The tibetan book of living and dying review

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the tibetan book of living and dying review

How did this Tibetan guide to dying sell three million copies?

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Published 29.12.2018

Tibetan Book Of The Dead (Full Documentary)

Review. "A gentle, humane and eloquent guide" (Guardian) "Brilliant" (Mail on Sunday) "Valuable and profound" (Yoga and Health) "If you believe books can.

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Please refresh the page and retry. I nstruction manuals on dying do not normally make bestsellers; books on Tibetan Buddhism and I speak from experience even less so. But since its publication 25 years ago, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying has sold more than three million copies. Written by a Tibetan lama named Sogyal Rinpoche, it might be described as a guidebook to a good life, and a good death. Clinicians, hospice workers and psychologists have applauded it for the comfort it has given to the terminally ill. It is based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead, an ancient mortuary text properly called the Bar do thos grol, which would be read aloud to a dying or dead person, and describes the process of death and rebirth in three stages, or bardos. He came across the text in India, at the hands of a Major Campbell, a British officer who sold manuscripts on the side.

The missionary intent is evident, though gently managed, and eased by the fact that we in the West are already pretty well aware of our spiritual deficiencies. Yet to merge the ancient wisdom of Tibet with modern research into death and dying is rather like trying to blend Donne's Devotions 'upon emergent occasions in my sickness' with the processes of a life-support machine or, at best, the counselling of such thanatologists as Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Granted, Buddhism can be a more than usually fluid and hospitable religion. In his introduction to the English version of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup suggested that the work conformed with physiological and psychological experience and is therefore 'in the main, scientific'. Perhaps the claim is unwise; the mystical and the medical are both perfectly legitimate, but in forced assimilation one of them is likely to get damaged or devalued. The advice on awakening compassion may strike us as contrived.

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Teachings from the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Here the authors have sought to place the work, which is a sort of guidebook for the initiated to the hereafter, in the broader context of living and dying. The book functions alternatively as an epistemological defense of karma and rebirth; as a critique of Western systems of denial; as a systematic guide to revealed knowledge of the bardo; as a kind and very practical manual for caring for the dying and looking at the feelings that arise for the living in such situations; and as a comparison of Buddhist theory with modern physics. Overarching is the aspiration to usefully apply the insights of a distant culture to our own. Such a complicated and ambitious project is bound to encounter a number of interesting problems. To neglect the opportunity to discuss cathection, transference, and identification, in this context is a wasted opportunity. The effort to transpose one culture onto another, which is probably the leading motif of our era, is a curious affair.

In his foreword to the book, the 14th Dalai Lama says:. In this timely book, Sogyal Rinpoche focuses on how to understand the true meaning of life, how to accept death, and how to help the dying, and the dead Death and dying provide a meeting point between the Tibetan Buddhist and modern scientific traditions. I believe both have a great deal to contribute to each other on the level of understanding and practical benefit. Sogyal Rinpoche is particularly well placed to facilitate this meeting; having been born and brought up in the Tibetan tradition, he has received instructions from some of our greatest Lamas.


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