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Tibetan Book of the Dead, The

Product no.: 1-57062-747-9
This translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead emphasizes the practical advice that the book offers to the living.

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Publisher's Synopsis

The insightful commentary by Chogyam Trungpa, written in clear, concise language, explains what the text teaches us about human psychology.

Based on lectures presented at his own Buddhist institute in Vermont, the charismatic Tibetan teacher Chogyam Trungpa (1939-1987) published his own edition of The Tibetan Book of the Dead in 1975. This edition exhibits the distinctive quality of Trungpa's peculiar blend of American counter-culture individualism and Tibetan Buddhist orthodox conservatism. His highly individualized commentary to the translation certainly owes a debt to Carl Jung.


"A landmark in rendering this extraordinary revelation accessible to modern minds."     ~Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying


"The pre-Buddhist Bön civilization of Tibet contained very accurate indications on how to treat the psychic force left behind by a dead person, the footprints or temperature, so to speak, which is left behind when he is gone. It seems that both the Bön tradition and the Egyptian are based on that particular type of experience, how to relate with the footprints, rather than dealing with the person's consciousness. But the basic principle I am trying to put across now is that of the uncertainty of sanity and insanity, or confusion and enlightenment, and the possibilities of all sorts of visionary discoveries that happen on the way to sanity or insanity.

Bardo means gap; it is not only the interval of suspension after we die but also suspension in the living situation; death happens in the living situation as well. The bardo experience is part of our basic psychological make-up. There are all kinds of bardo experiences happening to us all the time, experiences of paranoia and uncertainty in everyday life; it is like not being sure of our ground, not knowing quite what we have asked for or what we are getting into.

So this book is not only a message for those who are going to die and those who are already dead, but it is also a message for those who are already born; birth and death apply to everybody constantly, at this very moment."


Master of meditation, "crazy wisdom" guru, social visionary, author, artist, poet — Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (1939 – 1987) founded Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado, the first Buddhist university in North America; the Shambhala Training program; and Vajradhatu, an international association of meditation centers (now known under the name Shambhala International).

To this day, Trungpa is still widely regarded as being "one of the four foremost popularizers of Eastern spirituality" in the West in the twentieth century—the other three being Ram Dass, D. T. Suzuki and Alan Watts. Others such as the Buddhist scholar Kenneth Rexroth, though, have offered a less complimentary perspective: "Many believe Chögyam Trungpa has unquestionably done more harm to Buddhism in the United States than any man living."

Author Padmasambhava
Coauthor Trungpa, Chogyam
Coauthor Fremantle, Francesca
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 120 pp.
Publisher Shambhala Publications 2000
Browse these categories as well: Tilopa and the Kagyu School, Padmasambhava and the Nyingma School, Vajrayana and Crazy Wisdom Masters, Bon and Dzogchen Shamanism, Termas, Tantras and Sutras, Western Buddhism, Individuation and the Collective Unconscious, Death, Grief and the Afterlife, Karma and Reincarnation, Noteworthy Releases 2000

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