Caroline Brazier's THE OTHER BUDDHISM arrived from Amazon two days before David Brazier's WHO LOVES DIES WELL. In four days I read them both. I thought THE OTHER BUDDHISM was an excellent, psychologically-based introduction to Amida Pureland Buddhism, and I commended it highly in a review. For other reasons entirely I highly commend WHO LOVES DIES WELL.
Written from a deeply personal perspective occasioned both by repeated requests for an introduction to Amidism (Amida Pureland Buddhism) and the author's experience of the last week of his mother's life, WHO LOVES DIES WELL is an unique book. It is about Amidism, and it is about dying, and it is about love, but it is above all a testament to lives translucent to grace. As such it qualifies as inspirational literature, but its excellence lies above all in its honesty, depth of emotion, and surprising lack of easy sentimentality. I've read nothing quite like it, especially in Buddhist writing.
Amida Pureland Buddhism is a recent evolution of Jodo Buddhism, the oldest Pure Land school in Japan. As such, there are presently few Amidist sanghas in existence, and those in England and on the continent. Whether Amidism will appeal to greater numbers worldwide is unknown. But as a spirituality, Amidism may well influence Buddhists who congregate with -- say -- Quakers or Unitarians.
Of the two dozen or so books on Buddhism I've read, WHO LOVES DIES WELL comes closer than any to a true testament to infinite light and life of grace.
P.S. This book really blossoms with a second reading. For the first, you are present for the death and liberation of a noble spirit. While you encounter Pureland Buddhism through the telling of this tale you experience it more as a supporting player. On the second reading, once you've lived through this week in the life of Irene Brazier and The Buddhist House, the Pureland faith itself becomes the subject. That is when Dharmavidya David Brazier's passion for eternal life in the face of death rises from the page and you -- the reader -- become swept up in the expanse of his vision.