The Tibetan book of the dead : the great book of natural liberation through understanding in the between

by Padma Sambhava

Other authorsRobert A. F. Thurman (Translator), Karma Lingpa (Discoverer)
Paperback, 1993




New York, N.Y. : Bantam Books, 1993.


"The Tibetan Book of the Dead is one of the texts that, according to legend, Padma-Sambhava was compelled to hide during his visit to Tibet in the late 8th century. The guru hid his books in stones, lakes, and pillars because the Tibetans of that day and age were somehow unprepared for their teachings. Now, in the form of the ever-popular Tibetan Book of the Dead, these teachings are constantly being discovered and rediscovered by Western readers of many different backgrounds - a phenomenon which began in 1927 with Oxford's first edition of Dr. Evans-Wentz's landmark volume. While it is traditionally used as a mortuary text, to be read or recited in the presence of a dead or dying person, this book - which relates the whole experience of death and rebirth in three intermediate states of being - was originally understood as a guide not only for the dead but also for the living. As a contribution to the science of death and dying - not to mention the belief in life after death, or the belief in texts of the world, for its socio-cultural influence in this regard is without comparison."--Jacket.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member dirkjohnson
The so-called Tibetan Book of the Dead is my true Penelope. Thurman's translation is my least favorite of the translations of the Bardo Thodol (except for the W. Y. Evans-Wentz/Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup version, which I don't even count as a translation) because of his experimental coinages which, to my mind, make it difficult to follow the terminology outward from this text to other works, including but not limited to Shi Tro practice.

All that means is that I don't think the coinages work. Otherwise, as usual, Khenpo Thurman is fantastic and deliriously wonderful. (He doesn't actually have the Khenpo degree, but I'll explain why I call him that if you're curious). And the pictures are lovely.

If you're interested in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, I suggest reading multiple translations. Include this among them. Oh oh, mixed messages!

This review applies to the Robert Thurman translation of the Bardo Thodol.
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LibraryThing member Anagarika
An interesting, and informative, read.
LibraryThing member kosmos21

One of the treasures of human literature - the book; And one of the treasures of American (world) intellectuals - Robert Thurman.


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