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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 17 March 2013
This review is for the paperback edition of the book and not the folio edition hardback which is beautifully produced. However it still has the colour plates of a thangka (Tibetan scroll painting) of the deities in the text and a neat metal foil on the cover...but what's inside it?

What isn't inside is the much loved Evens Wentz'sThe Tibetan Book of the Dead: Or the After-Death Experiences on the Bardo Plane translation that first captured Western esoteric imagination back in the late 1920's and on into the 60's. People familiar with it's rich evocative language and the religious lilt of the KJV Bible and Jung's introduction to that book maybe disappointed at the difference.

However as Evan's Wentz recognised he was introducing pioneer translation to English speakers he foresaw future advances in translation technique and knowledge. The new translation then comes after a century of scholarship and study in the West of Tibetan language and faith and so is the more technically 'accurate' translation. It is also one that comes with the blessing and advice of people who profoundly understand it's content, context and layers of meaning.

Inside the cover are the full practices to do with the text which a monk or retreatant would study before being introduced to the text we know as 'The Tibetan Book of the Dead' (This books Chapter 10). It is authorised by the Dalia Lama who's introduction about death and dying goes well beyond his usual forwards. Oral instructions were given to the translators by Dilgo Khyentse a great Tibetan Master of the 20th Century which will matter to some readers.

That said it may not the easiest read for general readers uninformed about Tibetan Buddhist traditions and practices. It is primarily an ancient religious text as with similar texts it is a blend of the seemingly obscure and pointedly profound. For some Evan's Wentz book's singular theosophist vision with it's dendrochronological ring of Forwards containing the heat of first encounter between Tibetan's and Europeans may still be a better introduction. For others and I guess especially committed Buddhists this would be much preferred for its mature, accurate, committee led translation coming from Tibetan's themselves.

From a personal point of view both books are useful for all that this translation gains in clarity and comprehensiveness it loses the brio and individuality of the other. Although I've read the whole text I still haven't really got past the first chapter about the 'Preliminary Practices' - but there's much wisdom and poetry in that I'm grateful for. A lot probably depends on the readers experience and interests. That said even with little experience I found it a peaceful companion during the death of a loved one. I took faith from the Tibetan's own faith in the after-death processes and the often repeated phrase 'Do not be afraid'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
As a newcomer to Buddhism, this was on my most wanted book list as it is a collection of teachings on dying, Bardo and rebirth.

I must stress that it would be very wise to have read elementary teachings on Buddhsim as some of the philosophical concepts are very difficult to understand for a beginner. There are numerous introductions at the start of the book, including one by HH The Dalai Lama which require you to be comfortable with many quite difficult subjects such as emptiness, dependent origination and so on. To be honest it took me a few nights just to read the introduction as I had to read sentences sometimes 10 times to try to understand them.

I would suggest a newcomer should read something like "The Joy of Living" by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche first (very well written and easy to understand) and then "Turning Confusion into Clarity" by the same author. Even then you might struggle.

I suppose it would be best to have a teacher to discuss the book with as you read it, I haven't found one yet.

Despite all of the above, the translation is easy to read and has footnotes. I like Thupten Jinpa (one of the authors and HH The Dalai Lama's official translator), and this was part of the reason I bought the book .

Good read - just persevere!
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124 of 137 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2005
This is indeed a very important book, with some pleasant illustrations. As an object it is wonderfully presented, the binding, cutting and whatever processes the book goes through have clearly been undertaken with great care or expensive machinery. Few books are as attractive or durable these days. What's really important, however, is the contents. If you believe in the words, they could prepare you for death and what lies beyond it (there are descriptions of the dying process which, if committed to memory, could be extremely comforting when the time comes). If you remain sceptical or follow another faith, relish the spectacular imagery and often beautiful verse in which many passages are expressed.
If I *had* to gripe, it'd be about the review above (below?) which, like many others on Amazon, is opinionated and enthusiastic but rather pointless. "I haven't read it but I bet it's ace" is hardly likely to encourage someone to part with nearly £20 to try a book, is it?
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 11 October 2007
I bought this book when it was first published, out of impulse actually, because of the binding, and I am glad I did because it is a beautiful book to read. Someone once told me you cant read the TBOD without a Master's interpretation or guidance, but this is incorrect; if you are, like myself, interested in a general read to explore an esoteric work yourself, then the the various introductory chapters are more than enough to prepare the reader for the main text.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
This is one of those books everyone should read in their lifetime. I found it moving, and so very peaceful and has made me realise death is nothing to fear. Its not an easy book to read without any knowledge of Buddhism, but with my limited amount of knowledge (I'm still learning) I understood the book. Its a book I will re read over the years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2014
Fantastic book.

Offers very helpful insights into eastern views on life and death - and how best to make the most of these experiences!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 January 2015
There is a great deal of extra information compared to the Evans translation. My only minor gripe is that the OCR filled it with minor errors, apart from that, fantastic.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2014
Have been trying to borrow this book from the library for years to no avail. Bought it for my husband - not so easy to read as other books on dying by tibetans - think you need to have read a couple of others to understand it more fully but really comprehensive and everything he thought it would be.
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on 3 December 2014
Even if the first part of tghe work can be a little boring, it's an important work for all the people who are into Buddhism.
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on 6 November 2014
This is one of those books everyone should read in their lifetime.
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