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“A magnificent achievement. In its power to touch the heart, to awaken consciousness, [The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying] is an inestimable gift.” —San Francisco Chronicle A newly revised and updated edition of the internationally bestselling spiritual classic, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche, is the ultimate introduction to Tibetan Buddh “A magnificent achievement. In its power to touch the heart, to awaken consciousness, [The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying] is an inestimable gift.” —San Francisco Chronicle A newly revised and updated edition of the internationally bestselling spiritual classic, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche, is the ultimate introduction to Tibetan Buddhist wisdom. An enlightening, inspiring, and comforting manual for life and death that the New York Times calls, “The Tibetan equivalent of [Dante’s] The Divine Comedy,” this is the essential work that moved Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions, to proclaim, “I have encountered no book on the interplay of life and death that is more comprehensive, practical, and wise.”


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“A magnificent achievement. In its power to touch the heart, to awaken consciousness, [The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying] is an inestimable gift.” —San Francisco Chronicle A newly revised and updated edition of the internationally bestselling spiritual classic, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche, is the ultimate introduction to Tibetan Buddh “A magnificent achievement. In its power to touch the heart, to awaken consciousness, [The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying] is an inestimable gift.” —San Francisco Chronicle A newly revised and updated edition of the internationally bestselling spiritual classic, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, written by Sogyal Rinpoche, is the ultimate introduction to Tibetan Buddhist wisdom. An enlightening, inspiring, and comforting manual for life and death that the New York Times calls, “The Tibetan equivalent of [Dante’s] The Divine Comedy,” this is the essential work that moved Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religions, to proclaim, “I have encountered no book on the interplay of life and death that is more comprehensive, practical, and wise.”

30 review for The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vivien Ni Dhuinn

    I read this book after my 11year old son was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I needed to find some spiritual form of understanding as to what was happening. The first section of the book deals with how to live well while the second part of the book deals with how to die well. We all acknowledge that it is important to have guidelines as to how to live our life as a compassionate and caring being. Very rarely do we consider that it is equally important to know how to deal with death, be it our own I read this book after my 11year old son was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I needed to find some spiritual form of understanding as to what was happening. The first section of the book deals with how to live well while the second part of the book deals with how to die well. We all acknowledge that it is important to have guidelines as to how to live our life as a compassionate and caring being. Very rarely do we consider that it is equally important to know how to deal with death, be it our own or someone close to us. I cannot say that this was an easy read as it is quite spiritual and me being a westener, found the wording quite hard work at times, especially when I was so so tired and scared. I remember sitting by my son's bed reading the dying part of this book while he slept. Looking back now, that was 2006, I am not sure how I actually managed to read it, but I can say, that I learned a lot from it and yes, it did comfort me. It taught me the hard lesson of impermanence. Nothing lasts forever, and one of the best things we can do for the dying is to support them in their death and not fly in the face of it. Most of us wish to rail against our gods when someone so young is dying, especially if that young person is our child but Sogyal Rinpoche's words helped me to accept my son's approaching death calmy and in the final days encourage him to go on his way with my blessings and love. When sitting down to write a Eulogy for my son's funeral, I took several quotes from this book to help the congregation through their shock and grief. I would highly reccomend this book to anyone going through this major transition from life to death. However, I was quite used to reading spiritual books prior to acquiring this one but for a newcomer to such esoterism and intense spirituality it may prove to much but hopefully perseverance will prevail.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Charuga

    I have been reading this book since I got it in 2002. I read, put it down and pick it up again in 3-6 months. It puts into words the most difficult concepts, yet it is so deep in meanings that it takes awhile for me to digest. I started this book while in a job that I dealt with patients who were living yet quickly dying - it helped me deal with my questions of death. And with dealing with those questions I learned about life. I am now 3/4 done. It's ironic that when I pick it up to read, there I have been reading this book since I got it in 2002. I read, put it down and pick it up again in 3-6 months. It puts into words the most difficult concepts, yet it is so deep in meanings that it takes awhile for me to digest. I started this book while in a job that I dealt with patients who were living yet quickly dying - it helped me deal with my questions of death. And with dealing with those questions I learned about life. I am now 3/4 done. It's ironic that when I pick it up to read, there is an insight to something that's been going on in my life. Am i Buddhist? No, yet this book has brought me closer to my own religious and spiritual beliefs - because God is bigger than one religion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a manual on how to deal with death, but I would argue it has far more to do with life and the living. It is about understanding death and how it will, ultimately, come for all of us. We have one life so we should live it as fully as possible, being mindful in every single situation. It’s not just about how to deal with the consequences of loss, but it’s about understanding how to deal with life. This book gave me the kick I needed and helped propel me out The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a manual on how to deal with death, but I would argue it has far more to do with life and the living. It is about understanding death and how it will, ultimately, come for all of us. We have one life so we should live it as fully as possible, being mindful in every single situation. It’s not just about how to deal with the consequences of loss, but it’s about understanding how to deal with life. This book gave me the kick I needed and helped propel me out of bad mind-state. I couldn’t have asked for more.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I'll admit I haven't finsihed it yet...it's one of those books you read a little in, ponder it, leave the book on the bedside and then read some more in later. I'll admit I haven't finsihed it yet...it's one of those books you read a little in, ponder it, leave the book on the bedside and then read some more in later.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    First, this is not a direct translation of the Bardo Thodol, commonly known in the West as the 'Tibetan Book of Living & Dying.' Rather it is a broad introduction to Tibetan Buddhist beliefs including the author's interpretation of the teachings contained in the Bardo Thodol. The validity of Sogyal's teachings are generally accepted within the Tibetan Buddhist community. Sogyal Rinpoche received teachings from an early age by highly respected teachers such as Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, and D First, this is not a direct translation of the Bardo Thodol, commonly known in the West as the 'Tibetan Book of Living & Dying.' Rather it is a broad introduction to Tibetan Buddhist beliefs including the author's interpretation of the teachings contained in the Bardo Thodol. The validity of Sogyal's teachings are generally accepted within the Tibetan Buddhist community. Sogyal Rinpoche received teachings from an early age by highly respected teachers such as Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. He liberally quotes his teachers throughout, a strong point of this book. 'The Tibetan Book of Living & Dying,' has a new-age syncretic tone, and has the feel of being written to especially appeal to Western readers unfamiliar with Eastern spiritual traditions. Sogyal quotes such diverse figures as Mother Teresa, Shakespeare, and William Blake imbuing the book with a poetic but sometimes convoluted style. This is unsurprising considering Sogyal received a Western education from an early age culminating in a Comparative Religions degree from Cambridge. Sogyal makes the spiritual path seem so alluring and beautiful, which at first drew me into the book. However as I got further into the text something didn't sit right with me. Bliss and beauty are certainly part of a committed spiritual practice but so are sobering, repetitive hard work, and painful sacrifices. I decided to do some research into the history of the author before investing more energy in the book. Potential readers should be aware that in 1994 10 women filed a civil lawsuit of $10 million against Sogyal accusing him of 'coercing' them into sexual acts. His Holiness the Dalai Lama gave his blessings to the lawsuit, which was settled out of court. Sogyal also removed his school Rigpa from the tutelage of Dudjom Rinpoche, his late master of whom he writes so reverently in this book, when Dudjom Rinpoche suggested he quit teaching for awhile after news of the allegations against Sogyal reached him. Does this call into question Sogyal's qualifications as a good teacher? Not necessarily. As a practicing master? One can come to their own conclusions. The Dalai Lama has said, "The fact that the teacher may have done many other good things should not keep us silent." and, "the best thing is whenever exploitation, sexual abuse or money abuse happen, make them public." So as a general introduction to Tibetan Buddhism this is a good book with some major caveats. Sogyal's strengths are as a consummate scholar and his research and selection of quotes are strong and full of wisdom. However I would recommend seeking other sources for those who have already embarked on a path and want to strengthen and deepen their spiritual practice.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    I'm on page 134.... reading slowly. Every time I read a paragraph in this book, I can feel my pulse slow, & my heart open. I drop back into myself and remember why I'm here. I remember to be a human being & not just a human doing. This slowing has happened enough that now even just looking at the book across the room has a similar effect. My mother loaned me her copy -- not sure she's gonna get it back soon as it is such a powerful reminder for me. I'm on page 134.... reading slowly. Every time I read a paragraph in this book, I can feel my pulse slow, & my heart open. I drop back into myself and remember why I'm here. I remember to be a human being & not just a human doing. This slowing has happened enough that now even just looking at the book across the room has a similar effect. My mother loaned me her copy -- not sure she's gonna get it back soon as it is such a powerful reminder for me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Doreen

    I love this book with a passion. The Essential Phowa practice has sustained me through so much loss and I have practiced it countless times over many years. So many sad losses - beautiful A'ine who was only 17 and sent a butterfly as she continued on her journey. My soul sister, Margaret, how I miss her. I was so privileged to be able to practice this for my beloved mum while she was dying - the most profoundly spiritual experience which I treasure more than words can say. The most poignant tim I love this book with a passion. The Essential Phowa practice has sustained me through so much loss and I have practiced it countless times over many years. So many sad losses - beautiful A'ine who was only 17 and sent a butterfly as she continued on her journey. My soul sister, Margaret, how I miss her. I was so privileged to be able to practice this for my beloved mum while she was dying - the most profoundly spiritual experience which I treasure more than words can say. The most poignant time was while miscarrying one of my babies alone in the bathroom. The more you practice the Phowa the more it becomes part of you. The most important time to practice is right at the moment of death and it was only because it is so much a part of my life that I was able to immediately move into the practice in spite of my pain and distress. This book deepened my compassion and gave me a tool that is invaluable..I am so grateful I found it. You don't have to be a Buddhist to practice the Phowa, you can focus on any deity that has meaning for you or just on your own personal symbol of light.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elby

    I read this book and took from it what I needed and left the weird stuff for others. What I took was significant and very helpful, and I keep this book around to re-read those passages. I believe anyone can find something in this book useful to them personally, but probably not all of it. Prepare to be frightened when you come across the writing that speaks to you, most likely at the start. If you are broken and as spiritually wounded as I was when I began this book, also prepare to be overwhelm I read this book and took from it what I needed and left the weird stuff for others. What I took was significant and very helpful, and I keep this book around to re-read those passages. I believe anyone can find something in this book useful to them personally, but probably not all of it. Prepare to be frightened when you come across the writing that speaks to you, most likely at the start. If you are broken and as spiritually wounded as I was when I began this book, also prepare to be overwhelmed. But it is very possible you will find peace, solace, and maybe even change some of your life and thinking habits for the better. It holds very healing advice. From a text book point of view, if your interest is restricted wholly to understanding the concept of Buddhism, this book is well written, very clear, and aimed specifically to the Western reader with all things laid out for the purpose of our being able to understand the religion. I can't imagine anyone not gleaning something useful from "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    The author, Sogyal Rinpoche, is a prolific Buddhist Teacher as well as the founder of many Buddhist Centers worldwide, including Lerab Ling in the South of France, which I think is his best-known retreat center. Anyway, to quote wikipedia: "In 1983, Rinpoche participated in the ‘New Dimensions in Death and Dying’ conference in California. This brought Rinpoche in touch with the work of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Professor Kenneth Ring in the fields of hospice care and near-death research." Conse The author, Sogyal Rinpoche, is a prolific Buddhist Teacher as well as the founder of many Buddhist Centers worldwide, including Lerab Ling in the South of France, which I think is his best-known retreat center. Anyway, to quote wikipedia: "In 1983, Rinpoche participated in the ‘New Dimensions in Death and Dying’ conference in California. This brought Rinpoche in touch with the work of Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and Professor Kenneth Ring in the fields of hospice care and near-death research." Consequently, the contents of this book are borne out of his experience in the field of hospice care and the dying. This was actually my primary text of sorts at the beginning of 2000. I spent about 3 months studying this text and it greatly helped to transform the way I viewed death and convinced me of the absolute need to not only accept death, but to--in a sense--embrace it by making it your friend, your constant companion, your ultimate destination. Because ... well ... because frankly, it is. For anyone dealing with death, grief or even an ingrown toenail, I recommend this book ;^) No, really, it's a must-read. If I could only keep two or three books, this one would definitely be one of them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David

    I first read the so-called ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’, in the acclaimed 1927 Evans-Wentz translation, some twenty years ago and found it pretty heavy going. At the same time, I appreciated that it was packed with the wisdom of the ages and wished that it could have been more accessible, rather than reading like an early twentieth century German academic tract by a von-someone at Heidelberg University. So after stumbling upon Rinpoche’s book recently I was delighted to find that it was written in I first read the so-called ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead’, in the acclaimed 1927 Evans-Wentz translation, some twenty years ago and found it pretty heavy going. At the same time, I appreciated that it was packed with the wisdom of the ages and wished that it could have been more accessible, rather than reading like an early twentieth century German academic tract by a von-someone at Heidelberg University. So after stumbling upon Rinpoche’s book recently I was delighted to find that it was written in the clear and informative style I wanted, and was moreover endorsed by such luminaries as John Cleese and Joanna Lumley. In the field of religion it’s sometimes reassuring to know that you’re not reading something completely obscure and loopy. You have to be eased gently into these things; otherwise you’ll find yourself on a tide of introversion that might land you in a psychiatric hospital. Browse the surface for nutritious plankton, but avoid the cold and murky deep, is my approach. Dig out the cockles, by all means, but at the same time keep an eye on the treacherous tides. Anyway, to get back to the book, the first few chapters especially are a grand meditation on death. Rinpoche very gently and simply points out where we’re going wrong in our Western materialism, and you can’t really argue with what he says. Very occasionally you come across a book that puts into words what nobody else seems to say but what has been blindingly obvious to you for as long as you can remember: ‘Yes! That’s it, exactly!’ you feel like shouting. ‘Where have you been all my life?’ Well, this is one of those books. As I say, the first few chapters about attitudes to death in the West and where we are going wrong are fascinating, although the later chapters on yoga and meditation did not really take my fancy. I find the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer fascinating reading as well, but when they start saying things such as you have to go to church to be saved and all the rest of it I tend to switch off. You have to devote your life to something like yoga, and there’s not much chance of me finding a ‘master’, so I’m happy, with Samuel Beckett, to be left alone with my books to make of them what I can, without the organisational superstructure. I don’t like groups. And Buddhism does make a great deal of sense. I can well imagine, for example, that the soul on death becomes surrounded by objectifications of the person’s actions and desires when alive, so that what you do in life comes back at you like a boomerang when you die. I watched a documentary once about an explorer who lived with some remote tribe in the Amazon rain forest, and was allowed to take part in some dangerous ceremony in which he was spiritually ‘purified’ by taking a natural drug as a part of the ceremonies. Later, he described how it felt: all things are connected, and he felt every bad thing he had ever done as the person on the receiving end of it had felt. He planned to find everyone he’d ever harmed in word or deed and apologise to them, to put things right. This is justice that feels right: it is absolutely fair that the good are rewarded and the bad get their comeuppance – and that it is what you yourself have done that recoils on you rather than that you are punished by some higher being. When you think you’re hurting others you’re just hurting yourself. This ties in with the teaching of other religions and with modern psychology: you create your own heaven and your own hell. If God is love, He doesn’t want us to harm ourselves like this. Put your hand in the fire and it’s going to hurt. As far as I’m concerned, the spiritual experience is like a diamond, and the various religious approaches are its facets. They all talk essentially about the same thing, but the human urge for separation and conflict has roughened the edges of each somewhat so that they don’t fit together as harmoniously as they should, to the point where they often seem more like competing businesses than reflections of the same divine truth. This book doesn’t tell you that you should become a Buddhist and that this is the only way to attain salvation and avoid hell. The ‘you’re either with us or against us’ point of view is wholly alien to it. It is almost scientific in its impartiality, simply pointing out what the case is. It all makes perfect sense, wherever you’re coming from: we have to get back to incorporating death into our everyday lives, because just not thinking about it is the most unhealthy approach of all.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bridget Petrella

    This book will change your life. This acclaimed spiritual masterpiece is widely regarded as one of the most complete and authoritative presentations of the Tibetan Buddhist teachings ever written. A manual for life and death and a magnificent source of sacred inspiration from the heart of the Tibetan tradition, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying provides a lucid and inspiring introduction to the practice of meditation, to the nature of mind, to karma and rebirth, to compassionate love and care This book will change your life. This acclaimed spiritual masterpiece is widely regarded as one of the most complete and authoritative presentations of the Tibetan Buddhist teachings ever written. A manual for life and death and a magnificent source of sacred inspiration from the heart of the Tibetan tradition, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying provides a lucid and inspiring introduction to the practice of meditation, to the nature of mind, to karma and rebirth, to compassionate love and care for the dying, and to the trials and rewards of the spiritual path. Sogyal Rinpoche was born in Tibet and raised by one of the most revered spiritual masters of this century, Jamyang Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö. With the Chinese occupation of Tibet, he went into exile with his master, who died in 1959 in Sikkim in the Himalayas. After university studies in Delhi and Cambridge, England, he acted as translator and aide to several leading Tibetan masters, and began teaching in the West in 1974. Rinpoche sees his life's task in transplanting the wisdom of Buddha to the West by offering training in the vision set out in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. This training can enable those who follow it to understand, embody, and integrate Buddhist teachings into their everyday lives. Rinpoche's reputation as an authority on the teachings associated with The Tibetan Book of the Dead and his dialogue with leading figures in the fields of psychology, science, and healing make him a sought-after speaker at international conferences and lectures. He travels extensively, teaching in Europe, North America, Australia, and Asia, and is the founder and spiritual director of Rigpa, a network of Buddhist centers and groups around the world.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Though I am finished with this book, it is not going back on its shelf. I'm placing it right next to my meditation spot and intend to put its words to use in my practice. And when the time comes that I or a loved one has the opportunity to prepare for death, I again expect to keep this book close at hand. I read this book right after walking away from a serious car accident with only bruises. My years of yoga training served me well during the accident and its aftermath, but I knew that it was ti Though I am finished with this book, it is not going back on its shelf. I'm placing it right next to my meditation spot and intend to put its words to use in my practice. And when the time comes that I or a loved one has the opportunity to prepare for death, I again expect to keep this book close at hand. I read this book right after walking away from a serious car accident with only bruises. My years of yoga training served me well during the accident and its aftermath, but I knew that it was time to open this book and dig more deeply into the process and meaning of life and death while I still had the chance. Within, I found practical, down-to-earth advice on how to live, why we live, and how to die. Sogyal Rinpoche covers every conceivable situation a person could encounter and stresses the importance of preparation through meditation at every stage. He also tells inspiring stories and helps the reader to approach these big, often scary topics with a relaxed, open mind. I am grateful for having had the chance to read this book, and I hope to ensure in my own life that its wisdom was not passed along in vain. Thank you, Sogyal Rinpoche, for helping me to see more clearly the purpose of my own life and to be less afraid of both living and dying.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ellery

    When I started reading, I was unaware of the numerous abuse allegations against Sogyal Rinpoche, extensively documented and largely substantiated in the independent investigatory report conducted on behalf of his own Rigpa charity in 2018: https://www.rigpa.org/independent-inv.... Obviously, this news greatly saddens and disturbs me. I had hoped to find some measure of wisdom and solace in the book (especially when confronting the fear of death in pandemic times), but that hope is gone now. I do When I started reading, I was unaware of the numerous abuse allegations against Sogyal Rinpoche, extensively documented and largely substantiated in the independent investigatory report conducted on behalf of his own Rigpa charity in 2018: https://www.rigpa.org/independent-inv.... Obviously, this news greatly saddens and disturbs me. I had hoped to find some measure of wisdom and solace in the book (especially when confronting the fear of death in pandemic times), but that hope is gone now. I don't plan on reading this book any further, and I will remember with wariness the potential monstrosity of so-called "holy men" in the future...there is good and wisdom in this world, but it's not to be found here.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Daniela

    The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a beautiful book, full of truth and wisdom. I have been reading it off and on for the past couple of years and finally finished it. What I really love about this book is that it puts the ancient teachings of Buddha in a modern context and addresses many alarming problems with modern society that are leading our world toward destruction. One of these problems is that Western society has dismissed spirituality in favor of a "see to believe" attitude based on The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a beautiful book, full of truth and wisdom. I have been reading it off and on for the past couple of years and finally finished it. What I really love about this book is that it puts the ancient teachings of Buddha in a modern context and addresses many alarming problems with modern society that are leading our world toward destruction. One of these problems is that Western society has dismissed spirituality in favor of a "see to believe" attitude based on empiricism, the senses, and on the limited perspectives of humans. This can especially be seen in the attitudes toward medicine, death and dying. This book is eye-opening and I think everyone should read it. Now that I have finally finished reading and understood the many messages of this book, I will be looking for more books on Buddhism and eventually plan to find a teacher or temple. I would also like to visit Asia again, this time with more knowledge and appreciation for Eastern philosophy.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ian Morphett

    Couldnt finish it, what a droll read, no offence placid buddhist dudes, but you are boring as batshit.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Smith

    As a Westerner, I find Eastern philosophy at once simple and complex: the basic tenets of Buddhism and Eastern religion appear to be very simple (consideration for all living things, consciousness of all our actions and the knowledge that every action affects others, and a "forsaking" of the permanence of material things), but for those of us who've built our lives and measured our success by the acquisition of these very things, it's a hard sell. The main message I've been getting from the book As a Westerner, I find Eastern philosophy at once simple and complex: the basic tenets of Buddhism and Eastern religion appear to be very simple (consideration for all living things, consciousness of all our actions and the knowledge that every action affects others, and a "forsaking" of the permanence of material things), but for those of us who've built our lives and measured our success by the acquisition of these very things, it's a hard sell. The main message I've been getting from the book (which a good friend and bandmate gave me to help me with the impending death of my mother) is that the greatest gift we can give to a dying person is a "good death." We do this by comforting them, reassuring them that they are loved and valued and that their life has made a great impact. (At least that's what I've been doing!) I find that the book tends to bang us over the head with dozens of metaphors on a single page ("think of a babbling stream..." then, two sentences later, "think of a frozen iceberg," etc.), but the messages of spirituality and reflection are very refreshing and welcome in our grasping world.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara Rastakhiz

    well now i must say this book is really meking me want to return to my ow religion not in the form that i used to know! in fact by reading this book i find some unfathomable parts of my religion exolained (not that my religion is hard...in the contrary its really easy but there is no one who can explain it well) so every page and chapter i read makes me want to read more and understand more! (though there are some things in the book that i just can`t accept ( the concept od rebirth for example w well now i must say this book is really meking me want to return to my ow religion not in the form that i used to know! in fact by reading this book i find some unfathomable parts of my religion exolained (not that my religion is hard...in the contrary its really easy but there is no one who can explain it well) so every page and chapter i read makes me want to read more and understand more! (though there are some things in the book that i just can`t accept ( the concept od rebirth for example which is copletely beside the point) but these do not interfere with the base and essence of the book which i know now for a fact is shared in all religions. now the fever is past....and really i heared and read some unpleseant things about the author so for the past few months i have been contemplating whether to keep on reading or not...i mean the book on itself is really amazing and beautiful like it solved many of my problems but the author...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Sigh, I'm not so keen on this whole belief in literal reincarnation business (even with the nuances he throws in). ---- I eventually gave up on reading this book around chapter 17 or so. It just drove me batty, the luminous this and extraordinary that. Sorry if I'm just being close-minded. (I will say that chapter 11 of this book is actually really really good, with the exception of a couple of crystal-radiant paragraphs, it showed a genuine compassion for the dying, very touching, offering the dy Sigh, I'm not so keen on this whole belief in literal reincarnation business (even with the nuances he throws in). ---- I eventually gave up on reading this book around chapter 17 or so. It just drove me batty, the luminous this and extraordinary that. Sorry if I'm just being close-minded. (I will say that chapter 11 of this book is actually really really good, with the exception of a couple of crystal-radiant paragraphs, it showed a genuine compassion for the dying, very touching, offering the dying what they need rather than what you want). Otherwise, I don't see why people hold this in such esteem. Why do we want things to be so amazing and mindblowing?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Zo

    I cannot recommend the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying highly enough. I believe it is one of the most important books for anyone in the modern world to read. The premise as I see it is: 1) throughout the modern world, our fear, avoidance, or shrugging off of death and dying is an enormous cause of our personal and collective spiritual suffering, as well as social injustices and environmental unraveling; 2) the possibility of understanding death clearly, using our lives to prepare for death, and I cannot recommend the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying highly enough. I believe it is one of the most important books for anyone in the modern world to read. The premise as I see it is: 1) throughout the modern world, our fear, avoidance, or shrugging off of death and dying is an enormous cause of our personal and collective spiritual suffering, as well as social injustices and environmental unraveling; 2) the possibility of understanding death clearly, using our lives to prepare for death, and wholeheartedly living our lives free of suffering is available to us in every single moment; and 3) there is a path by which to practice the integration and embrace of death & dying into our lives. Besides illuminating insights into some of the most persistent questions of what it means to be a human being, it's written in extremely conversational and accessible language. Read it now!! You can actually download it for free here: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&so...

  20. 5 out of 5

    PAЯTHAИ

    The Tibetan book of Living and Dying is actually the interpretation or briefing of the sacred ancient Tibetan Buddhist text widely known in the west as The Tibetan Book of the Dead said to be written by great Indian Buddhist master Padmasambhava who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century. An excellent book which doesn't have anything to do with religion Buddhism but everything with compassion and humanity with which it shows how can we transform ourselves and this world while living our lif The Tibetan book of Living and Dying is actually the interpretation or briefing of the sacred ancient Tibetan Buddhist text widely known in the west as The Tibetan Book of the Dead said to be written by great Indian Buddhist master Padmasambhava who brought Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century. An excellent book which doesn't have anything to do with religion Buddhism but everything with compassion and humanity with which it shows how can we transform ourselves and this world while living our life and even after that. People of eastern origin will not find much difficulty in comprehending the ideology of this book because they have the inherent virtue of coexisting in this world. But the author made this book such a way that anyone can understand this sacred things without embedding themselves into Buddhism. Am very much afraid to comment on the contents of this book because only a learned person who have decades of education from his master can grasp at least what it really meant, let alone practice it of his own. This book is all about death, dead and dying. Buddhism doesn't see death as unfortunate or mysterious or painful but an opportunity. Opportunity for achieving a  higher metaphysical realm. And all their life they are preparing themselves for this. Whatever happiness and comfortableness we see in this life is nothing compared to the 'state' if we able to achieve after our death. According to Buddhist philosophy whatever we do in this life is to achieve liberation of our mind (I couldn't find the word salvation anywhere in this book) which is a all free formless, mediumless state; Bodhisattva or Buddha. If at all we fail to attain that then at least try for a rebirth in a better realm, say human. Again try the same for the liberation of our soul or mind to attain Buddhahood and it is an endless cycle of life and rebirth called samsara. But the attainment depends on how we live our life in this world. The quality of our karma decide not only the quality of our death but the 'effects' of our death too. The rebirth and reincarnation are our chance or possibility for the liberation and which is not our aim but actually is a punishment because we have to again go through an entire lifetime. So according to Buddhism it's not only what 'life' itself is important but release or free from this life and from every rebirth is more important and that's what we have to try for. In short nirvana or to become Buddha is the ultimate goal. We may have to go through endless life cycle to reach that level. The implication is its not Buddha going to help the world but the way of attaining Bodhisattva is having the power to change every person in his life and this world. Try to read the book without any concerns of religion. Author himself a renowned Tibetan Buddhist master who moreorless successfully able to explain the ancient traditional texts without much mystical or supernatural elements. Finally only one thing will remain in your mind ; compassion. Being compassionate is the foremost thing in this life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    An extremely important (and relevant) carry-along during my half-year trip to North India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Rinpoche writes largely to a Western audience, so it doesn't surprise me that much of his content seems simplistic and applicable to the ordinary observer. Really, TBLD is just another book that explains the "intermediate" or "transitional" states of life and death, which are otherwise known as "bardos." I don't mean to suggest that Rinpoche totally sold out (as some refugees have suggest An extremely important (and relevant) carry-along during my half-year trip to North India, Nepal, and Bhutan. Rinpoche writes largely to a Western audience, so it doesn't surprise me that much of his content seems simplistic and applicable to the ordinary observer. Really, TBLD is just another book that explains the "intermediate" or "transitional" states of life and death, which are otherwise known as "bardos." I don't mean to suggest that Rinpoche totally sold out (as some refugees have suggested, for whatever reason), wrote about a topic of Tibetan Buddhism, and articulated it in such a way that Western audiences groveled for more insight. Rather, he's a very thoughtful writer who has done a very good job in conveying Buddhism to a particular group of people. I actually found myself delighted reading his account of Tibetan Buddhism.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    Parts of this book are interesting, but overall it kind of starts to drag in the middle. I appreciated a look at life, death, and justice from a completely different perspective. It also does represent a considerably more balanced perspective on life and death than most of American culture has at present. However, I cannot understand anyone looking at the world and coming away believing that there aren't truly evil people. And it's too much of a stretch to think about colored humors attached to Parts of this book are interesting, but overall it kind of starts to drag in the middle. I appreciated a look at life, death, and justice from a completely different perspective. It also does represent a considerably more balanced perspective on life and death than most of American culture has at present. However, I cannot understand anyone looking at the world and coming away believing that there aren't truly evil people. And it's too much of a stretch to think about colored humors attached to my senses providing my life essence. My Western-ness is showing. The discussion of science and religion at the end should not have been attempted. It distracts from his actual point and is poorly accomplished. Science is a Western formulation; its constructs simply have nothing to do with Eastern ones. In general, the pursuit of science ignores religion. In the rare cases they overlap, we do require them to agree. But Sogyal Rinpoche cannot do the mathematics required to understand the physics on which he is commenting. Therefore, he cannot understand it, and cannot hope to meaningfully discuss how it might relate to his beliefs. Furthermore, he ignores the importance of Kant to both physics and philosophy, and the devotion of countless Orthodox Jews to physics, while musing on the possible contributions of a devoted genius scientist-theologian. His discussion of unity also misses the point of any serious intellectual considering unification; Camus detailed the intellectual struggle against the impossibility of unification in "The Myth of Sisyphus." Sogyal Rinpoche's approach, similar to that of the decried French existentialists and Husserl, he deemed intellectual suicide.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kev

    Scientists recently discovered what happens to the body, and in what order, as its dies. Their discovery replicated what Buddhism has said for millenia as outlined in this book. However, The "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' continues with what happens to 'you' next, after you're dead, and if for no other reason it makes this book a must read. Scientists recently discovered what happens to the body, and in what order, as its dies. Their discovery replicated what Buddhism has said for millenia as outlined in this book. However, The "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' continues with what happens to 'you' next, after you're dead, and if for no other reason it makes this book a must read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nelson Zagalo

    This is one of the three books I consider should be mandatory to read by all. The other two are "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, and "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. This is one of the three books I consider should be mandatory to read by all. The other two are "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan, and "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vasile Corjan

    After finding out about his sexual assaults , every row in this book feels like a fraud.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tom Lombardo

    Sogyal Rinpoche fled from the Chinese when they invaded Tibet, a modern tragedy of a magnitude not generally acknowledged in the West. He writes of the invasion, "Over 1 million people out of a population of 6 million have died at the hands of the Chinese; Tibet's vast forests, as indispensable as those of the Amazon to the ecology of the world, have been cut down; its wildlife has been almost totally massacred; its plateaus and rivers have been polluted with nuclear waste; the vast majority of Sogyal Rinpoche fled from the Chinese when they invaded Tibet, a modern tragedy of a magnitude not generally acknowledged in the West. He writes of the invasion, "Over 1 million people out of a population of 6 million have died at the hands of the Chinese; Tibet's vast forests, as indispensable as those of the Amazon to the ecology of the world, have been cut down; its wildlife has been almost totally massacred; its plateaus and rivers have been polluted with nuclear waste; the vast majority of its six-and-a half thousand monasteries lie gutted or destroyed; the Tibetan people face extinction, and the glory of their own culture in their homeland has been almost entirely obliterated." Tibetan Buddhism is the fastest growing religion in the United States, and the expatriate community of Tibetan spiritual teachers spans the globe, laying down deep roots in the hearts and souls of countless individuals. Sogyal Rinpoche is one of the teachers at the forefront of this movement. emonstrating a remarkable resilience to personal tragedy and to the trials his community and religion have been forced to endure, Sogyal has managed to make deeply realized loving contributions to the development of Buddhism in the West. He is a founder of Rigpa, a global network of over a hundred Buddhist centers. These days he travels from one to another, giving talks to thousands of people annually. His website, www.rigpa.org, informs us that he was [born in Kham in Eastern Tibet, [and] was recognized as the incarnation of Lerab Lingpa Tertรถn Sogyal, a teacher to the thirteenth Dalai Lama, by Jamyang Khyentse Chรถkyi Lodrรถ, one of the most outstanding spiritual masters of the twentieth century. Jamyang Khyentse supervised Rinpoche's training and raised him like his own son. In 1971, Rinpoche went to England where he received a Western education, studying Comparative Religion at Cambridge University. He went on to study with many other great masters, of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism, serving as their translator and aide. Sogyal's greatest gift is his ability to explain complex, esoteric teachings to Westerners. A master of the English language, he is able guide a reader from a state of curiosity to a state of profound understanding. Reading his books can produce within the reader a meditative state of mind. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is one for the ages. A hundred years from now it will still be a classic. It has been translated into over thirty languages and has sold more than two million copies. Used extensively by hospice professionals, by psychologists and counselors, by doctors and other health care professionals, it is probably the best book about dying ever written. Few books are as comprehensive as this; you can literally begin reading the book with no knowledge of Buddhism at all, and by the time you are finished with it you will have a deep, personal understanding of Buddhist teachings and how they relate to the way we live and the way we die. As Sogyal explains in his introduction, it is impossible to understand the The Tibetan Book of the Dead outside of the culture and spiritual tradition that produced it. This book provides that context, giving the reader a full introduction as well as a complete elucidation of the these ancient Tibetan teachings. Moreover, it explains death only in the context of life, showing how the concepts of karma and of compassion impact the individual's experience of the "bardos of the inbetween" as well as how an individual's actions affect the cosmos in general. Of all Buddhist concepts, that of karma is the one most often bandied about. "Instant karma" is a catch phrase meaning immediate retribution for something we've done -- good or bad -- and that gets to the essence of what karma is. But the full explanation is far more illuminating: Karma, then, is not fatalistic or predetermined. Karma means our ability to create and to change. It is creative because we can determine how and why we act. We can change. The future is in our hands, and in the hands of our heart. Buddha said: Karma creates all, like an artist, Karma composes, like a dancer As everything is impermanent, fluid, and interdependent, how we act and think inevitably change the future. There is no situation, however seemingly hopeless or terrible, such as a terminal disease, which we cannot use to evolve. And there is no crime or cruelty that sincere regret and real spiritual practice cannot purify. Milarepa is considered Tibet's greatest yogin, poet, and saint. I remember as a child the thrill of reading his life story, and poring over the little painted illustrations in my handwritten copy of his life. As a young man Milarepa trained to be a sorcerer, and out of revenge killed and ruined countless people with his black magic. And yet through his remorse, and the ordeals and hardships he had to undergo with his great master Marpa, he was able to purify all these negative actions. He went on to become enlightened, a figure who has been the inspiration of millions down through the centuries. In Tibet we say: "Negative action has one good quality; it can be purified." So there is always hope. Even murderers and the most hardened criminals can change and overcome the conditioning that led them to their crimes. Our present condition, if we use it skillfully and with wisdom, can be an inspiration to free ourselves from the bondage of suffering. Whatever is happening to us now mirrors our past karma. If we know that, and know it really, whenever suffering and difficulties befall us, we do not view them particularly as a failure or a catastrophe, or see suffering as a punishment in any way. Nor do we blame ourselves, or indulge in self-hatred. We see the pain we are going through as the completion of the effects, the fruition, of a past karma. Tibetans say that suffering is "a broom that sweeps away all our negative karma." We can even be grateful that one karma is coming to an end. We know that "good fortune," a fruit of good karma, may soon pass if we do not use it well, and "misfortune," the result of negative karma, may in fact be giving us a marvelous opportunity to evolve.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Sogyal Rinpoche imparts his Tibetan Buddhist tradition with the best of his ability - “what is I hope from this book? To inspire a quiet revolution in the whole way we look at health and care for the dying, and the whole way we look at life and care for the living.” In that he successful imparted his knowledge of the care the dying deserve. How to really be there for them as a compassionate presence, without ego and armed with forgiveness and love, as they transition into the most vulnerable sta Sogyal Rinpoche imparts his Tibetan Buddhist tradition with the best of his ability - “what is I hope from this book? To inspire a quiet revolution in the whole way we look at health and care for the dying, and the whole way we look at life and care for the living.” In that he successful imparted his knowledge of the care the dying deserve. How to really be there for them as a compassionate presence, without ego and armed with forgiveness and love, as they transition into the most vulnerable state of their life. And to embody that same compassionate, kind heart in this life. Life is IMPERMANENT. That alone was worth reading this book. Other thoughts: At times I was lost in the dogma (bardos, Buddhist realms, Phowa practice and all of ch.17 “intrinsic radiance”). This didn’t detract from the overall message though. It was helpful to read about meditation from an Eastern religion point of view rather than a Western “quick fix” or self-centered style meditation that I am more familiar with. Ch 5 “Bringing Home the Mind” dove in to some great basic meditation methods. I really liked the first 5 chapters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Abhishek Prasad

    Probably a great book for someone spiritual and who is interested in exploring buddhism. But it was a drag for me. At times gave me panic attacks, because the book basically just re-told the bad experiences I've had with my past religious beliefs/practices. The only good thing I could take away from here was the practise of meditation. But I could have just stuck to any Sam Harris book/session for that. Definitely a big no for Agnostic people like me. Although the teachings might seem different but Probably a great book for someone spiritual and who is interested in exploring buddhism. But it was a drag for me. At times gave me panic attacks, because the book basically just re-told the bad experiences I've had with my past religious beliefs/practices. The only good thing I could take away from here was the practise of meditation. But I could have just stuck to any Sam Harris book/session for that. Definitely a big no for Agnostic people like me. Although the teachings might seem different but to me they seem to be the same version of other religions. Probably it's my own bias. But anyway, staying away from Buddhism because of this introduction. Probably I am being too harsh on the book. But oh well, it is what it is.

  29. 4 out of 5

    George Ilsley

    This book was massively popular in the 1990s and deservedly so. Living and dying is surely a topic that touches us all! Andrew Harvey is credited along with Patrick Gaffney as "Edited by" but Harvey is generally considered as the ghostwriter of this modern spiritual classic. This book introduced me of "Tonglen" which is a simple practice, and offers a very intimate demonstration of the power of compassion—towards other, but also self-compassion. Tonglen is a practice I have often done on the bus w This book was massively popular in the 1990s and deservedly so. Living and dying is surely a topic that touches us all! Andrew Harvey is credited along with Patrick Gaffney as "Edited by" but Harvey is generally considered as the ghostwriter of this modern spiritual classic. This book introduced me of "Tonglen" which is a simple practice, and offers a very intimate demonstration of the power of compassion—towards other, but also self-compassion. Tonglen is a practice I have often done on the bus while commuting. Transit is perfect for practice!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Perrity Fowler

    I picked this book as a guide to better deal with the illness of a family member. I have a world to say about this book and it’s contents but truly all that really matters is to say is that it is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. If there was one book I’d recommend everyone to read, it would be this one. We will all experience illness, dying and death of others throughout and our own at the end of our lives. To avoid, suppress or reject this reality really only creates greater fear I picked this book as a guide to better deal with the illness of a family member. I have a world to say about this book and it’s contents but truly all that really matters is to say is that it is one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. If there was one book I’d recommend everyone to read, it would be this one. We will all experience illness, dying and death of others throughout and our own at the end of our lives. To avoid, suppress or reject this reality really only creates greater fear and rejection of something that if chosen, can be approached with a greater sense of ease and lightness of heart if we only take that first step and turn the page.

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