"The Tibetan Book of the Dead": A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead": A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)


The Tibetan publication of the Dead is the main well-known Buddhist textual content within the West, having bought greater than 1000000 copies because it was once first released in English in 1927. Carl Jung wrote a observation on it, Timothy Leary redesigned it as a guidebook for an acid journey, and the Beatles quoted Leary's model of their music "Tomorrow by no means Knows." extra lately, the publication has been followed through the hospice stream, enshrined by means of Penguin Classics, and made into an audiobook learn via Richard Gere. but, as acclaimed author and student of Buddhism Donald Lopez writes, "The Tibetan ebook of the Dead is simply not Tibetan, it's not quite a booklet, and it's not fairly approximately death." during this compelling creation and brief background, Lopez tells the unusual tale of ways a comparatively vague and malleable choice of Buddhist texts of doubtful foundation got here to be so revered--and so misunderstood--in the West.

The imperative personality during this tale is Walter Evans-Wentz (1878-1965), an eccentric student and religious seeker from Trenton, New Jersey, who, regardless of now not figuring out the Tibetan language and not vacationing the rustic, crafted and named The Tibetan e-book of the Dead. actually, Lopez argues, Evans-Wentz's booklet is far extra American than Tibetan, owing a better debt to Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky than to the lamas of the Land of Snows. certainly, Lopez means that the book's perennial allure stems not just from its origins in magical and mysterious Tibet, but in addition from the way in which Evans-Wentz translated the textual content into the language of a truly American spirituality.

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