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Ezekiel Moore
Ezekiel Moore

The Tibetan Book Of The Dead: First Complete Translation [TIBETAN BK OF THE DEAD]

Since it was first published in English in 1927, The Tibetan Book of the Dead has proved to be the most popular book on Tibetan Buddhism in the Western world. At present, there are at least 21 translations in multiple languages and formats. There are also multiple expert commentaries, ranging from scholarly discussions to Buddhist practice guides.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: First Complete Translation [TIBETAN BK OF THE DEAD]

In modern times, the first English translation, by Dr. Walter Y. Evans-Wentz, was published in 1927 by Oxford University Press. Dr. Evans-Wentz named the book The Tibetan Book of the Dead after the Egyptian book of the same name since he saw several parallels between the two. Commentaries were written by others, the most famous of which was produced by psychiatrist Carl Jung. His insights have helped many to have a more complete understanding of the often difficult texts.

Offers the wisdom of the Tibetan ancients to a jaded modern world Sunday Telegraph One of the great scripts of civilization . a voyage inside the profound imagination of a people Time Out I can't imagine anybody aware of his or her own temporal humanity not wanting to find out what this book says . this version is by far the most complete and comprehensive to date Independent on Sunday Magnificent . beautiful verse meditations Guardian This is an event. A new and comprehensive translation of one of the seminal works of Tibetan Buddhism Richard Gere One of the great treasures of wisdom in the spiritual heritage of humanity -- Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

The Book of the Dead developed from a tradition of funerary manuscripts dating back to the Egyptian Old Kingdom. The first funerary texts were the Pyramid Texts, first used in the Pyramid of King Unas of the 5th Dynasty, around 2400 BCE.[5] These texts were written on the walls of the burial chambers within pyramids, and were exclusively for the use of the pharaoh (and, from the 6th Dynasty, the queen). The Pyramid Texts were written in an unusual hieroglyphic style; many of the hieroglyphs representing humans or animals were left incomplete or drawn mutilated, most likely to prevent them causing any harm to the dead pharaoh.[6] The purpose of the Pyramid Texts was to help the dead king take his place amongst the gods, in particular to reunite him with his divine father Ra; at this period the afterlife was seen as being in the sky, rather than the underworld described in the Book of the Dead.[6] Towards the end of the Old Kingdom, the Pyramid Texts ceased to be an exclusively royal privilege, and were adopted by regional governors and other high-ranking officials.[6]

In 1842 Karl Richard Lepsius published a translation of a manuscript dated to the Ptolemaic era and coined the name "Book of The Dead" (das Todtenbuch). He also introduced the spell numbering system which is still in use, identifying 165 different spells.[15] Lepsius promoted the idea of a comparative edition of the Book of the Dead, drawing on all relevant manuscripts. This project was undertaken by Édouard Naville, starting in 1875 and completed in 1886, producing a three-volume work including a selection of vignettes for every one of the 186 spells he worked with, the more significant variations of the text for every spell, and commentary. In 1867 Samuel Birch of the British Museum published the first extensive English translation.[63] In 1876 he published a photographic copy of the Papyrus of Nebseny.[64]

Since its first English translation in 1927, the Tibetan guide to spiritual and mental liberation called the Bardo Thodol has been known in the West as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The book has reappeared in several English-language versions since then, some based only loosely on the original. The text has thus lived several lives in English alone, appearing to be reborn time and again before new audiences, often with varying titles and content. Yet these recent lives are part of a much older cycle of rebirths. The original is believed to have been composed in the eighth century c.e. by the great master Padma Sambhava, then hidden away by its author for the salvation of future generations. The text was rediscovered six centuries later by Karma Lingpa, believed by some to be an incarnation of Padma Sambhava himself. Since the fourteenth century C.E. the text has occupied a central place in Tibetan Buddhism, giving birth to a large number of parallel, supplementary, and derivative texts.

Meditation exercise for the process of dissolution during death Tibetan Buddhism offers numerous practices designed to aid the individual in attaining enlightenment, a perfect state of wisdom, compassion and bliss, through an evolution that takes many lifetimes. The following meditation is based on a traditional Tibetan Buddhist method of preparing oneself to navigate the dying process in a calm and aware state. It is thought that such preparation for death gives the dying person the greatest opportunity to maximize the potential for enlightenment while dying and to attain a positive rebirth so that one may continue to work towards enlightenment in future lives. The meditation is to be done during regular meditation sessions, and it can also be applied to the processes of falling asleep and wakening. Complete the entire cycle in each meditation session - beginning with earth dissolving into water all the way to the clear light and then going backwards through the cycle to end up again at the earth element. For more detailed information on this process, please consult my translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. - Robert Thurman The following text is available as a RealAudio clip. Select Streaming Format Real Media 56k Real Media Broadband Get a Media Player Stage One: earth into water Let's get into meditative posture, nice and balanced and comfortable. Close your eyes. It's ideal in the Buddhist meditation to leave them half open so that you have a half curtain window so you don't make a duality between inside and outside. You don't pay attention to either the inside or the outside but you withdraw your mental attention away from your visual field. Then just observe your breathing inward and outward and try to count your breaths to ten. If you lose your count by being distracted by thinking, go back to one. Count on the inhales. Now imagine that you are dying and you are losing sight and memory of your town, your house or room, the people with you. Also your body starts to go numb, your breathing becomes labored and you lose track of who's drawing breath. You forget to breathe. And then you enter first the realm of hallucination. You feel like a sort of fainting, melting sensation. There's a visual swirl all around you but not in your eyes, you're not seeing. It's sort of in back of your eyes, in the center of your brain behind the eyes. It's a swirling visionary state which is mirage like and illusion like. And you feel kind of a melting. This is the earth element dissolving into water. Don't be frightened. Just let yourself go limp. Stage Two: water into fire Stage Three: fire into air Stage Four: air into consciousness And then you feel a little warm, kind of a blush of inner heat. Everything seems to be smoky around you like there was a fire somewhere nearby. Don't be frightened of that because it's just the water element dissolving into the fire element. This cools and it's as if the embers are sort of sputtering or as if the blue green light of the fireflies, zillions of fire flies are swarming around you and within you really, because there is no in and out here and they are blinking their lights. Everything is blinking and swirling. And that is the fire element dissolving into the wind element. Then this swirling, flickering pale light solidifies and everything in your whole world becomes a single, still, candle flame. That is the wind element dissolving into consciousness or pure space. Stage Five: consciousness into luminance Stage Six: luminance into radiance Stage Seven: radiance into imminence Then this candle flame expands and expands and you feel your awareness expanding and expanding and it is no longer in a point but is now a vast realm or environment. And you enter into this state of luminance, into the infinite moonlit sky, white light everywhere and you as infinite, losing your sense of embodiment for the moment. Then this infinite white moonlit sky turns into an infinite sunlit sky, more reddish -orange, more hot and radiant. And you are that vastness of the sun. You feel more balanced in space. You resist retracting back into your body or trying to. When that stabilizes you then move deeper from the realm of radiance of sunlit sky into the realm of imminence, like a dark-lit sky. Everything is dark and you are very, very close to complete unawareness but still lucidly aware in the brilliant blackness, although now you're aware that you are content to be unaware in a more loose way. Stage Eight: imminence into transparency Finally you come to the clear light. Everything becomes transparent. There is no sense of being in absolute space apart from things. Differentiated and interrelated things re-emerge within a sense of infinity of space, re-emerge to be experienced from all sides from within, not just from an observer's perspective. Everything is transparent like glass and completely mutually interdependent. You feel very, very calm and peaceful and extremely alert and aware in a multi-dimensional and multi-perspectival way. This is the restful state in the universe, the most restorative, energizing, and liberating. It seems to be so subtle that it seems to be past in a split second. And since we do not feel balanced and content when we are not grasping onto any differentiation or any pattern or recognition, we revert right back into the dark light, and from there into the sun light, from there into the moon light, from there into the candle flame, from there into the firefly zone, from there into the smoke zone, from there into the hallucination zone and from there we go back into our ordinary bodies. We dedicate the merit of this exploration to our eventual, complete conscious ability to traverse these stages or to be simultaneously aware of all of these levels at once even in our engagement in the ordinary world, which is a kind of definition of the state of perfect enlightenment. And we do this for the benefit of all beings. These eight states - earth into water, water into fire, fire into air, air into consciousness, consciousness into luminance, luminance into radiance, radiance into imminence, imminence into transparency and then reversed -- transparency to imminence, imminence to radiance, radiance to luminance, luminance to consciousness, consciousness to air, air to fire, fire to water and water to earth -- if you familiarize yourselves with that process, as if it were an arpeggio or something, like a scale, it's considered really, really useful. From the third Art of Dying Conference, March 2000 2000 Tibet House. Used by permission. Robert Thurman's Recommended Reading Levine, Steven and Levine, Ondrea. "Who Dies?: An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying." Anchor, 1989. Steven Levine is the longest term veteran of work with the dying. His meditations are sophisticated and his approach is not dogmatic. Longaker, Christine. "Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying." Doubleday, 1998 This is a practical and useful book. Rinpoche, Sogyal. "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying." Harper San Francisco, 1994. This is an accessible digest of healthy Tibetan attitudes about death that is filled with anecdotes and colorful teachings. Singh, Kathleen Dowling. "The Grace in Dying." Harper San Francisco, 2000. Kathleen Singh has genuine experience with the dying and she considers the importance of the individual's spiritual life and image of the afterlife in the process of dying. Thurman, Robert and Wise, Tad. "Circling the Sacred Mountain: A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas." Bantam Doubleday Dell, 2000. This book gives an overview of the Tibetan vision of life, human evolution over numerous lifetimes, and the value of controlled transitions from one state of consciousness to the next. Thurman, Robert. "The Tibetan Book of the Dead." Bantam, 1994. This is an excellent source of information about the Tibetan view of death and beyond. COUNSEL MAPPING PARADISE FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS JOIN THE DISCUSSION


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