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Discussing the book "The Tibetan Book of the Dead"

This meetup will be hosted by Nate, an organizer in another meetup group; see the event here:

You may RSVP here or join/RSVP there in that group, no difference.


From Nate:

Hi members, I wanted to start a reading group that was truly insightful yet creative. Maybe like some of you, I have had deaths in my family and so this has helped me cope so it has a practical side.

I have the privilege of auditing a course at McGill on Death in Buddhism as part of the Religion department. I welcome any insights to this book that relate to your experiences with bereavement or similar events as long as we can cover the material each week.

It's been said "When you know what death is, then you know how to live."

Tibetan Book Of The Dead, First Complete Translation

Book Description (

"The first complete translation of the classic Buddhist text One of the greatest works created by any culture and overwhelmingly the most significant of all Tibetan Buddhist texts in the West, The Tibetan Book of the Dead has had a number of distinguished but partial translations. Now the entire text has not only been made available in English but also in a translation of remarkable clarity and beauty. Translated with the close support of leading contemporary masters, this complete edition faithfully presents the insights and intentions of the original work. It includes one of the most detailed and compelling descriptions of the after-death state in world literature, practices that can transform our experience of daily life, guidance on helping those who are dying, and an inspirational perspective on coping with bereavement."

This is about understanding the book with an open mind and how it relates to us. Ideally, it's about accepting our destinies with joy rather than skeptical denial, addictions or fear. I have done those already and so maybe you also want to try something else :)

Details : I thought about meeting weekly (or biweekly) after reading 50-75 pages each week. Since it can be heavy, I suggest reading the whole thing once quickly then we can discuss the chapters weekly in more detail. I’ll try and help if there are any difficult passages or I can direct you the right way.

I consulted with an Oxford Professor who assured me this is the best translation in English by Gyurme Dorje, an English scholar. One of the editors teaches at McGill and translates Dali Lama. For French, email me and we''ll try and figure something out.

Recommended: Documentary /Video by NFB/ONF:

If you have no idea what this classic is, then here is the great 1997 NFB film, narrated by Leonard Cohen. It is old but still very beautiful and worth watching.

Partial Review

“Believers see it as a kind of spiritual guidebook, designed to direct souls at the point of death to the best possible afterlife state.A lama, friend or guide usually sits over the death bed and reads the book to the dying or recently dead person. It’s believed that this prevents the dead person from being reincarnated again. Contemporary readers will likely be struck by the Book of the Dead’s practicality.

Deceptive spiritual lights, enticements and other misleading phenomena that the recently departed soul allegedly will encounter are itemized as things to be avoided, not unlike a road map for a large, unfamiliar city or a detailed trekking guide for a tricky mountain pass.” - Wordpress Blogger.

To buy:

Hard copy:

Kindle edition:


Coverage for the May 6 meetup: up to end of Chapter 4, "Introduction to Awareness". So pp 1-pp.57. If you can make a one page summary then we can pass them out and it might prove valuable for the future.


Event fee: $1 contribution is requested by Nate to cover his group's maintenance fees. On top, each person needs to order something to drink/eat in Le Commensal for us to have the opportunity to organize the event there.

See you all there! :-)

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  • Masood

    Great conversation!

    May 7, 2012

7 went

  • Masood
    Event Host
  • A former member
  • A former member
  • A former member
    +3 guests

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