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

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

xiiINTRODUCTIONin the United States came to me and said she was baffled byhow a mere book could have, in her words, "loved her socompletely." Stories like these, so moving and so personal, testifyto the power and relevance of the Buddhist teachingstoday. Whenever I hear them, my heart fills with gratitude,both to the teachings themselves and to the teachers and practitionerswho have undergone so much in order to embodythem and hand them on.In time, I came to learn that The Tibetan Book of Living andDying had been adopted by institutions, centers, and groups ofvarious kinds, educational, medical, and spiritual. Nurses, doctors,and those professionally involved with care for the dyinghave told me how they have integrated these methods in theirdaily work, and I have heard many accounts of ordinary peopleusing these practices and finding that they transformed thedeath of a friend or close relative. Something I find especiallymoving is that this book has been read by people with differentspiritual beliefs, and they have said that it has strengthenedand deepened their faith in their own tradition. Theyseem to recognize the universality of its message, and understandthat it aims not to persuade or convert, but simply tooffer the wisdom of the ancient Buddhist teachings in order tobring the maximum possible benefit.As The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying quietly took on alife of its own, moving inconspicuously through manydomains and disciplines, I began to understand the ultimatesource of its great influence and appeal. These extraordinaryteachings are the heart essence of the oral lineage, that unbrokenline of wisdom passed down as a living experience overthe centuries. Someone once called this book "midwaybetween a living master and a book," and it is true that bothin The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and behind it, supportingit with their advice and answers to questions, are thegreatest masters of our time. It is their voice that speaksthrough these pages, their wisdom and their vision of a compassionateworld infused by the knowledge of our true nature,the innermost nature of mind. The impact of The Tibetan Bookof Living and Dying, I believe, is due to the blessing of the lineageand the vibrancy of the oral tradition. Its popularity hasbeen a humbling experience for me, and it has reminded methat if I have any ability to communicate these teachings, it isonly because of the devotion inspired in me by the teachingsand the kindness of my masters, and nothing else.Over these last ten years there have been many changes in

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