Edited by HENRY REED, Ph.D.
June 27,   2016
 Five Meditations on Death

 

Five Meditations on Death:

In Other Words… On Life

By

Francois Cheng

 

Many wise folks suggest that we keep our death uppermost in mind. Not exactly an upbeat suggestion, and could really over feed the worry wort within. There must be something else intended when that advice comes up.

In the context of the cycle of life and death, this natural movement would stop were there no death. The two must be related, co-creating one another. How does the concept of an afterlife change this relationship? Does reincarnation shift the focus on the blessing of death? Why have our religions had a resurrection theme?

No doubt I’d rather not think about death, yet I can see how it does bring us to some important questions. As I read Cheng’s meditations, I’m surprised at just how meaningful are the thoughts and ideas he’s putting forth. I found it profound how he took a pair of opposites—beauty and evil—and used them to show us how important death is to the overall Good.

Each reader will gain something from this book that will make life more meaningful and the travails easier to bear.

To explore Five Meditations on Death: In Other Words… On Life on Amazon.com, click here!

From the publisher:

These five meditations on death from poet-philosopher François Cheng invite us to contemplate life in the light of our own death. Our death is an integral part of our great adventure in becoming. For if birth is a seed, then death is the fruit--the final sacred product of a life well lived. 

Philosophical discussions on the ways that death makes life meaningful and sacred

• Reveals how being conscious of death gives our fate its full meaning, inviting the reader to contemplate life in the light of their own death

• Examines the author’s experience of ancestor worship in his native China and the beliefs that underlie it

• Explains how death is a transition in a longer living process not visible from the modern “black and white” view of life and death

• Translated by award-winning translator Jody Gladding

Born from intimate discussions with friends, these five meditations on death from poet-philosopher François Cheng examine the multiple ways the prospect of death significantly shapes life and is, in fact, what makes life meaningful and sacred.

Written at the age of 84, in the twilight of life, these meditations each approach the human understanding of death from different yet intertwined perspectives, effortlessly returning to certain themes and ideas, questioning them again more deeply with each passing. The author shows that death is a transition in a longer living process not visible from the modern “black and white” view of life and death. He examines his experience of ancestor worship in his native China and the beliefs that underlies it: Our ancestors are alive in another form, that what is living can never die and what is dead has never lived. Cheng looks at the consequences of a world that has abandoned the sacred and avoids the mention of death, a world now blindly staggering through the chaos it has created, yet which can return to balance if we once again embrace the essential sacredness of life as well as death.

Throughout these five heart-baring meditations, Cheng invites us to contemplate life in the light of our own death. He reveals that to be conscious of death gives our fate its full meaning. Our death is an integral part of our great adventure in becoming. For if birth is a seed, then death is the fruit--the final sacred product of a life well lived.

 

To explore Five Meditations on Death: In Other Words… On Life on Amazon.com, click here!

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