The first book I read this year was The Art of Dying and it changed my life. The thing that changed my life before this was sitting my first 10-day Vipassana meditation course four years ago.
Art of Dying is a collection of relevant quotes from Buddhist scriptures and Vipassana teachers; some discourses from the 10-day meditation courses; and most importantly essays by, interviews with, reflections of individuals, and families of individuals, who suddenly find themselves struck by terminal illnesses. The common thread between these folks, other than terminal illness, is Vipassana meditation. Their memoirs range from dreading what is to come and being present with the dread to never feeling a shed of fear.
This book is incredibly powerful! And a tear jerker. My take away from the book is to die like these folks did — calm, peaceful, serene, unattached, beaming with radiance, ready for what’s next. Literally.
I say it changed my life because since I read the book not a day has passed when I did not do my 2x one-hour sits. I’ve meditated at 3 AM and 2 PM and I’ve napped if I was too tired to sit, and diligently woken up to sit afterwards. I still don’t have a set daily meditation schedule, but I have unwavering strong determination because of this book!
If you’re interested in getting your hands on this book, try pariyatti. Or your nearest Dhamma center when you’re sitting or serving there next.