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Tibetan Book of the Dead

4.18  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,240 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
The first complete translation of the classic Buddhist text

One of the greatest works created by any culture and overwhelmingly the most significant of all Tibetan Buddhist texts in the West, The Tibetan Book of the Dead has had a number of distinguished but partial translations. Now the entire text has not only been made available in English but also in a translation of

Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 1993 by Bantam (first published 700)
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Dec 12, 2007 mike rated it liked it
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.
Ebblibs Thekstein
Important deluxe edition of a new translation of the full version. This book is not a toy, so it's predictable that a lot of readers will get little or nothing out it, especially if they are looking for entertainment/amusement or a highspeed broadband route to 'enlightenment'.

It is a bit like a person who comes across a roasted fish, eats the bones and leaves the flesh untouched and concludes 'well that wasn't very nourishing'. So ,yes for those people, this book would be useless for them and a
A teaching ostensibly for guiding a dying person through the death-trip by talking them through it, sort of like an air traffic controller. Timothy Leary thought that the esoteric content of this book refers to any natural state of ego-loss, including death, psychedelic experiences and meditation.

The book vividly describes several states of mind that the student passes through, each with their pitfalls and possible escape routes to enlightenment. If the practitioner is skilled, she or he attain
Dec 13, 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
John Brooke
Oct 07, 2012 John Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: inspirational
It was a hard slugging away at the heightened language but well worth my persistence. Many of the thoughts about life and death have stayed with me since I read it the first time 65 years ago. Valuable insights now that I'm 80 and death is looking for me. I intend on reading a modern translated version soon.

A valuable guide to living and dying.
Diamond Cowboy
Jan 10, 2016 Diamond Cowboy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great complete translation of a classic Budist text. These writings teach us how to go through life and death. I recommend this book to all.
Enjoy and be blessed.
Thierry Sagnier
I'm one of those delinquent Buddhists who does not formally practice his faith. I started reading this 30 years ago and recently, after a health scare, picked it up again.

Life, it is said, is a terminal disease. You always die from it. There are no overwhelming revelations here, just a wonderfully coherent manual describing how to prepare yourself for the next Big Event. Whether you believe in reincarnation or transmografying (see Calvin & Hobbes), the book should be read by anyone with an i
Jul 11, 2011 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spot on what I learned in Tibetan monasteries. For your own personal journey about why we are living, and dying, pick it up.

It is a hard read. It is logical and scientific, so if you're not used to Eastern religious text and thinking, it can be too methodical and rigorous. It's not the normal soft tone the Dalai Lama uses in his books, but does so to drive home the deep thought Buddhism has surfaced for this text.
Mohit Misra
Feb 02, 2009 Mohit Misra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow wow wow What a classic.Tibetan philosophy explained with simplicity.Wow wow wow is what I have to say about this book .
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
Jul 31, 2014 Keith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So much better—more accurate, more complete, more scholarly, more Buddhist—than the classic first translation by Theosophist Evans-Wentz, which really only covered one chapter of this authoritative tome. Essential for anyone familiar with what amounts to the granddaddy of Tibetan grimoires whose interest extends beyond mere curiosity.

That said, if what one wants to be doing is "reading the Book of the Dead to one who is deceased," this is probably not the edition to use unless one also has been
Jun 14, 2007 Happydog rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
First new translation of the complete Tibetan Book of the Dead. The important thing to know is that there is probably a reason why it wasn't completely translated before. The long symptom lists of "how you can tell you're dying," might have been useful back when the book came into being but now, they seem either sad, laughable, or a good basis for hypochondria. The part of the book that is most useful are the chapters dealing with the worlds and beings that one encounters after death, and the be ...more
Cassandra Kay Silva
Oct 27, 2010 Cassandra Kay Silva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I am doing a personal comparative study of this and the Egyptian book of the dead simultaneously. After the first two read throughs of this work I was extremely glad for the notes and appendixes provided for the study. I adore Tibetan Buddhism as a religion and culture and can relate very well to their ideas of mind projection in the afterlife, it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "come into the light". I highly suggest if you read this book not to skip over the introduction and so forth i ...more
May 09, 2009 Helen rated it it was amazing
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.
Kevin J. Rogers
Jan 19, 2010 Kevin J. Rogers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm actually always reading this--it's my bedtime book. At some point I'm sure I'll do a thorough review of it, or at least as thorough as would be appropriate for something of this nature. I will say, however, that this translation is excellent, and the Introduction by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is alone worth the price of admission. Truly a lovely book, and very, very inspirational.
Víctor Sampayo
Aug 24, 2015 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.
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
Benjamin Obler
Dec 26, 2014 Benjamin Obler rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Sep 07, 2013 Deniss rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No sabía muy bien qué esperar de este libro. Me lo "recomendaron" (o más bien solo habló de él) una noche en la que, no sé por qué, un amigo y yo terminamos hablando de religión.

La parte en la que describe todo el ritual que se debe hacer con los muertos (o moribundos) me pareció, en primer lugar, bastante tenebrosa. En especial lo de hablar al oído del cadáver. Al avanzar, me di cuenta que era, al mismo tiempo, hermoso y fascinante.

"Pero está prohibido que los parientes y amigos lloren durant
David Roberts
Fascinating exposition of the ancient Buddhist beliefs about what happens, or not, when you die. Full of graphic descriptions fit for a Tim Burton movie, the text describes the many stages of death and the various methods to 1) avoid rebirth, which is the goal, and 2) pick the best womb for your next life if your karmic existence in this one did not provide you with enough juice to avoid another one.

The Buddhists believe that regular meditation on one own mortality is a wise practice and I did f
Skylar Burris
I've made it a point to read a number of different religious writings from a variety of religions. I'm obviously not expecting to agree, religiously, with what I read; I just want to learn about the various religions of the world, enjoy the poetry, and glean what insights I can. Of all the sacred texts I've read, this one possessed the least literary quality and offered the least aesthetic pleasure as well as the fewest insights to me personally. It was somewhat dull and the reading was really s ...more
Jul 17, 2007 Dan rated it liked it
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.
Dec 02, 2014 Liza rated it liked it
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.
Ruba AlTurki
Jul 01, 2014 Ruba AlTurki rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

هذا المهاتما المجهول أصله ونسبه غير التيبت من كونها تنظيم عسكري الى جنة بوذية، تنسب له العديد من الخرافات التي تذكر كمعجزات مثل تعليمه بعض اتباعه الطيران؟
ماعلينا، النقطة هنا أنه بعد أن وصل مكاناً علياً عند نفسه بقي عليه هزيمة الموت ليكمل كل ما يريده، حيث قام بكتابة هذه المخطوطة التي هي كتيب تعليمات يعيدك للحياة مرة اخرى دون ان تموت....- ليس لمدة طويلة على اي حال-؟
خبأ نسخته أو دفنها في تلال جامبو في وسط التيبت، وبعد ذلك اكتشفت من قبل أحد تلامذته بعد 600 عام. حيث رأى مناماً و علم أنه المختار لكشف
Jan 16, 2015 Jacob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
I thought it provided interesting insight into the Buddhist beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife. There was a lot of information about general Buddhist practices, the 42 peaceful and 58 wrathful deities, and prayers to fulfill Buddhahood. I fould several things particularly interesting. First was the Six-Syllable Mantra, which is referenced to many times. Next were the Signs of Death, which I found bizzare and intensly symbolic. The descriptions of the dieties themselves gave each one a t ...more
Ken Cruickshank
My brain hurt during and after reading this book; it's an exercise in focus and memorization – at least it was for me. But interesting! I lost a very good friend of mine when he was forty, and I commented to a work associate regarding something my friend's father observed at the moment of his son's last breath. That work associate told me that the way my friend left this world would have been deeply meaningful to Tibetan monks (as it was to my friend's Catholic parents), and that I should read t ...more
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.
Devlin Scott
Dec 26, 2012 Devlin Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I need to look some things up and contemplate for a few days before I add my thoughts to this journey. It was very interesting and I find myself now faced with many new concepts to explore.

Feb 14, 2008 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very difficult reading and a large text. I read this book because it is referenced in many of the books I've read. I wanted to get a better understanding of the prayers.
Gregory Peters
Jan 01, 2015 Gregory Peters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my preferred translation of the entire cycle of the bardo teachings. Inspiring on multiple levels, this is one I return to again and again - an all time favorite
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According to tradition, Padmasambhava was incarnated as an eight-year-old child appearing in a lotus blossom floating in Lake Dhanakosha, in the kingdom of Uddiyana, traditionally identified with the Swat Valley in present-day Pakistan. His special nature was recognized by the local king who married him to one of his daughters, Mandarava. She and Padmasambhava's other main consort, Yeshe Tsogyal, ...more
More about Padmasambhava...

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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.)”
“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”
More quotes…