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Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life
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Advice on Dying: And Living a Better Life

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  337 ratings  ·  41 reviews
"Everyone dies, but no one is dead," goes the Tibetan saying. It is with these words that "Advice on Dying" takes flight. Using a seventeenth-century poem written by a prominent scholar-practitioner, His Holiness the Dalai Lama draws from a wide range of traditions and beliefs to explore the stages we all go through when we die, which are the very same stages we experience ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 19th 2002 by Atria (first published 2002)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I selected this book after losing both my father and my mother-in-law just a day apart this past summer. I had hoped that the experience would be similar to someone seeking the truth from a hermit living high up in the mountains. What is the purpose of life? And why do people have to die? Who better to seek these answers from than the Dalai Lama? Did this book answer all my questions? Yes... and no. Death is described as an inescapable event. One that we all must prepare for. Part of our day to ...more
Apr 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirit
It will be interesting when I come to die to see if dying happens in the stages outlined here. I tend to believe that there is no one way of doing anything, life and death are full of myriads of possibilities and are not limited to one way and one way only. I wonder if you study Tibetan Buddhism and expect to die in a certain way then you will simply because you believe you will (and the same goes for every religion) or do they know something everyone else doesn't? I guess theres only one way to ...more
John Lawrence
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: buddhism
this is helpful for someone who is dying or who has a loved one who is dying. it contains some good, practical advice on how to hold your mind steady and keep it thoughtful and helpful.

the practical advice covers things like developing an awareness of death, liberating oneself from the fear of death, and meditating while dying.

after that, there is a fair bit of deeper Buddhist meditation training that one doesn't receive unless they have been in committed studies for a while. it covers the
Jen Miller
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
There are still a lot I have to understand, but this book basically got me out of depression
Maria Hurt
Mar 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
quite possibly the most helpful book on living in the moment...
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
This book is interesting. In it, the Dalai Lama uses a poem written by the First Panchen Lama in the 17th century, and uses it as the scaffolding to encourage the reader to be mindful of death, and to prepare for it. In general, the book works. It is interesting because, like many Buddhist writings, it is at once strikingly simple and universal, while at the same time including elements that are very foreign to my way of thinking. It is of interest, and challenging for the serious reader and ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Though I bought this book soon after my father’s death, many years ago now, I don’t remember why it appealed, and I never finished reading it. The culture-specific prescriptions didn’t have much to do with what I’d been through. The foreword written by a professor of Tibetan studies is fascinating and the Dalai Lama shares plenty of general wisdom, but his belief system is so foreign to the culture of my birth (or rebirth) that to try to apply it in preparation for death doesn’t make sense. To ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A little hard to follow if you aren’t a buddhist practitioner but definitely got me to think of death in a different way and made me want to learn to find stillness in my mind so that when it comes to my dying day I’ll feel more at ease in my mind understanding and going into deeper states of consciousness before the final breath.
Edwina Callan
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2018
"Just as when weaving
One reaches the end
With fine threads woven throughout,
So is the life of humans."
- Buddha -

To me, the foreword was the most interesting part of this book - the rest was, more or less, was over my head.
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I need to reread this. It was confusing and I had issues with it but I want to reread it again before giving a review. It does have a lot of Buddhist religious stuff in it and that is what makes it hard to understand if you are not a practitioner.
劉 邦均
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found it hard to accept all the ideas Dalai Lama had presented. However, I did learn something from this book, and that's what matters.
For me, the biggest takeaway from this book was that we should cherish our lives when we are living, and that we shouldn't linger when we are dying.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Some really good gems on a really important topic. Kinda weird in a lot of places too.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
I had high expectations from this book. It was going to be the first book to tell me clearly what death was about--whether it brought an absolute end or there was indeed a cycle of birth and death. Do the dead watch over their living relatives or they're perished forever?

It was an easy read but I still gave it a lot of breaks. Those breaks reduced the fright associated with death. I was able to read through the text in a matter of fact way but found a lot of the initial lessons a reiteration of
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Accepting death and meditating on impermanence are among the cornerstones of Buddhist teachings. The Tibetan Buddhist tradition especially has for centuries almost made a science of contemplating, observing, and describing the subtleties involved in the process of dying and the afterlife. Of equal importance to living well for Tibetan Buddhists is dying well. Although this is a brief text, it is helpful to have some prior knowledge or experience of Buddhism or meditative disciplines due to the ...more
Nov 06, 2007 rated it liked it
This book can be divided up into smaller parts. The first part is a forward by Jeffrey Hopkins which discusses in part the Panchen Lama and also the Dalai Lama. He talks about the identification of these figures and how the Chinese who supposedly have "liberated" Tibet have started their own identification processes. Hopkins is very critical of Chinese politics and their involvement in Tibet. The second part of the book deals with a 17 stanza poem written by the first Panchen Lama of Tibet. The ...more
Mar 21, 2008 rated it did not like it
What a disappointment. This book was an annotated recitation of the First Panchen Lama's poem, Wishes for Release from the Perilous Straits of the Intermediate State, Hero Releasing from Fight. This book basically spouts religious doctrine for 237 pgs. I had always thought that Buddhism was a less reward focused religion, but this book seriously damaged that hypothesis. The whole book is basically focused on how to achieve a positive reincarnation. It even goes so far as to say that one can ...more
Feb 26, 2011 marked it as did-not-finish
No rating because I only made it 20% of the way in. That 20% was split. First was a long introduction about Chinese and Tibetan governments pretending to be the authority over which magical child is the latest incarnation of whoever -- a subject I would have a hard time taking seriously without personally going to Tibet and having to pass a series of trials to win the Ajanti Dagger.

The other half was surprisingly basic, and weak, I thought, for being addressed to a one-dimensional, straw man
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"To make life meaningful, acceptance of old age and death as parts of our life is crucial. Feeling that death is almost impossible just creates more greediness and more trouble - sometimes even deliberate harm to others. When we take a good look at how supposedly great personages - emperors, monarchs, and so forth - built huge dwelling places and walls, we see that deep inside their minds was an idea that they would stay in this life forever. This self-deception results in more pain and more ...more
Daniel Vladimiro
Dec 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well, I've read it in Portuguese, but anyhow, I think the death it's the same worldwide.
It's a completely new perspective of believes and thoughts about death .
Quite interesting for the Occident civilization.
I'm always amaze, but the depth of awareness of the body and spirit, that the oriental believes have.
So, it's a delight to know this knowledge , despite the fact, that I don't think I can die this much effort.
Heather Richard
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very beautiful book. Meditating on the transient nature of life is so important; indeed, that is the way to a mindful death. Though for many that might be morbid, it should be understood as a way to living a better life. A very clear introduction to the discovery of the Dalai Lama and the conflict between China & Tibet. Will return to this many times, of that I am sure.
Voodoo Mistress
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
My 3 beloved pets and uncle passed away recently. Their deaths lead me to this book.
The book had a lot of info so I skimmed through it and read what appealed to me.
Live life fearlessly, be mindful, don’t get attached, don’t be an asshole, enjoy pleasure, embrace and learn from your pain because we are all going to die.
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
After the physician for the Dalai Lama came to address my school (to a packed house), I became more curious about the teachings of the Dalai Lama. I found the process for selecting a Dalai Lama to be fascinating.

The idea that we should be preparing for death well before we die resonated with me. Somehow it had never occurred to me before this book.
Beez Beasley
Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Have read this book along with My Spiritual Journey by the Dalai Lama. I'm still trying to understand the Buddhist they marry up with my lifelong belief in Christianity. An interesting journey in learning the ways of the Buddhist.
Sep 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is short and sweet. It has a bunch of awesome tidbits and ideas that I have never thought of before. I don't necessarily agree with the whole thing, but it provokes some interesting thoughts.
Carlos Gallinar
Feb 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the best spiritual book I've read. It will change the way you live your life on a daily basis. A must read for all human beings.
Apr 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Excellent little book on death and dying from a Tibetan Buddhist viewpoint.
Linda Breiding
Mar 29, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013
The first part of the book was really good but when it came to the second part I was tottaly lost due to the lack of Buddism kknowledge.
Pody Ken
Sep 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life is short, but our soul forever....
Jul 28, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
It was more technical that I could have imagined. Apart from spiritual teachings you also get quite a matter-of-fact description of stages of death and afterlife.

Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Awesome and interesting.
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Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso (born Lhamo Döndrub), the 14th Dalai Lama, is a practicing member of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism and is influential as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the world's most famous Buddhist monk, and the leader of the exiled Tibetan government in India.

Tenzin Gyatso was the fifth of sixteen children born to a farming family. He was proclaimed the