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Lotus in the Fire Paperback – Feb 9 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
In this remarkable document, Canadian writer Bedard tells how his Zen Buddhist faith helped him overcome terminal cancer. Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 1995, and given just seven to 10 days to live, Bedard drew upon meditation, prayer, introspection and chanting during months of hospitalization that included devastating rounds of chemotherapy, gallbladder surgery, radiotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. For Bedard, an ex-Catholic turned Buddhist, a vegetarian and a former martial arts teacher who works at the Toronto Zen Center, illness became a spiritual crisis that broke down walls of stubborn self-reliance, egoism, attachment and perfectionism. Now in complete remission, he describes his uncanny out-of-body experiences while in an ICU, as well as a near-death experience that he claims took him to otherworldly realms, confirming his belief that death is only a transition period before one's next rebirth. Through the prism of his harrowing ordeal, he illumines Buddhist concepts of compassion, balance and mind/body unity. Bedard's conviction that karma from present and past lifetimes contributed to causing his disease is a diagnosis with which many will disagree, yet his riveting, taut and very moving survivor's story will appeal to readers of all faiths. A wake-up call to live life to the fullest, told with modest understatement and no New Age jargon, his book will inspire patients and their families coping with illness, as well as anyone coming to terms with death.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
In late August 1995, a 42-year-old father of four listened in disbelief as his doctor pronounced a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. He might have fewer than two weeks to live. In this intimate, sobering, sometimes frightening account, Canadian martial artist Bedard chronicles the precipitous deterioration of his health, life-threatening chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the excruciating pain caused by his damaged gallbladder, and several battles with imminent death. More than a celebration of his eventual victory over the disease, this book offers a real message of spiritual growth and hope. Throughout his year-long ordeal, he drew upon years of Zen practice, particularly his understanding of the law of karma, and the loving support of his family, his Zen teacher, and the Buddhist community. A powerful, personal testimony suitable for popular collections on death and dying.AJames R. Kuhlman, Univ. of North Carolina at Asheville Lib.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
While the experiences written about in this book explain how this one man used his exposure and grounding in the spiritual practice of Zen Buddhism to help him get through his unthinkable physical ordeal, the alert reader will notice that spiritual practice, whatever it may by, can not only help us transcend such trials in our lives, but also help us to understand and experience our practice in a deeper and more profound way such that it becomes a life transforming event in itself.
What Jim Bedard's experience of fighting AML taught him and what he struggled to understand were the very truths he had worked with in Zen, only this time in a life-threatening, three dimensional way. At one point he admits that, "Each of us had to do the work of awakening to our true Mind by ourselves; no one was going to do it for us."
He was in essence put up against a solid wall, his own mortality, and asked to look inside himself for the key to his release.Read more ›
The indignations of procedures and reactions are vividly recalled. He tells of the everyday back and forth torment of his inner dialogue from his human state of suffering, feelings, thoughts and sensations, etc. to the divine acceptance of taking refuge in his Zen practices. The reader is riveted with attention as he weaves back and forth ackowledging the human suffering and then expanding to other realms of existence where he gained new insights from the perspective of the ill and the divine.
His continuing responsibilities and concerns about his family along with their daily adjustments and his brother's ultimate gift in the form of a bone marrow transplant are part of this engaging story. Their watch at his bedside and his mother's strong faith became anchors of strength along with the stoic presence of his father and other siblings.
His illness becomes his spiritual practice while he continues to touch lives from his hospital bed. Encounters with the terminally ill and their families and his extending of unconditional love to them by example is evident as they are allowed glimpses into the life of a devoted buddhist practitioner. He sets up his own altar in his hospital room as his spiritual practices sustain him. He engages the bodhisattvic vows which culminate in his gradual transition from the hell realms back into the world transformed in the midst of his critical illness.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I kept wanting him to quit this brutal fight. Something for me to look at. Well written. Shone fresh light on the concept of Karma in action for me. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2014 by Susan Lewis
Wow. What an amazing book. I am so glad the author Jim Bedard shared his experience. The book was so moving, so heartfelt. Read morePublished on March 26 2010 by Amy VG
i couldn't put this book down. it makes you be greatful for the little things in life. recommend highly!Published on Dec 6 2003 by alicia Sin.
I am at 15 year old homschooled girl in Maryland. I have been researching buddhism for the past few months. Read morePublished on Nov. 3 1999
This is the most moving book I have read in some time. It sums up what courage and faith are all about. Read morePublished on June 16 1999
I was injured in a car accident almost two years ago. Nine months later I spontaneously came to Zen. Read morePublished on April 4 1999 by Barbara Alsop (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Arriving at the emergency room of an Ontario hospital to treat what he believed to be an allergy resulting in some minor swelling of his hands and ankles, Jim Bedard discovers that... Read morePublished on March 20 1999
This is a travel guide to a place we would never wish to visit, but to which we might be summoned at any moment. Read morePublished on March 17 1999 by Casey Frank
Mr. Bedard offers an inspirational account of his battle with acute myeloid leukemia. He weaves the story of his illness into the context of his faith, Zen Buddhism. Mr. Read morePublished on March 17 1999
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