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The Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Complete Translation: The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 6 Nov 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (6 Nov. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140455264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140455267
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 889,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Offers the wisdom of the Tibetan ancients to a jaded modern world (Sunday Telegraph)

One of the great scripts of civilization … a voyage inside the profound imagination of a people (Time Out)

I can't imagine anybody aware of his or her own temporal humanity not wanting to find out what this book says … this version is by far the most complete and comprehensive to date (Independent on Sunday)

Magnificent … beautiful verse meditations (Guardian)

This is an event. A new and comprehensive translation of one of the seminal works of Tibetan Buddhism (Richard Gere)

One of the great treasures of wisdom in the spiritual heritage of humanity (Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)

About the Author

Commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thupten Jinpa is the senior translator to the Dalai Lama and President of the Institute of Tibetan Classics. Graham Coleman is founder of the Orient Foundation for Arts and Culture, a major Tibetan cultural conservancy organization, and writer-director of the acclaimed feature documentary Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy. Gyurme Dorje is a leading scholar of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, from which the Tibetan Book of the Dead literature derives.


Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, the elephant of wisdom. What is it? This book has several parts. Like in the Indian proverb about a group of blind people trying to describe an elephant. What is sometimes overlooked is that they are all touching the elephant. Each part here has its hand on the elephant. The elephant is certainly in the room. But: how to compile an elephant from its parts! Can all of it be adduced? From one bit of it? Is it all the same elephant? Is the synthetic view even necessary? If awareness has the elephant by the nose, and every other part?

What is Buddhism? Some say it is this, some say it is that… When you are dying, bring a lama into the room.

Parts of this book speak of the elephant directly, the underlying all pervasive elephant, as it were. Other parts speak of various conduits of the elephant, its partial appearance and its skin. The awareness that the book begins with is the elephant that the rest of the book reiterates in its varied manifestations and channels of access. It must be born in mind that the whole of the book is about the elephant.

After a direct introduction to awareness via immediate summations of the core of Buddhist understanding with regard to the nature of reality, subsequent sections describe the varied appearances of this reality and practical modes of access to it in ways of seeing the world and touching the face of the beast of wisdom.

A lot of imaginary practices that must be made real are elucidated. Seeing the world as the numinous manifestation of the empty ground of reality. These practices are necessarily repetitive – depending on how stubborn your ignorance is. The texts repeat over and over the deities with their varied accoutrements and in their varied colours and with their specific implications.
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Format: Paperback
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.
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