"The Buddha in Hell! What kind of sense is that?"
Behind all the joyful personal stories of being close to death and going to heaven, there is a rarely discussed fact: that a significant minority of near-death experiences (NDEs) are unpleasant. They may be frightening, alienating, guilt-producing, and/or hellish, and they pack the same voltage of emotional and spiritual power as the beautiful ones.
The images in those experiences are as old as myths and as recent as the nearest emergency room. Their interpretations shape religions and philosophies, New Testament doctrines and New Age ideas, video games and movies. For centuries, theyhave been understood as proof of the hell described by medieval Christianity.
Is that hell the only explanation? Most of those interpretations assume the experiences exist as punishment. What if evidence shows that's not entirely true?
Over more than forty years, Nancy Evans Bush has emerged as a leading voice in the search for answers to these questions. Her first book, Dancing Past the Dark, was a research-based description of distressing near-death experiences and their place in the cultural scene. Now The Buddha in Hell and Other Alarms draws on questions from her blog, conference audiences, and correspondence over the years to build a framework for a more personal discussion of perspectives not often seen in the literature. Her material is presented in three sections:
Longtime readers know her writing as intelligent, engaging, and readable, respecting both religion and science in the age of the Hubble universe. One reader says, "In the wake of all the mainstream 'Heavenly tourism' pablum, this book should get plenty of attention. It will be one of only two books of its kind. Both written by the same author." Another writes, "Your first book was a life raft for my soul. Hoping I'll make it to safety with your next book."
Here it is: The Buddha in Hell and Other Alarms: Distressing Near-Death Experiences in Perspective.
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Nancy Evans Bush, MA, President Emerita of the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS), has for almost forty years been a voice for the substantial minority of near-death experiencers who encounter fear, guilt, and even terror rather than heavenly realms. A long-time editor of the IANDS magazine, Vital Signs, and author of the first study of children's NDEs and numerous articles for the Journal of Near-Death Studies and other publications, she is the author of Dancing Past the Dark: Distressing Near-Death Experiences and The Buddha in Hell and Other Alarms: Distressing and Hellish Near-Death Experience in Perspective. She holds a BA in English from SUNY (Albany) and an MA in Pastoral Ministry from St. Joseph University (Connecticut). The mother of three adult children and grandmother of seven, she is now semi-retired and lives in coastal North Carolina, USA.Review:
What pre-publication readers are saying: "Fantastic. Very eloquent and interesting." "Lucid, articulate, and pithy" "In the wake of all the mainstream 'Heavenly tourism' pablum, this book should get plenty of attention. It will be one of only two books of its kind. Both written by the same author. "I have PTSD, and know others (some veterans and some not), and while this book is written with NDErs in mind, I can't tell you how much this has helped me." ..".triggered the reaction, 'She sure got that right.' Well done." What readers and reviewers said about Dancing Past the Dark: "Absolutely enthralling- literary, adventurous, incisive, informative and smart..."Steve Volk, journalist and author "This superbly written book situates near-death experiences (NDEs), and particularly distressing ones, within the larger contexts of image, symbol, and mystical experience. When seen in this way the distressing NDE becomes transformed from fear and dread into an opportunity for personal growth and spiritual exploration. Once I started into it I couldn't put it down. MommaG (Amazon review) "What we have all been waiting for. Masterful...a must for any experiencer. P.M.H.Atwater, NDE researcher and author "An outstanding piece of work," Wayne Rollins, MDiv, PhD, theologian, Jungian scholar, author"
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