Living in the Face of Death
Until recently, contemporary Western society viewed death the way the Victorians viewed sex—as taboo, a forbidden subject. Yet Tibetan tradition incorporates death into everyday life. Over the centuries Tibetans have developed a wide-ranging literature on death, of which The Tibetan Book of the Dead—whose author, Karma Lingpa, has a selection included here—is perhaps the best-known. Eight other short texts include works by the Second, Seventh, and Thirteenth Dalai Lamas, and cover meditation techniques to prepare for death, rituals for preparing the dead, and accounts of what transpires during the bardo (the state of consciousness between death and rebirth).
“The translations of the nine texts sparkle with such clarity that the multi-faceted gems of Tibetan Buddhist belief shine boldly.”—Publisher’s Weekly
“This study performs the service of presenting the Tibetan understanding of death as a whole—circumambulating it, as we might say, to view it in the round.”—Huston Smith
Glenn H. Mullin is an internationally renowned Tibetologist, author, and expert on Buddhist meditation. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia, and Ulan Baatar, Mongolia.