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Customer Review

71 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must have! this book has saved me!, April 21, 2008
This review is from: No Death, No Fear: Comforting Wisdom for Life (Paperback)
I first thought the book was simple and repetitive. But when I experienced a loss and re-read the book, I finally realized how profound this book really is.
I had been dealing with the subject of death for quite a few years. (I started with the book HAGAKURE, by Tsunetomo Yamamoto. You may or may not like to check that out. It's a more stoic approach to similar subjects). Anyway, I wanted to conquer the idea of my own inevitable mortality, so that when the time comes, I will handle it with grace. So, my approach was to prepare beforehand.
As I said, I was working on my OWN mortality. It never occured to me that I might also apply it to someone else. Someone I love recently died. That was the 1st real loss that I've encountered, so I was devastated. All those years of preparing myself didn't really mean much (though at the time, I thought I was ready and that I knew it all). I had already owned a copy of this book and read it several years ago. Feeling in the pits, I decided to pull the book out and read it again, as this time it is much more applicable (since I'm experiencing loss).
The book seemed so simple beforehand. It was a quick read. Thich Nhat Hanh also seemed repetitive; I felt bored several times. This, as it turns out, was my fault, not his. He is such a good teacher that he makes everything seem so simple. However, after someone I loved very much died, I re-read this book, and I realized how profound it really is. The reason why Thich is so repetitive, is because you need to drill it into you head so that you really understand it. It's like learning how to count to ten. No one is born knowing how to count to ten. But you drill it until the day when you know it all by heart. Trust me, this book is more profound than it seems; do not just read through it and think that it's all obvious and that you already know it. Reading and learning is not good enough; you have to experience it!
It's like this: death is not real. You cannot create something out of nothing, and you cannot become nothing from something. It's not the reality of things. (Physics will agree with that, for you scientists out there). The problem is that we're deluded. This delusion creates in us a false sense of reality, and that leads to our suffering. We fear death because we think we become nothing. We fear death, because we do not understand it. The problem is that we've learned the wrong way; we need to unlearn our delusions and see death as it really is: simply a change in form. Basically, it's moving on. We want to stay in one place, but the fact of the universe is that it is always changing. We are deluded into remaining stagnant in a universe that, let's face it, is not going to stop and wait for us.
This book helped me immensely in my loss. But it's neverending; you can't just reach a certain point and then stop; you'll lose it. You have to keep going. It's one of those books I will always keep with me. Get this book beforehand, and slowly introduce it into your life and try to apply it. Don't wait until you experience a loss. You will be too devastated. It's never too late to prepare youself for what's inevitable. It will greatly diminish your sense of despair. That much I can gaurantee.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 1, 2014 5:07:41 AM PDT
Lynn says:
I loved reading your review.

Posted on Apr 1, 2014 5:08:13 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 1, 2014 5:08:23 AM PDT]

Posted on Oct 15, 2015 7:45:10 AM PDT
J. Quealy says:
thank you so much for your thoughtful review, I am glad the book helped you as it has me.

Posted on Oct 17, 2015 7:29:14 PM PDT
J. Miller says:
I very much agree with your review. I'd been reading Buddhist texts and practicing mindfulness for a while when I experienced the sudden and shattering loss of the man I had shared my life with for 19 years. I had never been so utterly grief-stricken. A mutual friend of ours recommended this book. It was still the early phase of the grieving process for me, and I was brought to tears numerous times by the simple profound beauty of what TNH was saying. I had to keep stopping and coming back to the book, but it really resonated deeply with me. It's been almost a year and a half since I read it, and I'd like to re-visit it now that I'm not in such a fragmented and fragile state of mind. This book and the Buddhist philosophy in general has been a great source of comfort to me. I don't think I would have dealt with my grief as 'well' as I have if it had not been for both of them.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 17, 2015 8:39:36 PM PDT
J. Quealy says:
I hope it continues to be a comfort to you, as it is for me.
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