Recommend book for 'book of the dead' teaching?

Hi,
I signed up for your class in November on the tibetan book of the dead. Which of the translations do you recommend? I have an old copy of Sogyal Rinpoche’s ‘tibetan book of living and dying’ but I had the understanding that folks are moving away from his writings so maybe I should get something else.

I’m excited, and my hubby (who is a rosacruician) is excited to be my discussion buddy for the class material.
Thanks,
Carol

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Andrew still recommends this, for one.

Currently, I am reading Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan book of living and dying - revised and updated version. Well, for starters, it (the book) ain’t bad.
Looking forward to what @Andrew has to say about this :slightly_smiling_face:

Andrew has written a book on the topic - Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

You may check out this podcast where Sharon Salzberg talks about the lessons she learned coming perilously close to death:

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I’m really glad I read Sogyal Rinpoche’s Tibetan Book of Living and Dying long before the scandals about sexual and physical abuse, financial wrongdoing etc. broke (e.g. see the Tricycle articles or Google it).

I don’t think I’d recommend his work now, knowing he was apparently an abusive asshole – or if I did say something positive about “his” book (I heard it was actually written by a student, don’t know if that’s true), I’d be sure to mention the scandals.

I seem to recall @Andrew mentioning Sogyal Rinpoche and Tibetan Book of Living and Dying in positive ways without mentioning the dark side of that teacher, which if so a) I feel really uncomfortable with that and b) I don’t think it’s appropriate to praise a teacher or their work without also mentioning credible accusations or confirmed serious misconduct (for comparison, see also “Jeffrey Epstein made some great philanthropic contributions, but there are some other things you might want to know about him”).

In light of all that, I’d love to hear recommendations for other books on the subject.

~ArthurG

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Had no idea about the Sogyal Rinpoche “thing”! uhhh…am simply stumped! Dunno…but it’s definitely gonna affect the way I complete reading the book…:neutral_face:
I got to know about him in one of Andrew’s online class…so took up reading his book… though agree with you about being uncomfortable with Andrew not mentioning a word about it.:slightly_frowning_face:

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Andrew has mentioned the problems that Arthur has cited, but he said that it still was one of his top 5 books on the subject. He said Pema Chodron also stood by it. The others I remember were those by Francesca Freemantle, and Dzogchen Ponlop. There are a couple of others, maybe Thurman’s book too.

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Now that you mention Pema Chodron, I can never make myself read any of Chogyam Trungpa’s books, given his history! I remember her saying something like “look at the teaching and not the teacher”.

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I listened to the service and it is certainly profound. Thanks for posting it. Are you saying that you are examining your own aversion to reading “Chogyam Trungpa’s books, given his history!” by way of this beautiful talk by Enkyo Roshi? Not sure I understand.

Barry, it’s good to know that @Andrew mentioned it at some point(s) but I think if someone doesn’t at least touch on it whenever they mention the author, then you are leaving out an important consideration. It doesn’t have to be much, “I highly recommend book X by problematic teacher Y.” Or, “I highly recommend X, despite the credible accusations of abuse of students against the author.” That alerts people that something problematic is there. They can ask follow-up questions or do their own research if it’s important to them.

In this case it seems to me to be quite relevant to the work. One thing that stood out to me in that book is the claim that bad behaviors in life naturally lead to a karmic shit-kicking after death. Well, the author apparently engaged in a lot of bad behaviors in his life. What’s that about? “Do as I say, not as I do?” Or “hey, I know I’m going to get a karmic shit-kicking but a) I can’t help myself or b) I choose to do so because ___,” or some other explanation. Was he being insincere in his teachings, i.e. he didn’t really believe in them? Did he think he was special in some way, the rules didn’t apply to him? It’s directly relevant to this kind of work in my opinion.

~ArthurG

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Umm…no. :slightly_smiling_face:

It was simply something that striked me at that moment. I wasn’t exactly examining my emotions at the time, but yeah, whenever I tend to fault finding in people in general, I try to remember this talk.

Also, simply posted it hoping anyone who comes across it will benefit from it.

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BTW, I gave up on the book!

Update:

In one of his talks, Andrew highly recommended Mingyur Rinpoche’s book ‘In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying’
Personally, I haven’t read it, yet.

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Well-loved, excellent book also available as an audiobook (my preference). Andrew refers to it as a prime example of an introduction to Bardo teachings and a reverse meditation, engaging those things in life we avoid. Very well written and expositive from a lay perspective. He is a privileged Rimpoche who abandons his privileged life in Nepal and enters the world on a four year wandering retreat in India. Marvelous “read/listen.”

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Definitely on my “to read” or maybe “to listen” (whichever I get my hands on first) list!:slightly_smiling_face:

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Hey Sujata, thanks for reminding me of ‘In Love with the World: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying.’ Definitely on my to-read list, but I had forgotten about it.

~ArthurG

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Just checked my notes for the original post. The five books Andrew recommended were as follows:

  1. Journey of the Mind: Putting the Teachings on the Bardo into Effective Practice Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

  2. Luminous Emptiness Freemantle

  3. Peaceful Death, Joyous Rebirth tolku tunde rimpoche

  4. Book of Living and Dying Sogyal Rimpoche

  5. Mind Beyond Death by Dzogchen Ponlop

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If you are looking for a modern complete translation of The Tibetan Book of The Dead, I recommend the Penguin edition, translated by Gyurme Dorje, with an opening commentary by HH Dalai Lama.

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Welcome to the community. Thanks for the recommendation. How does it compare to other modern translations?

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Hi Barry, I’m not too familiar with other modern translations, but this one is recommended by HH Dalai Lam, which is good enough for me! :pray:

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