

Holecek has created what I feel is one of the essential works available in Buddhism ... top 5 I would say.