Timothy O. Benedict, “Spiritual Ends: Religion and the Heart of Dying in Japan” (U California Press, 2022)

Timothy Benedict’s Spiritual Ends: Religion and the Heart of Dying in Japan (U California Press, 2023) is an exploration of spiritual care in the context of the Japanese hospice. The book is rooted in Benedict’s experience as a hospice chaplain in Japan and his extensive fieldwork and interviews with patients, medical personnel, and other chaplains. The author thoughtfully problematizes the application of ideas about spiritual care in end-of-life care that are not necessarily well rooted in the culture and life experience of Japanese patients, and proposes that greater attention should be paid to the care of the heart-mind (kokoro) as a central concept for attending to their needs. In this sense, Spiritual Ends contributes to a better understanding of the ways in which specific beliefs and practices of religion, spirituality, and medicine affect both patients and their loved ones on the one hand and the institutions providing end-of-life care on the other.

This book is available open access here

Nathan Hopson is an associate professor of Japanese language and history in the University of Bergen’s Department of Foreign Languages.

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