Detlef Ingo Lauf
The Tibetan Books of the Dead are a diverse collection of Buddhist scriptures that yield valuable insight into the psychology of death and dying and suggest the importance of meditative practice and knowledge as tools for self-understanding. This in-depth study of this rich body of Buddhist literature details the Tibetan Buddhist belief in the bardos, or intermediate states, and serves as an illuminating companion volume to The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Using original texts from both the Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Tibetan religious traditions, this book presents a detailed portrayal of the teachings and the iconography that play a major role in the Tibetan understanding of death and dying. The peaceful and wrathful deities, the mandala principle, the five buddha families, and the six realms of experience are among the doctrines examined in this volume. A psychological commentary and the illustrations and diagrams in the book illuminate the Tibetan path from death, through the after-death state, to transformation and rebirth. A comparison with Western investigations of consciousness, death, and dying, as well as views of death in India, Egypt, and other ancient cultures, enables the reader to see how the Tibetan Buddhist perspective on death relates to the spiritual and psychological beliefs of other societies.