Tibetan Book of the Dead First Complete Translation

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9780140455298: Tibetan Book of the Dead First Complete Translation

The most graceful English translation of this masterpiece of world literature - prepared with the participation of the Dalai Lama and eminent contemporary masters of this tradition appointed by the Dalai Lama One of the greatest works created by any culture and one of the most influential of all Tibetan Buddhist texts in the West, The Tibetan Book of the Dead has had a number of distinguished translations, but strangely all of these have been partial abridgements. Now the entire text has not only been made available in English but in a translation of quite remarkable clarity and beauty. A comprehensive guide to living and dying, The Tibetan Book of the Dead contains exquisitely written guidance and practices related to transforming our experience in daily life, on the processes of dying and the after-death state, and on how to help those who are dying. As originally intended this is as much a work for the living, as it is for those who wish to think beyond a mere conventional lifetime to a vastly greater and grander cycle. 'Extraordinary ... this work will be a source of inspiration and support to many' His Holiness the Dalai Lama About the authors: Commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thupten Jinpa is the senior translator to the Dalai Lama and President of the Institute of Tibetan Classics. Graham Coleman is founder of the Orient Foundation for Arts and Culture, a major Tibetan cultural conservancy organization, and writer-director of the acclaimed feature documentary Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy. Gyurme Dorje is a leading scholar of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, from which the Tibetan Book of the Dead literature derives.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

Commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thupten Jinpa is the senior translator to the Dalai Lama and President of the Institute of Tibetan Classics. Graham Coleman is founder of the Orient Foundation for Arts and Culture, a major Tibetan cultural conservancy organization, and writer-director of the acclaimed feature documentary Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy. Gyurme Dorje is a leading scholar of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, from which the Tibetan Book of the Dead literature derives.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Acknowledgements

Introduction

 

Chapter 1 - Natural Liberation of the Nature of Mind: The Four-session Yoga ...

Chapter 2 - A Prayer for Union with the Spiritual Teacher, [entitled] Natural ...

Chapter 3 - Root Verses of the Six Intermediate States

Chapter 4 - The Introduction to Awareness: Natural Liberation through Naked Perception

Chapter 5 - The Spiritual Practice entitled Natural Liberation of Habitual Tendencies

Chapter 6 - Natural Liberation of Negativity and Obscuration through ...

Chapter 7 - Natural Liberation through Acts of Confession

Chapter 8 - Natural Liberation through Recognition of the Visual Indications ...

Chapter 9 - Natural Liberation of Fear through the Ritual Deception of Death

Chapter 10 - Consciousness Transference: Natural Liberation through Recollection

Chapter 11 - The Great Liberation by Hearing

Chapter 12 - Aspirational Prayers

Chapter 13 - A Masked Drama of Rebirth

Chapter 14 - Liberation by Wearing: Natural Liberation of the Psycho-physical Aggregates

Appendix One: Peaceful and Wrathful Deities and the Tibetan Book of the Dead

Appendix Two: Symbolism of the Maṇḍala of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities

Notes

Bibliography

Glossary of Key Terms

Thematic Index by Chapter

FOR THE BEST IN PAPERBACKS, LOOK FOR THE

PENGUIN CLASSICS DELUXE EDITION

THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD

The translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead was carried out with the support of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and with the commentarial guidance of revered contemporary Tibetan masters including the late Head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Zenkar Rinpoche and Garje Khamtrul Rinpoche.

 

GYURME DORJE (PhD) is a leading scholar of the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. His seven major publications include works on Tibetan lexicography, medicine, divination and pilgrimage guides to Tibet and Bhutan, as well as the translations of HH Dudjom Rinpoche’s The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism. His forthcoming titles include The Guhyagarbha Tantra: Dispelling the Darkness of the Ten Directions.

 

GRAHAM COLEMAN is President of the Orient Foundation (UK), a major Tibetan cultural conservancy organization. Writer/director of the acclaimed feature documentary Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy and editor of the Handbook of Tibetan Culture, he has been editing Tibetan Buddhist poetry and prose texts in cooperation with various distinguished translators since the mid -1970s.

 

THUPTEN JINPA (PhD) is the senior translator to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and President of the Institute of Tibetan Classics. His works include the translation of twelve books by the Dalai Lama, including the New York Times bestseller Ethics for the New Millennium and the forthcoming The Universe in a Single Atom, the Dalai Lama’s perspective on the meeting of Buddhism and modern science.

Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche)

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First published in Great Britain by Penguin Books Ltd 2005
First published in the United States of America by Viking Penguin,
a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. 2006
Published in Penguin Books (UK) 2006
Published in Penguin Books (USA) 2007

 

Translation copyright © The Orient Foundation (UK) and Gyurme Dorje, 2005 Editorial apparatus copyright © The Orient Foundation (UK), Graham Coleman, and Thupten Jinpa, 2005 Introductory commentary copyright © His Holiness The Dalai Lama, 2005

All rights reserved

 

Thangkas painted by the late Shawu Tsering of Repkong and photographed by Jill Morley Smith are from the private collection of Gyurme Dorje.

 

eISBN : 978-1-101-46228-7

CIP data available

 

 

 

The scanning, uploading and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

May all sentient beings,
children of buddha nature,
realise
the ultimate nature of mind:
insight and compassion,
in blissful union.

Acknowledgements

Our project began in 1988 when HH the Dalai Lama kindly offered to request HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, the late head of the Nyingma school, to give an oral commentary to me on key sections of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Dalai Lama knew that various translations had been made of ‘The Great Liberation by Hearing’, our Chapter 11, but that so far no one had translated the entire Tibetan Book of the Dead. HH Dilgo Khyentse graciously agreed to the Dalai Lama’s request and over a period of four weeks gave the empowerments and an incisive and illuminating oral commentary to the core elements of the text, which was eloquently translated each day by Sogyal Rinpoche.

While in Kathmandu, receiving the oral commentary from HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, I had the good fortune to meet Dr Gyurme Dorje, who had previously translated Longchen Rabjampa’s commentary to the Guhygarbha Tantra, the root text on which the Tibetan Book of the Dead is based. During our first meeting, Gyurme agreed to make a new annotated translation of the entire Tibetan Book of the Dead, a task he undertook with exceptional care and dedication over the years that followed. While Gyurme was working on the translation he was also employed at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London as a research fellow, translating into English the Greater Tibetan-Chinese Dictionary (Bod-rgya tshig-mdzod chen-mo). During this time, Gyurme worked closely with the highly regarded Nyingma master Zenkar Rinpoche, who is one of the foremost contemporary lineage holders of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Zenkar Rinpoche kindly advised Gyurme throughout the translation of our text and also gave an extensive oral commentary to us on Chapter 4, ‘The Introduction to Awareness’.

At various stages of the project, the Dalai Lama answered my questions about difficult points, and he also dictated to me the lucid and succinct Introductory Commentary. At the Dalai Lama’s request, Khamtrul Rinpoche, an adviser to the Dalai Lama on Nyingma studies, also gave a beautiful oral commentary to key sections of Chapter 8 and dictated the introduction to Chapter 11.

Throughout the editing process I had the happy good fortune of working with Geshe Thupten Jinpa, senior translator to the Dalai Lama, whom I had first met in 1977 and who has been a close friend since he came to England to study philosophy at Cambridge in 1989. Jinpa translated the Dalai Lama’s Introductory Commentary and reviewed every line and word of all fourteen chapters of the edited translation with me twice, in the course of which he made countless important and inspiring suggestions. Everyone who knows Jinpa’s work is aware of his special talent and skill both as a translator and writer and these have played an invaluable role in this project. Finally, the individual introductions to each of the chapters, except Chapter 11, were written by Dasho Sangay Dorji, a Bhutanese scholar, who comes from a family whose paternal line has been lineage holders of the Tibetan Book of the Dead for several generations and who throughout his childhood accompanied his father every time he was called to a household to carry out these practices.

Needless to say it has been a wonderful privilege for us to work with all those who helped to make this project possible. Our insights and skills as writers would not even register on the most sensitive of detectors compared to those of the composers of the original cycle of teachings or the lineage holders who gave the commentarial explanation that guided us. Throughout this endeavour therefore we have tried to substitute hard work and attention to detail for our lack of ability and to let the original magnificence of the text shine through the clouds of our shortcomings as much as we were able.

My work on this project would not have been possible without the life-long friendship of the Orient Foundation’s chairman David Lascelles. It is difficult to thank him enough for all that he has made possible, beginning with our work together on the making of our films Tibet: A Buddhist Trilogy, in the 1970s, and ever since. Two other special friends, Elinore Detiger and Elsie Walker made it possible for this project to be initiated, and their kindness and confidence, together with that of Michael Baldwin, will never be forgotten. My sincere appreciation goes also to Johnnie and Buff Chace, Lucinda Ziesing, Faith Bieler, Lavinia Currier, Cynthia Jurs, Catherine Cochran, Margot Wilkie, Basil Panzer, Bokara Patterson and Lindsay Masters for their important contributions in the early stages of this work.

At Gyurme Dorje’s request, Gene Smith of the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center in New York generously made available a digital version of the three-volume manuscript from the library of the late Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, on which our translation is largely based. HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche had previously provided copies of the text reprinted under his supervision in Delhi. Other versions of the text which we consulted, including the Varanasi reprint and other versions of Bhutanese and Chinese origin, are all from Gyurme Dorje’s private collection. Some source materials were also kindly provided by Zenkar Rinpoche, Tulku Jigme Khyentse, Dr Burkhard Quessel of the British Library, and Dr Fernand Meyer of CNRS in Paris. Gyurme Dorje also especially acknowledges the kindness and profound advice of all of his teachers within the Nyingma tradition, including the previous Kangyur, Dudjom and Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoches, as well as Tulku Pema Wangyal and Zenkar Rinpoche, and he thanks his wife Xiaohong for all her encouragement and sustenance during the final years of this project.

I am very grateful to Gillon Aitken, my agent, for introducing this project to Penguin, our publishers, and to Simon Winder, our editor at Penguin, for his patience and unfailing enthusiasm during the long genesis of this work. Our thanks go also to Dr Martin Boord and Andrew Bell for their proofreading of the text and to Robert Chilton for compiling the thematic index.

 

GRAHAM COLEMAN
Bath, England

Acknowledgements for the Illustrations

The colour illustrations that appear in our text have never previously been published. The two painted scrolls depicting the Hundred Peaceful and Wrathful Deities in Repkong style, which were commissioned by Gyurme Dorje in 2002, are from the studio of the late master artist Shawu Tsering of Sengeshong Yagotsang in Amdo.

The line drawings of Guru Padmasambhava (p. iv) and Karma Lingpa (p. xlvi) are the work of Robert Beer. The circular chart of mantras (btags-grol) (p. 346) is reproduced from Fremantle and Trungpa, The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Shambhala Classics, 2000), p. 32.

Introductory Commentary

by His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama

 

 

 

The question of whether or not there exists a continuity of consciousness after death has been an important aspect of philosophical reflection and debate from ancient Indian times to the present. When considering these matters from a Buddhist point of view, however, we have to bear in mind that the understanding of the nature of continuity of consciousness and the understanding of the nature of the ‘I’ or ‘self’ are closely interlinked. Therefore, let us first look at what it is that can be said to constitute a person.

According to Buddhist classical literature, a person can be seen as possessing five interrelated aggregates, technically known as the five psycho-physical aggregates.a These are the aggregate of consciousness, the aggregate of form (which includes our physical body and senses), the aggregate of feeling, the aggregate of discrimination, and the aggregate of motivational tendencies. That is to say, there is our body, the physical world and our five senses, and there are the various processes of mental activity, our motivational tendencies, our labelling of and discrimination between objects, our feelings, and the underlying awareness or consciousness.

Among the ancient schools of thought, which accepted the notion of continuity of consciousness, there were several non-Buddhist philosophical schools which regarded the entity, the ‘I’ or ‘self’, which migrated from existence to existence as being unitary and permanent. They also suggested that this ‘self’ was autonomous in its relationship to the psycho-physical components that constitute a person. In other words they believed or posited that there is an essence or ‘soul’ of the person, which exists independently from the body and the mind of the person.

However, Buddhist philosophy does not accept the existence of such an independent, autonomous entity. In the Buddhist view, the self or the person is understood in terms of a dynamic interdependent relationship of both mental and physical attributes, that is to say the psycho-physical components which constitute a person. In other words our sense of self can, upon examination, be seen as a complex flow of mental and physical events, clustered in clearly identifiable patterns, including our physical features, instincts, emotions, and attitudes, etc., continuing through time. Further, according to Prāsaṅgika-Madhyamaka philosophy, which has become the prevailing philosophical view of Tibetan Buddhism today, this sense of self is simply a mental construct, a mere label given to this cluster of dependently arising mental and physical events in dependence on their continuity.

Now, when we look at this interdependence of mental and physical constituents from the perspective of Highest Yoga Tantra,b there are two concepts of a person. One is the temporary person or self, that is as we exist at the moment, and this is labelled on the basis of our coarse or gross physical body and conditioned mind, and, at the same time, there is a subtle person or self which is designated in dependence on the ...

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