cover image The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Beginners: A Guide to Living and Dying

The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Beginners: A Guide to Living and Dying

Lama Lhanang Rinpoche and Mordy Levine. Sounds True, $18.99 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-64963-132-9

Buddhist teacher Lhanang and Levine, creator of the Meditation Pro video series, deliver a slim but insightful take on the classic Buddhist text on dying well. Composed in the eighth century by Buddhist master Padmasambhava, The Tibetan Book of the Dead addresses end-of-life concerns but can prove inaccessible to the non-Buddhist. In this entry, the authors spotlight its central principles and recast them for a broader audience. Lhanang and Levine trace the life-death-birth cycle and discuss the importance of cultivating positive karma during life, which becomes “embedded in our consciousness” and remains there after death as one moves into a “transition state” before rebirth. It’s also important to exhibit compassion and wisdom in order to “transform our mind” and approach death with peace, they explain. As well, the authors suggest ways of helping as loved ones’ deaths approach, including maintaining a peaceful, quiet environment, and listening nonjudgmentally to dying wishes. Lhanang and Levine successfully boil down complicated Buddhist concepts without sacrificing depth or talking down to readers, who will appreciate the unpretentious guidance, prayers, and meditation suggestions. Novices will appreciate this primer to Buddhism wisdom on death. (June)