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Books of the Dead: Manuals for Living and Dying (Art & Imagination Series) Paperback – December 31, 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Art & Imagination Series
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Thames and Hudson (December 31, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0500810419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0500810415
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,390,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Many cultures have produced "Books of the Dead", manuals read to the deceased to assist them getting underway in their journey in the next life. The most well known are the *Pert em hru* ("The Egyptian Book of the Dead") and the *Bardo Thödol* ("The Tibetan Book of the Dead"). In this book, Stanislav Grof treats these, and also discusses Books of the Dead from Mayan, Aztec, and Christian traditions. Grof demonstrates the parallels in these texts from different cultures, and then discusses further parallels in his own scientific research on human consciousness. Grof describes these texts as "accurate descriptions of the experiential territories traversed in non-ordinary states of consciousness" (p. 31). The images in part two, "Plates", and part three, "Themes", underscore the similarities between culturally remote traditions. Grof succeeds in creating a powerful challenge and raising significant questions: if these images represent interior "places" we can go, then what does that say about how we should be living our lives? In other words, Grof takes the attitude of many of the ancient books of the dead - that the nature of death & the afterlife has implications about how human life should be lived - and with the spin of his own consciousness studies, shows how that premise is still valid in the modern world. This is a visually engaging and deeply thought-provoking book.
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Format: Paperback
There are many "books of the dead," probably the most famous being the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol, or "liberation by hearing") and the Egyptian Book of the Dead (a collection of papyri based on a body of literature called "Pert em hru, or "coming forth in the light.") There are others as well, less known, from other cultures including the European Christian culture of the middle ages.

Stanislav Grof, a Czech psychiatrist and self-described former disciple of Freud, has written this book about the underlying doctrines and experiences which probably served as the impetus for such eschatological literature.

I met Stan Grof at a seminar at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, California, in the 'seventies. He is a polished, impressive, baritone speaker with a slight European accent who presents as a serious, knowledgeable scholar. I think I still have tapes of his presentation.

Grof said, at the seminar, that he was originally--in Czechoslovakia where he originated--a dyed-in-the-wool
Freudian, until he began to perceive difficulties with that approach. He grew from there. He was one of the original medical investigators to use d-lysergic acid diethylamide in serious psychiatric research, from which he derived some astonishing results.

Grof was formerly Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is no lightweight airhead, but rather is a highly qualified, credentialed and credible researcher. This and his other books are well worth your time, if you have the necessary vocabulary and the scientific background to benefit from them.
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