The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

IN THE MIRROR OF DEATH 13Instruction, practical advice, and spiritual practices are set outin detail for helping both ourselves and others through life,through dying, through death, and after death. The book thenconcludes with a vision of how the bardo teachings can helpus understand the deepest nature of the human mind, and ofthe universe.My students often ask me: How do we know what these bardosare, and from where does the astonishing precision of thebardo teachings and their uncannily clear knowledge of eachstage of dying, death, and rebirth come? The answer mayseem initially difficult to understand for many readers, becausethe notion of mind the West now has is an extremely narrowone. Despite the major breakthroughs of recent years, especiallyin mind/body science and transpersonal psychology, thegreat majority of scientists continue to reduce the mind to nomore than physical processes in the brain, which goes againstthe testimony of thousands of years of experience of mysticsand meditators of all religions.From what source or authority, then, can a book like thisbe written? The "inner science" of Buddhism is based, as oneAmerican scholar puts it, "on a thorough and comprehensiveknowledge of reality, on an already assessed, depth understandingof self and environment; that is to say, on the completeenlightenment of the Buddha." 5 The source of the bardoteachings is the enlightened mind, the completely awake buddhamind, as experienced, explained, and transmitted by along line of masters that stretches back to the Primordial Buddha.Their careful, meticulous—you could almost say scientific—explorationsand formulations of their discoveries ofmind over many centuries have given us the most completepicture possible of both life and death. It is this complete picturethat, inspired by Jamyang Khyentse and all my othergreat masters, I am humbly attempting to transmit for thevery first time to the West.Over many years of contemplation and teaching and practice,and clarifying questions with my masters, I have writtenThe Tibetan Book of Living and Dying as the quintessence of theheart-advice of all my masters, to be a new Tibetan Book of theDead and a Tibetan Book of Life. I want it to be a manual, aguide, a work of reference, and a source of sacred inspiration.Only by going over this book and reading it again and again, Isuggest, can its many layers of meaning be revealed. The more

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