Main CategoriesBuddha and BuddhismWestern Buddhism Luminous Emptiness

Luminous Emptiness

Product no.: 1-57062-925-0
According to the Buddhist view, nothing is permanent or fixed. The entire world of our experience is constantly appearing and disappearing at every moment.

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Publisher's Synopsis

Using vivid and dramatic imagery, the Tibetan Book of the Dead (or The Great Liberation Through Hearing During the Bardo) presents the notion that most of us are living in a dream that will continue from lifetime to lifetime until we truly awaken by becoming enlightened.

Here, Fremantle, who worked closely with Chogyam Trungpa on the 1975 translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Shambhala), brings the expertise of a lifetime of study to rendering this intriguing classic more accessible and meaningful to the living.

Luminous Emptiness features in-depth explanations of:

  • The Tibetan Buddhist notions of death and rebirth.
  • The meaning of the five energies and the five elements in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • The mental and physical experience of dying, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

Death, she asserts, is not the end of existence but a passage into a more evolved state of consciousness, similar to what is achieved in transcendent meditative states: "After death, without the grounding influence of the physical body, events will overtake us with such speed and intensity that there will be no chance to stop and meditate. To be of use, meditation must become part of our innermost nature. That is why this is a book of the living as well as a book of the dead."

''Space is emptiness and luminosity: luminous emptiness", Fremantle says. "Because it is empty, nothing exists, yet because it is luminous, everything arises from it." Though this description might seem elusive - and, indeed, it is this language that makes Eastern religions hard for many Western critics to grasp - it describes a state of spiritual bliss with abstract language that forces the reader to let go of a rational, linear thought process.


"This is the most lucid and comprehensive exposition of the Tibetan Book of the Dead to appear in English. It illuminates the esoteric path and reveals the way to heal life's miseries - the projections of our minds." ~Thondup, Buddha Mind

"A scholar in Sanskrit and Tibetan, Fremantle is more than qualified to write this guide; she collaborated with renowned meditation master and scholar Chogyam Trungpa on a well-received translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead in 1975. Nothing less than a careful explanation of the world and the ideas that surround that text, this new work is an excellent and plainly written manual to the complex mythologies, symbols, philosophies and doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism. The West could hardly ask for a better primer. Highly recommended."        ~Library Journal

Author Fremantle, Francesca
Coauthor Padmasambhava
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 407 pp.
Publisher Shambhala Publications 2003
Browse these categories as well: Western Buddhism, Karma and Reincarnation, Death, Grief and the Afterlife, Padmasambhava and the Nyingma School, Bon and Dzogchen Shamanism, Termas, Tantras and Sutras, Noteworthy Releases 2003

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