The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Liberation Through Understanding in the Between

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9781855384125: The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Liberation Through Understanding in the Between
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The preeminent Buddhist scholar in the west offers a revolutionary treatment of this beloved classic.

Robert Thurman offers a much needed practical look at how to put the wisdom of this ancient text to work in our lives and when we have to face death.

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Review:

Imagine that as you leave your body at death, you hear the voice of a loved one whispering in your ear explanations of everything you see in the world beyond. Unlike other translations of the Bar do thos grol, the so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead, Robert Thurman's takes literally the entire gamut of metaphysical assumptions. The Bar do thos grol, or as Thurman translates, The Great Book of Natural Liberation through Understanding in the Between, is but one of many mortuary texts of Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is commonly recited to or by a person facing imminent death. Thurman reproduces it for this purpose, explaining in some depth the Tibetan conception of post-mortem existence. Over as many as 12 days, the deceased person is given explanations of what he or she sees and experiences and is guided through innumerable visions of the realms beyond to reach eventual liberation, or, failing that, a safe rebirth. Like a backpacker's guide to a foreign land, Thurman's version is clear, detailed, and sympathetic to the inexperienced voyager, including background and supplementary information, even illustrations (sorry, no maps). Don't wait until the journey has begun, every page should be read and memorised well ahead of time. --Brian Bruya

From the Back Cover:

'The Tibetan Book of the Dead' has been renowned for centuries as a classic of Buddhist wisdom and religious thought. More recently, it has become highly influential in the Western world for its psychological insights into the processes of death and dying – and what they teach us about the ways in which we live our lives. It has also been found to be helpful in the grieving process.

Composed in the eighth century , it is intended as an aid to preparing for the trials and transformations of the afterworld. Its profound message is that the art of dying is as important as the art of living. Drawing on Tibetan spiritual traditions, it shows us the workings of the mind in its various manifestations – terrifying and comforting, wrathful and beautiful – which appear more clearly after death in the consciousness of the deceased. By recognising these manifestations, we can attain a state of enlightenment, both in this existence and in the existence to come.

This authoritative new translation preserves the form and spirit of the original and was prepared especially for Western readers by Robert A. F. Thurman, one of the world’s most eminent Buddhist scholars and a close associate of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. Its introduction to Buddhist beliefs, instructions in meditation, illuminating commentary, and guidance in the practical use of Tibetan wisdom make it the most accessible and informative version available in English.

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