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The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – 1 Oct 1980

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Oct 1980
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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New ed of 3 Revised ed edition (Oct. 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192813021
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192813022
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,318,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Dr. Evans-Wentz, who literally sat at the feet of a Tibetan lama for years in order to acquire his wisdom...not only displays a deeply sympathetic interest in those esoteric doctrines so characteristic of the genius of the East, but likewise possesses the rare faculty of making them more or less intelligible to the layman. (Anthropology (on the previous edition)) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Evans-Wents, Jesus College Oxford.

Donald S. Lopez Jr. is the Carl W. Belser Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan. He is the author and editor of many books on Buddhism, including Buddhism in Practice and Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West, and key religious texts by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: The Joy of Living and Dying in Peace, The Way to Freedom, and Awakening the Mind, Lightening the Heart. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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By A Customer on 31 Aug. 2003
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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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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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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Format: Paperback
This is one of the most surprising work of Tibetan Buddhist erudition and the subject is a lot less morbid than it may sound or look if you just read the English title which is a bad translation. This title sounds like Beetlejuice but it is a lot more serious than a comedy.

This book is in fact a manual about what may happen after death, or rather when and after dying. It is very complicated but it is fascinating to see the details given by the author of this manual. Let's say that after death nothing is easy since you arrive there with your karma, what merit you have accumulated in your life, positive and negative, and what religious education you have acquired, none, little, a lot, or even plenty more.

The first element that is surprising is that the manual has to be read in the ear of the dying or just dead or recently deceased person to help him/her find his/her way in this after world. The manual proposes three periods: the Chikhai Bardo just after death, in two phases, about three and a half or four days altogether. Then the Chonyid Bardo which lasts fourteen days, twice seven days. And then the Sidpa Bardo that can last up to 49 days and five more seven day cycles.

The manual is addressed to the officiant, who can be anyone since it is advised for everyone to learn it by heart, for one's own benefit, but also for the benefit of anyone who is dying since this manual can only really help if it is read in the ear of the dying or dead person. The manual contains many passages that are prayers the dying or dead person is supposed to utter him/herself but the officiant seems to be the prompter who recites these prayers in the first person as if he were the dying or dead person.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in Tibetan buddhism and/or death and what comes after death should read this book, the first translation to English about the different bardo states or intermediary states : life, death, what's between death and rebirth, and rebirth again.

one who knows can get liberation :)
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