The Tibetan Book of the Dead or The After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane
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The Tibetan Book of the Dead or The After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  719 ratings  ·  39 reviews
The Tibetan Book of the Dead is one of the texts that, according to legend, Padma-Sambhava was compelled to hide during his visit to Tibet in the late 8th century. The guru hid his books in stones, lakes, and pillars because the Tibetans of that day and age were somehow unprepared for their teachings. Now, in the form of the ever-popular Tibetan Book of the Dead, these tea...more
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published September 28th 2000 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1927)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,574)
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Ron Grunberg
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
Imaginarian
Unless you're a card carrying member of the undead, you might think that The Tibetan Book of the Dead or The After-death Experiences on the Bardo Plane has little to offer you. However, upon my second (now adult) reading of this translation, I see many applications of the TBD for the living as well. Those of us on this side of the grass who practice lucid dreaming, astral traveling, and Samadhi meditation- as well as those of us who have an intense yen to conquer our shadows and transcend dualit...more
tatiana
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).
Sevenponds
“The Art of Dying is quite as important as the Art of Living,” writes editor W.Y. Evans-Wentz in his preface to The Tibetan Book of the Dead. An ancient Buddhist text, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or the Bardo Thödol, is a guide for the deceased as he or she journeys through the 49 days after the moment of death—the interval of time between death and rebirth. During this time, the deceased is instructed to resist the temptations of the material world, or Sangsara, in order to achieve enlightenm...more
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!
Timo Walters
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.
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.
Jonathan Warner
This was very slow going. It was quite informative, but also very heavy. This is largely because a lot was pulled as direct translations from original texts. It took me about 50 bathroom trips to finish this.
Steve
A must read, I like the Evans-Wentz interpretation best of the 3 or 4 I've read
Martin Zook
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
Carolyn
May 20, 2008 Carolyn rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Lunch Matters" aficionados and their ignorant hosts
Recommended to Carolyn by: C.G. Jung Foundation
I've been producing a film series on Wednesday afternoons at the Rubin Museum of Art called "Lunch Matters." We show documentaries followed by moderated discussions with folks versed in the subject matter of the film. The series is co-presented with the C.G. Jung Foundation, really wonderful people who say things like "Carl Jung popularized the mandala in the West" and "it's always a battle between the power principle and the ego."

Because my working knowledge of Jung comes from a high school cl...more
Nikki
I was interested in reading about the Tibetan Buddhist perception of the after life. The best part of this book, frankly, was the introduction which talked extensively about the basis of reincarnation and the many cultures that believed in it (ancient Greeks and Egyptians for example). The actual text of the Tibetan tradition (which they read to their dead over a period of 14 days) is bizarre and difficult to understand. Some of it is 'way out there'. It left me with some real questions about th...more
David Tan
Oct 30, 2010 David Tan is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
One of the four books that pretty much introduced Tibetan Buddhism, Native Religions and culture to the west, W. Y. Evans-Wentz is still one of the best experts on the subject. What I found interesting is Donald S. Lopez, Jr.'s introduction that also gives a history of the various introductions and incarnations of the books through out the 20th cent..
Alex
Had to read for dissertation research, a very interesting read with a decent (if basic) introduction. Have also read that this translation is outdated, but it's available for free at holybooks.com if you have any interest in Buddhist mysticism. Sidenote: the film Enter The Void is partially based on the 'bardo' concept and it's AMAZING.
Erin
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.
Sarah Jacquie
Very interesting, and I have to admit I read it after hearing about certain (now taboo/unpracticed) practices the Tibetans do in death off a Cracked.com list. Probably not the best way to find it, but having dabbled in learning about Buddhism for years, it was time I read something more serious and "official".
Josh Phenicie
Crazy details about the afterlife. different levels and stuff like that. who knows if its true or just the cultural Tibetan version of kickin it in the AL. The parts about choosing brilliant light as opposed to dimmer light in stages, is kind of interesting. Evens-Wentz is da shiz.
Josh
Mar 30, 2009 Josh is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
hard to get through but very interesting i had to take a break from this book and do a little lighter reading. seems like most religions follow a similar concept, kind of the same fundamental principles of christianity with different representations
Todd
Brittle scholarship accompanied by more commentaries than there is actual text, but if read without thinking the interpretation absolutely "native," still serves as a viable secular meditation on the nature of death and human consciousness
Luc
Jul 11, 2008 Luc rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Luc by: Dave Youmans
After reading around 30 introductions from around 30 different authors, I finally got to the actual literature. There are definitely some great ideas in here, but it gets a little redundant. Whatever. I'm ready for a good novel.
Sally
Gives one the clear sense that after you die you are exactly the same person, same consciousness, as when you are alive -- no transformations into angels or demons or any other alien state. It's all about awareness.
Annm
This was a fascinating read that not only gave insights about the Buddhist view of life after death, but also about the Tibetan culture, and the times in which this book was brought to the western world.
Annmarie
Tedious. I felt like I had to mine the information out with a chisel and brush. The information is the treasure, the clumsy writing and unfortunate selection of vocabulary is the sand and clay.
Jason Quinn
Dec 21, 2007 Jason Quinn is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This is not light or casual reading. I pick it up, read a few paragraphs, backtrack a few pages to refamiliarize, then I run out of reading time. This cycle repeats itself often.
Aziz
I couldnt finish this book. Its so dry and dull. I honestly found it useless after all. Why ruin the mystery of death? Reading about it wont make you any more "enlightened".
Drew
Terrific perspective on death. Even for the skeptic. the opportunity for philological and orientalist analysis make this piece a fantastic experience.
Greg
This was the translation that Aldous Huxley used. It was the standard text for the theosophists of the first half of the twentieth century.
Babak Fakhamzadeh
I've tried starting to read this book on several occasions now, but each time I failed. It just can't keep my attention.
Patrick\
Good, but not practical to us Westerners. I never did like the color orange in abundance.
Daniel
beautifully illustrated (photos and plates) bargain book...
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121802
Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz was an anthropologist and writer who was a pioneer in the study of Tibetan Buddhism.

He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and as a teenager read Madame Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine and became interested in the teachings of Theosophy. He received both his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University, where he studied with William James and William Butler Yeat...more
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