The Tibetan Book Of The Dead
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The Tibetan Book Of The Dead

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,433 ratings  ·  74 reviews
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 translate...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 5th 1998 by London : Aquarian, 1994 (first published 700)
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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.
Edward Michael
the essential preparation to death. Every spiritual seeker must try to understand this extraordinary wisdom and knowledge
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
May 09, 2009 Helen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
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.

Floyd Weldon
Amazing book! Really put into perspective what matters and what is not so important in life and death. If only I could remember its teachings every moment of each day.

One of the treasures of human literature - the book; And one of the treasures of American (world) intellectuals - Robert Thurman.
What's Dat
May 21, 2012 What's Dat is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
For years I have wanted to read this. Finally at this point in my life it makes complete sense that I need to be reading this.
Merryn Alaka
The Tibetan Book of the Dead has been well known for centuries as a Buddhist guide for wisdom and religious thought. This book is popularly known in Tibet as the Great Book of Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the between. It was originally composed by Padma Sambhave and discovered by Karma Lingpa. Robert A. F. Thurman translated this version of the classic Buddhist book. The translation of this book allows for an in depth understanding into the Buddhist ways concerning life, death, an...more
a cultural book that i have now read. the film narrated by leonard cohen was more helpful to me, however, b/c i am not a student of this topic/book so much as a by-stander who wanted exposure to the cultural aspects of the book. it is fanciful but in a (respectful, for me) metaphorical manner. the essence seems to be "get to know your dark side while you live b/c you will meet/project this in monster form soon after death and the best way to handle it is 1. do not fear "it" b/c it is only an asp...more
P.d. Gourlais
My only regret with this book is that I didn't read the Glossary first. Though I have had more than two decades of Buddhist practice, initiations, and education, I wasn't fully prepared to understand the new vocabulary to which I was introduced. I highly recommend reading the Glossary first or at least as you go, to enhance your overall reading experience.

I am fascinated by details about the author of the The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Liberation Through Understanding the In Between. Written in...more
Elias Garcia
Un libro excepcional, pero para iniciados... este libro es un instructivo, aparentemente escrito en Tibet, en el siglo VII. D.C. por Padmasambhava, el segundo Buda, quien era un iluminado, que entre muchas otras cosas extraordinarias, tenía la capacidad de recordar cómo había migrado su alma a través del bardo (estado intermedio entre dos reencarnaciones). Este instructivo explica cómo un difunto puede liberarse del ciclo de las existencias (Sangsara) y llegar al Nirvana. Este libro en realidad...more
Stephen Osika
Bardo Thodol is essentially a guide to dying, written by monks who supposedly explored other astral planes beyond life by entering deep meditational states. This book is fascinating whether you believe its content or not. It looks at death as a transitional stage in which the spirit experiences guiding visions that are somewhat uniform, but also culturally and personally influenced to some extent.
It's an interesting perspective on death, and a healthy one I think compared to all the fear-mongering about society as a whole seems to be wrapped up in. If nothing else, it is a wonderful guide to getting more in touch with one's own conscious and subconscious mind. I certainly recommend it for someone wanting to expand their perception of the afterlife. However, it is rather poorly translated. Perhaps a more talented word smith would have tackled it better. As this was not the case, it was di...more
Joseph Rivera
I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time now. I first heard of it on a History Channel Documentary about it, which I want to watch again after having read the book. I believe that is what got be so interested in Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet, and the Dalai Lama. I'm not Buddhist, but I have a scholarly interest in Tibetan Buddhism. The Translator for this book had a fantastic introduction about Buddhism and Tibet for those whom are not Buddhists, which I found to be very helpful. This b...more
I read a different book. It was very symbolic and full of rituals. I would enjoy reading a guide to explain the meaning of this book since I am not a Bhuddist and this book holds deep mysteries.
Vikki Marshall
A complex and informative text thought to have been written in the 8th Century. This edition provides an outline of Tibetan history and Buddhist theory prior to entering the true purpose of the writings. Meant as a message on how to transform the soul of man from death into the afterlife, it is in essence a descriptive text on the art of dying. I imagine only a practicing Buddhist of devout faith can actually grasp the depth of practices, however many, many coincidental references enhance the te...more
Monika Müller
Certainly the content of this book is from a psychological point of view very interesting when considering the time when it was written (The scripture got found in the 15th century). The text was originally thought to speak to a person who is in the process of dying. Naturally the system of thinking of a closed society of old times, what has one way of thinking, forms the base of that. When the reader wants to tap into the old Tibetan way of understanding life and death, this book is interesting...more
Книга понравилась, чем-то напомнило "Божественную комедию".
Ее не надо воспринимать как религиозную. А скорее просто прочитать, и вынести определенную мысль.
Tina Lindsay
Interesting but a difficult read if your attention span is limited!
Reham  A. Lasheen
That ..was .. a lot of info.
Erinina Marie

I was not entirely impressed by this translation, nor was the book what I was expecting. I did however, get a glimpse into another culture/religions’ thought process, which I enjoyed. This is actually why I did not enjoy the translation. I felt that Thurman was a little too eager to make this particular brand of Buddhism tangible and applicable to Western religious practitioners. I would more have enjoyed further background on the practices and thought processes of Tibetan practitioners…not that...more
Samuel Polacek
Some good ideas grounded in reason thoroughly mixed in with some dogmatic leaps. A recommended read for anyone interested in buddhism, skeptical and open-minded alike.
This book was really hard for me to read. I am sure that it is not the fault of the author but I really struggled with it having to read things multiple times to try to gain some insight as to what the author was trying to convey to me. I think that i ended up getting it but it took a few iterations for me so if you thnk that you "got it" on the first read, you might want to pick the book back up and see if you walk away after a 2nd read feeling the same way. Thought provoking
While the context of this text is of interest to those studying religion, I didn't feel the text itself had increased my understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, other than its concept of what the happens after death. As someone principally interested in how to live in this life, I did not find this text to be the most instructive. I am speaking purely as a casual student of world religions; I do not doubt this text's value to the generations and generations who have used it.
Dec 07, 2009 Brian rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
This book is Buddhist scripture that is meant to be read to someone after they die to help them achieve liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. I picked it up out of intellectual curiosity. I was expecting something more interesting and beautiful. Now I know why you're supposed to read it to someone after they die. Almost no one would be willing to sit and listen to it while they were still alive and able to leave the room and go do something more interesting.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cosa c'è da pensare quando l'introduzione al testo si dimostra più interessante e affascinante del testo stesso?
Si può pensare e riflettere, una volta di più, sulla possibilità di riuscire a divulgare sensatamente testi tradotti da lingue e culture enormemente distanti nel tempo, testi, per soprammercato, già esoterici nel contesto in cui sono stati prodotti, e dunque di difficile accesso persino per gli stessi fruitori "originali"...
Nick Mather
One of several translations of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (which Thurman says would be better translated as "The Book of Liberation Through Understanding in the Between"), this is an excellent translation to begin with. Before the text is introduced, Thurman offers a thorough explanation of the text and its role in Tibetan Buddhism. His translation of the actual text is clear and his commentary helps make it accessible.
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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
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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…