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The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Or the After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane, According to L=ama Kazi Dawa-Samdup's English Rendering [Hardcover]

Donald S. Jr. Lopez , W. Y. Evans-Wentz , Karma-Glin-Pa
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

28 Sep 2000
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 teachings are constantly being discovered and rediscovered by Western readers of many different backgrounds—a phenomenon which began in 1927 with Oxford's first edition of Dr. Evans-Wentz's landmark volume. While it is traditionally used as a mortuary text, to be read or recited in the presence of a dead or dying person, this book—which relates the whole experience of death and rebirth in three intermediate states of being—was originally understood as a guide not only for the dead but also for the living. As a contribution to the science of death and dying—not to mention the belief in life after death, or the belief in rebirth—The Tibetan Book of the Dead is unique among the sacred texts of the world, for its socio-cultural influence in this regard is without comparison.

This fourth edition features a new foreword, afterword, and suggested further reading list by Donald S. Lopez, author of Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West. Lopez traces the whole history of the late Evans-Wentz's three earlier editions of this book, fully considering the work of contributors to previous editions (C. G. Jung among them), the sections that were added by Evans-Wentz along the way, the questions surrounding the book's translation, and finally the volume's profound importance in engendering both popular and academic interest in the religion and culture of Tibet. Another key theme that Lopez addresses is the changing nature of this book's audience—from the prewar theosophists to the beat poets to the hippies to contemporary exponents of the hospice movement—and what these audiences have found (or sought) in its very old pages.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 380 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 4 edition (28 Sep 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195133110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195133110
  • Product Dimensions: 3.1 x 14.4 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,054,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

Dr. Evans-Wentz, who literally sat at the feet of a Tibetan (Anthropology (on the previous edition))

About the Author

Donald S. Lopez is at University of Michigan. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the bardo 18 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
Whatever else "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" might be, it's definitely a spiritual classic and something of a publishing phenomenon. Several different editions and translations exist, but the 1960 edition remains the "classical" one. Translated by Walter Evans-Wentz, it also contains introductory comments written by Carl Gustav Jung, Lama Govinda, John Woodruffe and Evans-Wentz himself. The editor has also appended extensive footnotes to the main text.

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead" is a translation of a Tibetan mortuary text, known in original as "Bar do thos grol". Or rather, it's a translation of a portion of a text from a genre known as "Bar do thos grol". The English title is the translator's. In original, the text is used by the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Those who read this book should also obtain a copy of "Prisoners of Shangri-La" by Donald Lopez, which contains the true story surrounding this mysterious book. It turns out that Evans-Wentz was a member of a New Religious Movement, the Theosophical Society. For this reason, his interpretations of the Tibetan text should be taken with a very large grain of salt. Thus, Evans-Wentz claims (on the authority of a real lama, no less) that Tibetan Buddhism has a secret message similar to that of Theosophy. Of course, there is no evidence whatsoever for such a claim. Another "lama" associated with this book, Anagarika Govinda, was actually a German national who couldn't even read Buddhist texts in their original language and claimed to have been initiated into the Kagyu sect. Lopez points out that the initiation ritual described by Hoffman (Govinda's real name) doesn't exist. In other words, "Lama" Govinda was something of a fraud. I readily admit that he seems to have been quite a character!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome 24 Feb 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a really nice edition of this book, easy to read and beautifully decorated with good explanations about it, loved it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Examination of the after Death State 3 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although this is from the Buddhist world view it is nevertheless a wonderful examination of the after death conditions we might meet. I use the word 'might' because cultural views tend to alter our experience.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars out of date translation 31 Aug 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This translation has long been superseded by much better translations, e.g. Francesca Fremantle's published by Shambhala. It is regrettable that such distorted versions of Tibetan texts are still being published, and are still taken seriously.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very helpful 24 Jun 2005
Format:Paperback
this is one of the bestest translation ever written on the 'Bardo Thö dol' (Tibetan book of the Dead) not as dry as most scholarly versions, nether the less created with the help Tibet's highest spiritual masters. I found this book extremly helpful in order to help others with their death as much as in preparation for my own. And refering to the gentleman's review above mine, these kind of books have no expiry date!
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