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Friday, July 01, 2005

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: The Spiritual Classic & International Bestseller; Revised and Updated Edition
by Sogyal Rinpoche, Patrick D. Gaffney, Andrew Harvey

In 1927, Walter Evans-Wentz published his translation of an obscure Tibetan Nyingma text and called it the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Popular Tibetan teacher Sogyal Rinpoche has transformed that ancient text, conveying a perennial philosophy that is at once religious, scientific, and practical. Through extraordinary anecdotes and stories from religious traditions East and West, Rinpoche introduces the reader to the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism, moving gradually to the topics of death and dying. Death turns out to be less of a crisis and more of an opportunity. Concepts such as reincarnation, karma, and bardo and practices such as meditation, tonglen, and phowa teach us how to face death constructively. As a result, life becomes much richer. Like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Sogyal Rinpoche opens the door to a full experience of death. It is up to the reader to walk through. --Brian BruyaThe Tibetan Book of Living and DyingThe Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

From Publishers Weekly
This modern interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead outlines a path for spiritual growth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

> Paperback: 425 pages
> Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Reprint edition (April 22, 1994)
> Language: English

What Do Others Think About The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Mindful revelations, December 19, 2004
Reviewer: fantasykosmiceye


This is one of the best books I have read since reading the black and red book on The tibetan book of the dead in the 60's. Insightful and up there with sorting out what is this from what is that. Not for the timid, nor someone who is out of touch with Tibetian ethics in my opinion. I have studied for some years and had a little trouble,but it came around when I seriously dug in. I myself am in the midst of suffering a deadly disease(a lone buddhist at that in this town) that I must say this book has lifted my spirits and set straight the path I was taking in a better light. I especially like the part about how we can create duality ourselves or not. Finally an in- depth book on recognizing exactly when thoughts and emotions arise,how to avoid creating duality, and about accepting thoughts or rejecting them and why. I feel it is one of the more important books out there for the dying or those who tend to the dying(wish more Drs would read this),or suffering. Insightful, has become permanent part of my library.thank you Sogyal Rinpoche and all enlightened beings.

Extremely Useful., September 19, 2002
Reviewer: harendra desai (Bombay, India)


Whenever I read a book, I generally use highlighter and underliner to mark the sentences and words that convey the true meaning and essence of what the author wants to say. While reading The Tibetan Book of Living And Dying, I had to stop using the highlighter after a few pages only as the most of the words on each page were worthy of being highlighted. Indeed, the author has said so much precious on every page that a reader must read and re-read the book and with every reading she/he gets more and more knowing.The subject of death has been most puzzling and perplexing to humankind since the time immemorial. The Eastern way of looking at the death as only a 'transition' is explained by the author in a profoundly simple manner. The book certainly helps one to understand the true meaning of the phenomena called death. This understanding helps one to reduce the irrational fear of death. From the lives of the great men and women we know that those who 'lived' a life can only meet the 'death' with equnimity. Thus the author has first taught the art of 'living'. It is only through right type of living that we can 'live' the death also.
I suggest that this book be read by all the Buddhist as well as by non buddhists also. Every one who reads it will find something for him/her.
I salute Sogyal Rinpoche for giving us a wonderful gift of THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING.

Entering a new realm..., January 17, 2005
Reviewer: Nothing new "biased_perspective" (United States)


I consider this book a new awakening. What you know is changed by the books you read and this book is that essence. To consider the afterlife is one step, and to accept what others note about the afterlife is part of the second step. To provide the depth that Sogyal does is rewarding to the reader. I felt as if I was going through the stages Sogyal mentions. Although long, I felt as if the reading engaged me and led to me wanting to know what was next. Recommended...

My Favorite Book, January 6, 2005
Reviewer: Richard L. Weissman (FL United States)


This is the best book on Tibetan Buddhism I have ever read. It introduces the Western reader to all of the foundational tenets in Tibetan Buddhism - impermanence, compassion, karma, etc.
Having subsequently read numerous Tibetan Buddhist texts, I still recommend this book first to anyone interested in the topic.
It is traditionally authentic and simultaneously oriented specifically to the Western reader - this is due to the fact that Rinpoche is a Tibetan master that started out as a Tibetan-English translator for the great masters of the 1970s and 1980's and he has lived in the West and taught Buddhism to Westerners for decades.

A necessary read for seekers..., October 23, 2000
Reviewer: Dale A. Blanchard "Friendly Spirit" (Ohio USA)


My bookshelves are filled with books on many topics, including death and dying and spirituality -- this book might be the only book I really need.

For years I have thought I must read the Tibetan Book of the Dead -- but whenever I tried, it was much too complicated for me to understand.

Sogyal Rinpoche has written this book so that it is easily understood by anyone, even us Westerners, without compromising any of the Buddhist teachings it offers.

In essence, we begin to die the moment we are born. We spend this life preparing to die well. Nothing is permanent, but we spend much of our lives filling our time with activities and pursuits that help us elude ourselves into thinking that what we see and touch is all that matters.

Sogyal Rinpoche says, "To follow the path of wisdom has never been more urgent or more difficult. Our society is dedicated almost entirely to the celebration of ego, with all its sad fantasies about success and power, and it celebrates those very forces of greed and ignorance that are destroying the planet. It has never been more difficult to hear the unflattering voice of the truth, and never more difficult, once having heard it, to follow it: because there is nothing in the world around us that supports our choice, and the entire society in which we live seems to negate every idea of sacredness or eternal meaning. So at the time of our most acute danger, when our very future is in doubt, we as human beings find ourselves at our most bewildered, and trapped in a nightmare of our own creation."

He writes about the importance of realizing the interconnectedness of all living beings (including nature), of meditation (and gives instructions and advice), of finding and being devoted to a good master (something very difficult for Westerners to accept -- he acknowledges that there are fraudulent ones about), of learning to live and learning to die, of letting go of egos and becoming egolessness. Throughout the book, he tells of female masters as well as males, something female readers may greatly appreciate.

Sogyal Rinpoche is from Tibet, and speaks of the cruelty of the Chinese to the Tibetan Buddhists (very similar to the persecution of the early christians, and later the Jews by the Nazis -- when will we ever learn, but then that's the point of this book!)

In the last section of the book, he speaks of "The Universal Process" which is about spirituality, living and dying of all humans, regardless of race, spiritual beliefs, gender or national origin. There are in the back two mantras with explanations and he shares photographs of his beloved masters. Throughout the book are inspiring poems from such poets as Rumi and St. Francis of Assisi, as well as Buddhists. In the very back he gives suggested readings, and offers phone numbers and addresses of Rigpa National Office, where those who are interested can find referrals to cources and study groups in the US, Canada and around the world.

This book is a very good place for the seeker to begin. For those curious about Buddhism, or seriously interested in becoming a Buddha or a Buddhist, or just looking for more thoughts and information on death and dying, this book is excellent, easy to understand, thought-provoking.

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: The Spiritual Classic & International Bestseller; Revised and Updated EditionThe Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

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