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The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: The Spiritual Classic & International Bestseller: 20th Anniversary Edition Paperback – June 26, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 421 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In 1927, Walter Evans-Wentz published his translation of an obscure Tibetan Nyingma text and called it the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Popular Tibetan teacher Sogyal Rinpoche has transformed that ancient text, conveying a perennial philosophy that is at once religious, scientific, and practical. Through extraordinary anecdotes and stories from religious traditions East and West, Rinpoche introduces the reader to the fundamentals of Tibetan Buddhism, moving gradually to the topics of death and dying. Death turns out to be less of a crisis and more of an opportunity. Concepts such as reincarnation, karma, and bardo and practices such as meditation, tonglen, and phowa teach us how to face death constructively. As a result, life becomes much richer. Like Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Sogyal Rinpoche opens the door to a full experience of death. It is up to the reader to walk through. --Brian Bruya

From Publishers Weekly

This modern interpretation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead outlines a path for spiritual growth.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 441 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; Revised edition (June 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062508342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062508348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (421 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
My bookshelves are filled with books on many topics, including death and dying and spirituality -- this book might be the only book I really need.
For years I have thought I must read the Tibetan Book of the Dead -- but whenever I tried, it was much too complicated for me to understand.
Sogyal Rinpoche has written this book so that it is easily understood by anyone, even us Westerners, without compromising any of the Buddhist teachings it offers.
In essence, we begin to die the moment we are born. We spend this life preparing to die well. Nothing is permanent, but we spend much of our lives filling our time with activities and pursuits that help us elude ourselves into thinking that what we see and touch is all that matters.
Sogyal Rinpoche says, "To follow the path of wisdom has never been more urgent or more difficult. Our society is dedicated almost entirely to the celebration of ego, with all its sad fantasies about success and power, and it celebrates those very forces of greed and ignorance that are destroying the planet. It has never been more difficult to hear the unflattering voice of the truth, and never more difficult, once having heard it, to follow it: because there is nothing in the world around us that supports our choice, and the entire society in which we live seems to negate every idea of sacredness or eternal meaning. So at the time of our most acute danger, when our very future is in doubt, we as human beings find ourselves at our most bewildered, and trapped in a nightmare of our own creation.
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Format: Paperback
Whenever I read a book, I generally use highlighter and underliner to mark the sentences and words that convey the true meaning and essence of what the author wants to say. While reading The Tibetan Book of Living And Dying, I had to stop using the highlighter after a few pages only as the most of the words on each page were worthy of being highlighted. Indeed, the author has said so much precious on every page that a reader must read and re-read the book and with every reading she/he gets more and more knowing.The subject of death has been most puzzling and perplexing to humankind since the time immemorial. The Eastern way of looking at the death as only a 'transition' is explained by the author in a profoundly simple manner. The book certainly helps one to understand the true meaning of the phenomena called death. This understanding helps one to reduce the irrational fear of death. From the lives of the great men and women we know that those who 'lived' a life can only meet the 'death' with equnimity. Thus the author has first taught the art of 'living'. It is only through right type of living that we can 'live' the death also.
I suggest that this book be read by all the Buddhist as well as by non buddhists also. Every one who reads it will find something for him/her.
I salute Sogyal Rinpoche for giving us a wonderful gift of THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING.
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By A Customer on December 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading other reviews, I feel it might help to say this:
Yes, there is quite a substantial amount of Tibetan ritual encased in this book. But that shouldn't be a surprise, or a hindrance - it IS the "TIBETAN Book of Living and Dying", and not the "Generically Believable For Everyone, Book of Living And Dying".
With that in mind, I loved reading this book. From the first page, I was drawn into a world where compassion and mindfulness reign, and it's these tools that will help us face the inevitable truth that we *are* all going to die, at some point.
Rinpoche skillfully shares his own wisdom, that of many other masters, and anecdotal evidence of what may happen when we physically die, and the stages we may go through during the process.
Topics discussed include the Bardo states, reincarnation, the concept of karma, and fear of the unknown. The book is very readable, and covers the material therein with sensitivity and warmth. At times, it may be difficult to the average Western mind to grasp the concepts of such things are reincarnation - but as Buddha himself did advise, the goal is to read, absorb and take what YOU find important from the lesson...not to read blindly and accept everything blindly.
To anyone even vaguely interested in Buddhism, death and dying or simply becoming more aware of their own self, this book is an invaluable addition to your library.
Truly a classic.
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By A Customer on August 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book fully captures the essence of Tibetan Buddhism. I don't claim to be an authority on the subject, but I was born into a Buddhist household that has remained faithful and reverent to both Mahayana and Hiyana traditions of Buddhism. From the information I've had passed on to me by both family and Tibetan Buddhist clergy, this book has never been contradictory to anything lecture I've heard. In fact, everybody seems to recommend it enthusiastically!
Essentially, according to Tibetan Buddhism, the purpose of living is to cultivate the mind and purify the body and soul to prepare for death. Westerners may, at first glance, find this philosophy morbid. However, we must remember that reincarnation is integral to Buddhist text (and most world religions, for that matter; the 'one life' theory is actually relatively new). Death is explained as a transitional period, like the end of a chapter to a book. To waste away ones life is like wasting away all your money without care for the future. Basically, this philosophy heavily emphasizes living in the present with thoughtfulness and offers a plethora of Buddhist insight into life and death. It also stresses the urgency of cultivation in a day and age when we disregard life, old age, and disease as trivial matters and nothing that science cannot combat.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is written by a Rinpoche. For those who are not familiar with Tibetan titles, a Lama is essentially a monk who has abandond wordly comforts for a spiritual pursuit, and a Rinpoche is a recognized reincarnation of an esteemed Lama.
If you are a Buddhist, I highly recommend this book. It is enlightening, insightful, and an absolute must in any Buddhist library.
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