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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation
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on November 13, 2013
this is one of the premier "books"ever put on paper. It is a powerful guidebook for the way to reach deep down into the primordial "oneness"from which all comes,stays,and goes,all of which is an illusion we fall into. This ancient text,along with the Tibetan Book of the Dead(Bardo Thosgrol) will very quickly tell one "what is happening".These texts along with"right living",show the way Home.We can all do with these books,available at Amazon.com at great prices!Get them Now...it is never too late to shine.Tibetan Buddhism will literally open your eyes."To the Divine Body of Truth,the incomprehensible Boundless Light."
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on March 15, 2012
I have always enjoyed reading Evans Wentz publications, and this one did not disappoint. Plenty of psychological commentary by Jung keeps the esoteric interpretation well to the fore, something which I feel makes it easier for Westerners to cope with the devotional aspects of such texts.

There are probably many paths to the truth. The offerings in "The Great Liberation" contain a path which is rich in the wealth of imagery and symbolism yet somehow free from the spiritual materialism which often taints "Best Practice" teachings.

If you liked "Monkey Magic", you will adore the multiplicity of yarns about the life of Padma Sambhava. The Chinese appropriation of Tibet has caused much much misery and suffering. It seems somehow criminal that we in the West may now benefit from the scattering of Tibetan refugees by having access to such wonderful teachings, even as laymen (and in English too).

For anyone with even a smattering of interest in Tibetan Buddhist teachings and mythology, I believe ownership of this book will enrich his or her life tremendously.
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on March 10, 2013
By the time you read the forward you will wish you didn't buy it.

The forward is an accurate exposition of why the author and the translation ruined the texts the book was supposed to elaborate. I even wondered why they put the forward in since anybody, having read it, would not put money down on the book.

Do yourself a favor and seek out a scholarly translation of the texts in their pure form without all of the personal overlay and footnotes.
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on May 8, 1998
The meat of this book is the large print that floats above the footnotes from pages 202 to 240. It's more than worth its price for the small bit of text on those 38 pages. Forget the rest.
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on June 12, 2014
This book is the best I have ever read on Buddhism. The Psychological Commentary, by Dr. C.G.Jung is outstanding.
P.S If you haven't tried reading your books on Kindle as yet give it a go with this one. I just tried it and I'm hooked.
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on October 2, 2013
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on August 30, 2015
An excellent book - should be part of your Buddhist library!
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on April 12, 2013
I have just finished reading "The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation" for the third time. The first time I read it, about forty years ago, it was over my head; the second time I read it, about eight years ago, I loved it. And this time, I particularly realized its limitations, especially in light of John Reynold's book, "Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness," which, like "The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation," is a translation of/ commentary on the same teaching, "The Yoga of Knowing of the Mind (The Seeing of Reality)," by the legendary Dzogchen master Padmasambhava.

I still dig this book because I love Evans-Wentz's writing. He not only is an affecting, mystically inspiring writer, but also a spiritually astute one, able to expertly blend Vedanta, Buddhism, and Plotinus. He makes some errors in his Theosophical-like attempt to synthesize the Great Traditions, but overall, especially thanks to his exposure to the great Hindu Guru Ramana Maharshi, he does a fine job explaining and promoting The Perennial Philosophy in his General Introduction, which spans a hundred pages. Likewise, he provides some marvelous insights (along with some mistakes) in his extensive commentary on Padmasambhava's "The Yoga of Knowing the Mind (The Seeing of Reality)."

About thirty-five pages of the text are devoted to a Psychological Commentary on the teaching by renowned C.G, Jung. I personally don't care for Jung's commentary, which I see as an attempt to reduce the spiritual to the psychological. About eighty-five pages of the text are devoted to the mythological story of The Life and Teachings of Tibet's Great Guru Padmasambhava. I have no affinity for magical-mystical tales like this one, and I have never felt motivated to read more than short bits of it. But if you enjoy creative hagiographical fiction, then you'll probably find it entertaining, and maybe even enlightening. My version of the text does not include Donald Lopez's Foreword, so I'm not qualified to comment on it.

The essence of the text--Padmasambhava's Teachings on The Yoga of Knowing the Mind (The Seeing of Reality) and Evans-Wentz's commentary is a forty-page mixed bag. Padmasambhava's Teachings themselves are poorly translated, which makes them less than fully clear and descriptive. This is especially evident when one compares this translation to John Reynold's in his book on these Teachings. But again, Evans-Wentz's commentary adds interesting spice, and the Teachings themselves are still mystically profound and enlightening.

In summary, despite its flaws, I recommend this text. But I also think anyone serious about Tibetan Buddhism/Dzogchen will benefit the most by comparing/contrasting this text with Reynolds' "Self-Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness," which is not without its own flaws; hence the need to compare both texts.
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Having returned to this marvelous work recently after an incident in my life required it, I was shocked to be reminded of the disturbing foreword, which detracts from the majesty of the actual work and Evans-Wentz's accompanying interpretations.
Without dwelling too long on the foreword, written by Donald S. Lopez, Jr., let me say that it strikes me as one of the most long-winded, derogatory and self-serving forewords I have ever seen in a book; not to mention the fact that the foreword is advertised on the cover of this edition. Donald Lopez insults Evans-Wentz on every page and goes on to tear down Jung, as well.
There are genuine reasons for why marvelous works by men such as W.Y. Evans-Wentz stay in print, and they go far beyond the bruised egos of stoic/pedantic academics like Lopez. When so-called Buddhist scholars, such as Lopez and Thurman, project themselves as arrogant intellectuals, it contradicts everything that Evans-Wentz stood for.
Oxford University Press should be ashamed for pulling in a voice so anti-thetical to the spirit of this work. The work, itself, is awesome and is hindered only by the hypercritical Lopez touch.
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on November 26, 2003
This is the forth and final book in the Tibetan series from W.Y.Evans-Wentz. Although this book can be used as a stand-alone book it is certainly not best read that way. Basically this is part of a developing series. The first book in the Tibetan series - The Tibetan Book of the Dead, is the fundamental book of the series which describes Buddhist philosophy, psychology and metaphysics. It is the best translation out there and the original! The second book in the series is called Tibets Greatest Yogi Milarepa and is the story of a great yogi who puts into practice most of what we learn from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. It is through the story of Milarepa that we learn more about The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In the story of Milarepa the yogi studies the Seven Books of Wisdom of the Great Path as taught to him by his gurus. Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines, the third book in the series, is an expansion that explains those wisdoms and describes the yoga that is used to achieve them.
The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation is a three act book which ties together everything learned from the other three books. Essentially the start of the book develops a clearer understanding of the metaphysics associated with the first three books in the form of a general introduction. The book then lays out the premise for a type of yoga practice called the Supreme Path or Mahayana, that was created to serve as an INSTANT ENLIGHTENMENT yoga. It is mostly psychological. The middle section of the book is devoted to the guru Padma-Sambhava who brought this yoga to Buddhists in the eighth century. The latter part of the book expounds on that yoga in a full translation.
Make no mistake about it. This is the ORIGINAL and best work because this was the man who brought the work to the occident! These texts are ancient and old but have served millions since their inception. The work that Evans-Wentz has done here is substantial if not some of the most important Tibetan Buddhist concepts ever seen by the occident - all directly translated by master gurus whom which Dr. W.Y.Evans-Wentz was a student for years.
There is nothing wrong with the translation. Forget those who seek to play down the originals so that they can sell their new version. This book has stood the test of time. It was first published in 1954! The original book in the series was published in 1921! Evans-Wentz was in Tibet at the turn of the century learning under these gurus! He is held is highest esteem by Oxford University for his endeavors!
*** The other books in the series are - The Tibetan Book of the dead - Tibets Greatest Yogi Milarepa - Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines - all before this one, the final book in the Tibetan Series. ***
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