Posts about Coffinman: The Journal of a Buddhist Mortician written by Scott W. Smith. This story looks at one man’s very personal struggle to engage his Shin Buddhist faith to make sense of his experiences with the dead and dying. Shinmon Aoki. This is the true diary of a Buddhist mortician. His reflections on death and dying draw deeply on his faith as a Shin Buddhist, as well as on his appreciation of.
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Coffinman : the journal of a Buddhist mortician (Book, ) 
Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Coffinman by Shinmon Aoki. This story looks at one man’s very personal struggle to engage his Shin Buddhist faith to make sense of his experiences with the dead and dying.
Shinmon Aoki is forced by extreme financial circumstances into a job in one of the most despised professions in Japanese society, that of the nokanfu, one who washes and prepares dead bodies for burial. Shunned by family and frien This mprtician looks at one man’s very personal struggle to engage his Shin Buddhist faith to make sense of his coffinmxn with the dead and dying. Shunned by family and friends and burdened by his own initial revulsion for his work, Aoki throws himself into the job with a fervour that attracts the attention of the townsfolk and earns him the title of Coffinman.
In this spiritual autobiography, Aoki chronicles his progression from repulsion to a gradual realisation of the tranquillity that accompanies death. He buddhis the uninitiated in gaining an understanding of the basic principles of Shin Buddhism and its concepts of death and dying.
Also included are definitions of key terms and phrases and a bibliography. Looks at one man’s very personal hhe to engage his Shin Buddhist faith to make sense of his experiences with the dead and dying.
The author chronicles his progression from repulsion to a gradual realisation of the tranquillity that accompanies death. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Coffinmanplease sign up.
Lists with This Book. Dec 19, Melissa rated it liked it Shelves: Shinmon Aoki writes about his job as a Shin Buddhist mortician. He explains how death is a taboo subject and working with the dead is frowned up and dishonorable.
Coffinman : the journal of a Buddhist mortician
He explains the mortlcian beliefs of Shin Buddhism, especially about their belief in death and afterlife. Aoki includes beautiful poetry and the way he wrote was just as poetical. There are three sections and overall it is a short book. I did enjoy it but I lost a bit of interest in the end.
Coffinman: The Journal of a Buddhist Mortician
I think this is the first book of a Morticia Shinmon Aoki writes about his job as a Shin Buddhist mortician. I think this is the first book of a Mortician from a different culture that we do not know a lot about. Aug 06, Michael-Ann Cerniglia rated it really liked it Shelves: Coffinman, by Shinmon Aoki, is the memoir of a Shin Buddhist mortician. This short, albeit deeply philosophical, work is broken into three parts: Through these experiences, which are paired with beautiful poetry, he reveals threads of Buddhist beliefs, which are eventually wo This review was originally written for the NCTA Teacher Materials Database.
Through these experiences, which are paired with beautiful poetry, he reveals threads of Buddhist beliefs, which are eventually woven together in a way that feels simultaneously fragmented and complete. Aoki seeks to share the beliefs of Shin Buddhism through the way in which people experience life and possibly more importantly death.
The first two parts of the book read in a tone that is a combination of conversation and stream of consciousness, combined with occasional humor. What appears to be random vignettes of memory come together, sometimes subtly, to illustrate complex Buddhist philosophy and pose deeper questions about — not the value of life, but— the value of death.
Ultimately, the memoir leaves the impact of profound understanding and deep seeded questions that stir the heart and mind to seek more. The shifting titles may be confusing to the Western layperson, but appropriate for something so obscure and intangible. Additionally, his use of literature and poetry to compliment the exposition of Shin Buddhism and Japanese culture guides the reader to clarity and reflection.
Initially developing the concept of the Light as he experiences it in his work as the Coffinman, he delves into the complex analysis of Light as an expression of the Big Bang, quantum physics, God, Amida Buddha, and the by-product of death. Though the last part is a heavy read, and I almost felt tricked into it by the meandering tales of coffins and death at the fore, I willingly continued my fall into the intricate and holistic examination of the Shin Buddhist vision of the hereafter.
I plan to use this memoir with Grade 12 students in a course about world religions; it would also be appropriate for Grade 11, and possibly for a small and mature group of Grade 10 students. It is an excellent resource and discussion point to talk about basic elements of Buddhism, as well as introduce students to a different branch and school of Buddhism than they may be exposed to through introductory courses.
The book begs discussion and should only be incorporated into a course if there is ample time for dialogue. As I read the book, I did not come up with a list of topics to teach—for the book does a good job of explaining the core concepts—but, rather, I found myself generating a list of questions to ask students.
Beyond the religious revelations, the memoir introduces cultural norms which can only be looked at through the discussion of death and the divergent views attached to it by societies and times. Aug 30, Jasy Au is currently reading it.
The movie brought back a lot of memories to me. Hope to get hold of a copy to read. Nov 06, Leanne rated it it was amazing. This is the book that the Japanese film, Departures, was based on. The film is light-hearted and heart-warming. The book is that and so much more. I cannot recommend it enough. A kind of accidental mortician, Shinmon Aoki has much to say about death and dying–and his meditation on the subject is supremely life-affirming.
It is just an incredible story about a man who becomes a mortician not by any plan but because he cannot find any other job. But in the process of doing this job, his Buddhist fa This is the book that the Japanese film, Departures, was based on. But in the process of doing this job, his Buddhist faith blossoms in a very beautiful and perhaps unexpected way.
And he becomes much more sensitive to life. There is a long tradition in Japan of meditating on death. One of my favorite stories by Tanizaki, Captain Shigemoto’s Mother has the father of Captain Shigemoto taking refuge in religion after being left heartbroken at the loss of his very young wife. In order to rid himself of his ceaseless desire of her, he takes to visiting exposed grave sites so that he can meditate on rotting corpses.
This is called the Contemplation of Impurity. Arthur C Brooks, in the New York Times, wrote a bit about the Contemplation of Impurity in a piece he did earlier this year, called To be happier start thinking more about your death. The Buddha himself was said to have meditated in this way–gazing at corpses.
It is said to help one move beyond the demands of the body especially lust. Satipatthana Sutta If a monk sees a corpse dead one, two, or three days—swollen, blue and festering—he should think: And if a monk sees a corpse thrown in the charnel ground, being eaten by crows, hawks, vultures, dogs, jackals or by different kinds of worms—Or a body reduced to a skeleton, with some flesh and blood attached to it, held together by the tendons—Or a skeleton, blood-besmeared and without flesh—Or reduced to disconnected bones, scattered in all directions—here a hand bone, there a foot bone, a shin bone, a thigh bone; the pelvis, spine and skull—He should apply this perception to his own body.
With Buddhism, Christianity shares a love of relics and an abhorrence of corporeality. Charles Taylor says that a life properly lived affirms death and destruction.
Indeed, Plato insisted in the Phaedo: Death is not something that should be hidden away or brushed under the rug, says the accidental mortician. He says in a culture that focuses exclusively on youth, health and the living, we end up somehow less alive. Sep 07, Dan rated it really liked it. This one is well outside my traditional milieu, but well worth the time and patience to experience Aoki’s unique worldview shaped by his work as a Buddhist mortician. Any comments I add here about Buddhism, the Inconceivable Light, or Aoki’s inferences or interpretations would fail to capture the serenity of his words, so I’ll share two passages: You This one is well outside my traditional milieu, but well worth the time and patience to experience Aoki’s unique worldview shaped by his work as a Buddhist mortician.
You try to make up for it by doing it for the money. As long as you go around thinking there is money to be made from this dirty line of business, whatever the job might be, people around you will always look down on you for it.
The only thing they want is a person with eyes like the clear blue sky and who is as transparent as the wind. View all 3 comments. Feb 20, Rebeca F. Written in a lyric, intimist and deeply poignant prose, it narrates the evolution in the view of the author since he starts working as a coffinman, first out of necessity with a bit of reluctance and then out of belief, dedication and love. It weaves together his experiences dealing with different bodies, families and situations with his reflections on mourning, human nature, religion, philosophy, art and ultimately life itself, questioning the way we face avoid death Absolutely breathtaking.
It weaves together his experiences dealing with different bodies, families and situations with his reflections on mourning, human nature, religion, philosophy, art and ultimately life itself, questioning the way we face avoid death nowadays. As someone who discovered shin buddhism along its journey, the author ponders about nature, life and death from the perspective of this doctrine, offering a glimpse of a beautiful world unknown to most western readers.
A must for those interested in antropothanatology. Jul 28, AJ Dreadfulwater rated it really liked it Shelves: An intriguing account of thoughts from a Buddhist mortician Some thoughts may be lost in translation from Japanese to English, but “once you’ve got the gist of it, there’s no need to read into every little thing, the workings Mar 27, Aaron rated it really liked it Shelves: For the most part, enlightening.
The discourse of COFFINMAN crosses paths of budrhist texts, transcendental poetry, and even everyday fiction, and all in the name of trying to understand how and why people are so anxious about death. This journal repurposed as book does not consistently dwell on any of the beforementioned subjects to the point where I was truly satisfied.
Like any other journal, most entries are but a taste of what’s going on inside the author’s head. And as such, many of Aoki’s finest writings are interrupted by the reality that there are, quite simply, other things to talk about. Is life merely an intrusion upon the continuum of death?