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The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  3,548 Ratings  ·  200 Reviews
The Bardo Thötröl is a Tibetan Buddhist scripture of the Nyingma or old tradition. It concerns the nature of the mind and its projections--beautiful or terrible, peaceful or wrathful--which seem to exist objectively and inhabit the external world. In particular it describes these projections as they appear immediately after death, in a much more overwhelming form since the ...more
Paperback, Shambhala Dragon Edition, 120 pages
Published October 10th 2000 by Shambhala (first published 1350)
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mike
Dec 12, 2007 mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i was about 3/4 done with this book when my car was stolen, the book was in the car. i got the car back two days later, but no tibetan book of the dead. hopefully some car thief will have greater understanding on his journey through the next bardo.
Emtiaj
Sep 26, 2015 Emtiaj rated it really liked it
এই বইটা পড়ার সাথে কষটকর কোন ভরমণের তুলনা করতে পারি। সিরিয়াস রকমের কষট। পরচুর টারম আছে, মনে রাখতে হয়। এক পৃষঠায় পড়লাম তো পরের পৃষঠা যেতে যেতেই ভুলে গেলাম। বযাপারটা খুব বিরকতিকর। মূল অনুবাদে যাওয়ার আগে যে লেখাটা আছে সেটা পড়া মাতরাতিরিকত কষটের। আসলে পড়া শেষে আমার কথা হচছে, আবার পড়তে হবে।

আর একটা বযাপার হচছে, খুব কষুদর একটা সময়কে অসংখয ভাগে ভাগ করে সেই কষুদর সময়ের বিশাল বরণনাকে কিভাবে দেখে কেউ? আমি এই বইটাকে আবদধ কষেতরে ঘুরপাক খাওয়ার সাথেই তুলনা করতে পারি।

বইটার বিষয়বসতু কী? একটা মানুষ মরে গেল। সব কি
...more
Stacey
Sep 08, 2010 Stacey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed this book. Better than I expected, and actually easy to read. Although I'm pretty doubtful that these things exactly happen to you after you die (just how exactly does the author know about all these intricate details!), I still believe in a lot of the concepts it presents, not only for thinking about post-death, but also in this lifetime. The worst thing to fear is fear itself! And your after-life is dictated by the state of your mind in the present life. If you are an angry or ...more
Helen
Feb 24, 2009 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: David Calcutt, Sylwia Czort, Peter Tinkler, Emma Hills, Emma Skipp
I have read the Tibetan book of the Dead, but I haven't. To read it once, isn't to read it at all. It takes time, effort, and a particular frame of mind, to truly get to grips with the text. You can take from it what you need, or take all of it, and make of it what you will. I find it very difficult to write a 'review' of the Tibetan Book of the dead. Listen to 'Tomorrow Never Knows' by The Beatles. The choral sounds in this music, reflect (only a little) the spirit of this masterpiece.
Erik Graff
Aug 25, 2008 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those really serious about Tibetan Buddhism
Recommended to Erik by: Michael Miley
Shelves: religion
The YMCA in Park Ridge obtained a new youth counselor after my graduation from Maine South H.S. Jim H. had become a bit of a celebrity amongst our friends, "the Hippies of Hodges Park", by the time of one of my visits home from Grinnell College and we became acquainted. During the summer of 1971 he was reassigned to a YMCA camp in the border lakes region of Northern Minnesota, Camp Wakonda on Lake Vermillion, and had given a general invitation to any and all of us to visit him up there.

Thus it h
...more
Angie
May 22, 2009 Angie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism, university, 2007
"Then the Lord of Death will drag you by a rope tied round your neck, and cut off your head, tear out your heart, pull out your entrails, lick your brains, drink your blood, eat your flesh and gnaw your bones; but you cannot die, so even though your body is cut into pieces you will recover."

If Buddhism was represented by a bunch of high school cliques, Tibetan Buddhism would be the hardcore bad-asses everyone’s afraid of.

This book is really hard to read simply because of what it’s about: your ex
...more
Nikki
The introduction and the commentary served as a great setup for the text itself, though still didn't prepare me for what I was in for. At first it seemed very different from other Buddhist texts I've read. It definitely didn't have the almost warm-fuzzy, reassuring feeling I get when reading Thich Nhat Hanh's books. But then I was reading through, starting to think the ideas were getting repetitive - I had an epiphany. It's personal and detailed, but it blew open a part of mind. The psychologica ...more
Edward Michael
Mar 03, 2010 Edward Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
the essential preparation to death. Every spiritual seeker must try to understand this extraordinary wisdom and knowledge
Owlseyes
"O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. On the Second Day the pure form of water will shine as a white
light
...
Be not fond of the dull, smoke-coloured light from Hell".




For 49 days after your death, you need guidance in the afterlife until you reach rebirth, be it as man, god...or animal. Move forward, do not cling to the past. You should seek a favorable rebirth, so, you should choose carefully.
D.L. Luke
Apr 17, 2017 D.L. Luke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a must if you have any interest to what begins of your mind, body and soul when you die
Robert Geer
Apr 11, 2012 Robert Geer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: America
Recommended to Robert by: Jeremy Murphy
Pg 224-225
There being no two such things as object of meditation and meditator, if by those who practice or do not practice meditation the meditator of meditation be sought and not found, thereupon the goal of the meditation is reached and also the end of the meditation itself.
There being no two such things as meditation and object of meditation, there is no need to fall under the sway of deeply obscuring Ignorance; for, as the result of meditation upon the unmodified quiescence of mind, the no
...more
Aaron
Whew! This one took a while.

Thurman's articulation (and sometimes analysis) of the art of death preparation through Tibetan Buddhism is patiently layered. His writing is accessible, if complex, and his translation work, though wordy and abstract, is still digestible given range of abstraction he must have waded through.

THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD chronicles the steps necessary to authentically aid an individual's encounters with the many between states of existence. There are two critical facet
...more
Ron Grunberg
Jan 26, 2008 Ron Grunberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What book do I remember reading with more fascination, more dread, more mind-boggling interest? The book takes you on a journey, from the Tibetan perspective, past death, to the journey, according to them, each of us is to take after our lives here. There are long poetic passages, songs, as it were, to be sung by those watching over your body during the aftermath of your life, to help guide you into the nettlesome spiritual world that awaits. Are you prepared? Do you want to be--in case? Well, t ...more
Little Miss Esoteric
I really don't want to write reviews anymore, providing data for amazon, but I seriously wish I'd read this book earlier. Puts metaphysical concepts into context. Also, I'm really not interested in nit picking over the merit of alternate translations. It's clear enough, no matter which way it's told.
Víctor Sampayo
Dec 04, 2013 Víctor Sampayo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La minuciosa descripción de los estados que debe atravesar un difunto desde el momento de su muerte hasta los momentos previos a la reencarnación (en caso de que no alcance la liberación mediante los diversos consejos que se le revelan), es decir, durante su vagabundeo en el samsara, según la concepción budista-tibetana, convierten a este libro en un indispensable de todos los tiempos.
Martin Zook
Nov 17, 2013 Martin Zook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
This might come in useful, if you're going to die; given that it is a manual on dying used by people who have studied death and its processes long before those of us in the west climbed down out of the trees.

Humor aside, this manual typically was/is used by an adept to assist the being shuffling out of the body and into the next series of bardoes (suspensions) on the way either to nirvana, or rebirth/reincarntation.

I came across this particular edition - some swear by others - as a result of my
...more
Vaishali
Sep 21, 2015 Vaishali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ancient-cultures
The translated book of how to transit to the next life after completing this one. In Tibet, the bridge that does this is called a bardo.
Very useful for someone like me who wants precision in bardo-crossing :)
Bad news: the pathway has scores of steps and lasts upto 5 days ! The book was hence written so that a family member/priest can direct the spirit through the bardo's confusion.
Pure, compassionate, and fearless thoughts are the key to successful crossing, which is perhaps why material life h
...more
Sarah
Dec 23, 2016 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism
It seems a little unfair to rate an ancient treasure written by the great Padmasambhava. What kind of jerk gives Manchu Picchu three stars?

I chose this version because earlier versions are said to have some pretty significant flaws in the translation, and this one was done with the blessing and help of Chogyal Norbu, the main living Dogzchen rippoche and Tibetan scholar. The text is clear, easy to understand, and flows well. The introductions in the beginning are helpful to set the historical a
...more
Benjamin Obler
I'm finding Chapter One, An Outline of Tibetan History and Buddhism in Summary, very helpful. I began practicing meditation and reading Buddhist-based self-help books five years ago, but have lacked a clear broad picture of where I'm located in relation to the history of the practice; and I've lacked an understanding of how the evolution of the practice allowed it to reach me. Not that it's been needed for me to know the scope of Buddhist teachings or Tibetan history to benefit from studying the ...more
Jody Mena
Fascinating and thought provoking. It is a very different picture of cosmology than I have ever considered. I am quite certain I did not understand everything here, but the commentaries were incredibly helpful. It is definitely not the sort of thing you can simply read once, I can tell it would require many years of study to truly grasp everything presented here. This structure of psychology and cosmology is a remarkable way to look at the world and at the human experience of life and death. I w ...more
Marla
I want Goodreads to have an "unable to read" selection. How I looked forward to reading these books. So many people spoke so highly of these books, how they devoured them. I now doubt the veracity of their claims. This book had a prologue, a forward, an index to the plates, a commentary...all taking up the first 150 pages of the book. Then the book. The first 10 pages made Alan Watts read like Dr. Seuss. Unreadable. Incredibly dated. Borders on mysticism and New Age (although it predates the New ...more
Carolyn
Jan 10, 2012 Carolyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality, death
Read this again and it left me with the same incomplete feeling as before. The introduction by Fremantle is helpful in a scholarly way; the commentary by Trungpa makes it meaningful. The translation seems dated since in the 21st century it is hard to tolerate using only the male pronoun. That little word can plunge a text right out of "spirituality" and into "religious studies."
An essay by Steven Goodman in the Spring 2012 Inquiring Mind lists his preferred versions by Rbt Thurman, Gyurme Dorje,
...more
tatiana
Feb 28, 2008 tatiana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I've been intrigued but the mystery and mysticism surrounding this book since I was a young girl, but i can glady say that i've finally crossed it off my list of "occult books to read before i die"....and good riddance! i blame much of it on this edition's clunky and otherwise dry-as-a-bone translation, but there was very little about it that could hold my interest for more than a few minutes at a time (which makes for good bathroom reading, i guess? eesh).
Dan
Jul 17, 2007 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Tibetan Buddhism, people with free Tibet shirts on, hippies
This is a good translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, by Uma Thurman's dad.

I found it very interesting to read from a cultural and ethnic standpoint but I did not find it particularly spiritual.

It is like a bed time story that you read to someone who is dying. Which is, in my opinion an interesting religious tradition.
Liza
Oct 14, 2014 Liza rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting read about the Tibetan way of mentally and spiritually preparing for death. It took a lot of concentration to get through the intricacies of part 1, and I admittedly skipped the second part once seeing it was almost all prayers. Still, I enjoyed the "spiritual science" aspect of the text.
Contrail Storey
I read this the summer after my freshman year of college and I can honestly say that this book enhanced the way that I viewed life, perception, and the afterlife. A vivid concept of how the soul could transition from one state to another formed, and I saw the body as a component, or a glove of the higher self to use while visiting Earth. Easily one of my all-time favorites!
Erin
Jun 14, 2007 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The foreword(s) in this book are particularly compelling, giving good insight into the author and his sensibilities. Being Christian, I drew parallels to my own religion, something I have always done but enjoyed seeing written out. It makes you wonder about all religious texts, and is something I would recommend to expand your mind.
Timo Walters
Aug 17, 2009 Timo Walters rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is somewhat difficult to read. Reading this book changed the way I view death and life, not in that it educated me, but that it gave me a vastly different point of view than what I was raised with in a traditional christian home. A hard read with good insight to the foundation beliefs of Tibetan Buddhism.
Andrei Ștefănucă
A quite often over-detailed, esoteric and too repetitive treatise on ultimate balance, life, death and all the potential states through which soul passes from its current existence to the next, whatever it may be and whenever that may take place.
Paul
May 11, 2007 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the first instruction manual ever written about anything. And it is about how to die and enter into the Bardo(the state in between death and rebirth), and attain liberation from Samsara(The circle of suffering, i.e. earth).
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“Practice giving things away, not just things you don't care about, but things you do like. Remember, it is not the size of a gift, it is its quality and the amount of mental attachment you overcome that count. So don't bankrupt yourself on a momentary positive impulse, only to regret it later. Give thought to giving. Give small things, carefully, and observe the mental processes going along with the act of releasing the little thing you liked. (53)
(Quote is actually Robert A F Thurman but Huston Smith, who only wrote the introduction to my edition, seems to be given full credit for this text.)”
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“With mind distracted, never thinking, "Death is coming,"
To slave away on the pointless business of mundane life,
And then to come out empty--it is a tragic error. (116)
trans by Robert Thurman”
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