Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

I usually read on my lunch break. Right now, I've started my my 3rd read-through of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, a book that I consider essential knowledge.

I have a deep appreciation for Buddhist philosophy, but this book really goes beyond the boundaries of religion. It deeply addresses both experiencing life to the fullest and dealing with the inevitability of death. Sogyal Rinpoche writes in a way that is wise and fascinating at the same time.

It is basically a explanation of the Buddhist teachings behind the Bardo Thodol, often called the "Tibetan Book of the Dead". The actual translation is "Liberation through Hearing in the Intermediate State," but that doesn't sound nearly as creepy.

This is not some kind of death-worshipping "goth" religion or something. Much of the material is very matter-of-fact, practical, and positive. It's 400 pages that I consider myself fortunate to be able to read and try to fully appreciate.