We’ll be publishing Devamitra’s wonderful new memoir, Entertaining Cancer, in just a few weeks’ time. We’re making Entertaining Cancer available for pre-order now, so you can get your copy as soon as it’s released.
In Entertaining Cancer Devamitra describes the discomforts and indignities of being treated for prostate cancer. He also draws on the deep well of his Buddhist practice to work with his mind and meet fear, uncertainty and frailty with resolve. It is an entertaining read, full of wit and fantastically funny dialogue.
In the Upajjhatthana Sutta the Buddha exhorts his followers to reflect frequently on five facts of life, the full realisation of which leads to liberation. These five facts are known as the Five Remembrances. The first three state that we are all subject to ageing, illness and death, and that there is no way to avoid them. The insights Devamitra shares in Entertaining Cancer are of value not only to those currently living with cancer or another life-threatening illness, but to all of us.
Praise for Entertaining Cancer
‘A compelling book… that straddles a wide range of emotions: gruelling, funny, poignant and uplifting… whilst always maintaining a uniquely wry, even amused, perspective on life and death.’
– Vidyamala Burch, co-founder of Breathworks, author of Living Well with Pain and Illness and Mindfulness for Health
‘Devamitra tells the story of prostate cancer, and how his Buddhist practice met the challenges of diagnosis and treatment, even how cancer led to the deepening of his practice and his love of life.’
– Maitreyabandhu, author of Life with Full Attention and The Journey and the Guide
Excerpt from Entertaining Cancer
“When I returned home, Gus was in the kitchen. ‘I got my fifth chemo!’, I announced, delightedly, grateful to have been treated. He laughed.
‘I can’t think of anybody else who would be so pleased about that!’ I could understand, yet I also wondered why. Although such thinking will be alien to many, Buddhist or not, is chemo not a secret blessing?
The overriding purpose of my life is to change for the better in the light of the Buddhist ideal of Enlightenment. But human beings rarely achieve new heights of humanity outside the context of suffering – which is just one reason why Buddhist tradition highlights life’s harsher realities.
This is neither pessimism nor a denial of human happiness, but an acknowledgement that, however happy we might generally be, we cannot avoid unpleasant experience.
Suffering is the great challenge life throws in our faces, as if to say, ‘deal with that!’ In riposte, Buddhist tradition urges, ‘Use it to your benefit; make the most of adversity!’ Early in my Buddhist life I had learned that, if I could remain positive when facing life’s difficult moments, this would transform my experience, making it easier to bear; more importantly, it would transform me.
When diagnosed with cancer, I had few options if I wished to survive. I could see no alternative to the treatments I had been prescribed; I certainly would have preferred not to be subjected to them, but I had made my choice, and it would be pointless to bemoan my fate. Even after four rounds of chemo, I had already been severely tried and tested, and my weaknesses had been exposed. As a consequence, my self- knowledge had deepened in a way that might not otherwise have been possible. Should I not therefore be pleased to have been given this opportunity and welcome it, as I try to do, with my customary enthusiasm and optimism?”
BookSource closed next week
Our distributors, BookSource, will be closed for stock taking next week (w/c 17th January 2022). You will still be able to place orders via our website next week, but they won’t dispatch until the following week (w/c 24th January 2022).