Philip Kapleau has studied and taught Zen for 45 years and is considered one of the founding fathers of Zen in America. He is the author of many books including the classic The Three Pillars of Zen. In this sobering volume, Kapleau offers a nonsectarian perspective on death and dying. The aim is "to learn to live fully with life at every moment and die serenely with death."
The first section on "Death" contains the author's overview of the existential aspects of death; meditations on this final act; glimpses of death by Socrates, Duncan Phyfe, Leah, Seng-chao, Sri Ramana Maharishi, and Gautama the Buddha. In a section on "Dying," Kapleau covers the dilemma of pain; suicide and euthanasia; the terminally ill; tips to the family and friends of the dying; material on cremation and burial; and information on creating a funeral service. The next section on "Karma" explores the wheel of life and death and the interconnectedness of life. The final section on "Rebirth" looks at the case for the continuity of life. There are also appendixes on living wills, hospice care, consoling the bereaved, and what to do upon someone's death. He includes some old advice: Stick the word death on your forehead and keep it there. Kapleau has done just that providing us with a valuable overview of death and the continuity of life.