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3 Burnside Religion Eastern- Tibetan Buddhism
2 Remote Warehouse Religion Eastern- Buddhism- Sacred Writings
1 Remote Warehouse Religion Eastern- Buddhism- Sacred Writings

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)

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The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books) Cover

ISBN13: 9780691134352
ISBN10: 0691134359
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"On the history of Buddhism and its transmission to the West, Donald Lopez is the unsurpassable master. The story he tells here about a book that is 'not really Tibetan' and 'not really about death' glistens with delicious ironies and arresting historical parallels. Who else but Lopez would begin a history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead with the story of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith--and then, like a mystery writer, reveal the connections at the end? This is a sly and wildly entertaining book."--Kenneth L. Woodward, contributing editor, Newsweek

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead has a wonderful story, and in this fascinating and charming little book, Donald Lopez reveals himself to be a wonderful storyteller."--Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography

"This smart, entertaining introduction to The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a real delight. Despite its title, Donald Lopez argues, The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a uniquely American book and can be properly read and understood only from that perspective. He demonstrates this by exposing its direct links to American Theosophy and spiritualism at the dawn of the New Age in the early twentieth century, while also drawing interesting parallels to the visionary beginnings of Mormonism."--Bryan J. Cuevas, author of The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead

"This book offers a fascinating and fresh discussion of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and its life as a text in the United States. Donald Lopez argues that persistent threads in American religious life--the tradition of the 'found' text as a repository for ancient wisdom, and a philosophical interest in life after death--help explain the overwhelming success of the book and its endurance as a cultural artifact."--Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Synopsis:

"On the history of Buddhism and its transmission to the West, Donald Lopez is the unsurpassable master. The story he tells here about a book that is 'not really Tibetan' and 'not really about death' glistens with delicious ironies and arresting historical parallels. Who else but Lopez would begin a history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead with the story of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith--and then, like a mystery writer, reveal the connections at the end? This is a sly and wildly entertaining book."--Kenneth L. Woodward, contributing editor, Newsweek

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead has a wonderful story, and in this fascinating and charming little book, Donald Lopez reveals himself to be a wonderful storyteller."--Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography

"This smart, entertaining introduction to The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a real delight. Despite its title, Donald Lopez argues, The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a uniquely American book and can be properly read and understood only from that perspective. He demonstrates this by exposing its direct links to American Theosophy and spiritualism at the dawn of the New Age in the early twentieth century, while also drawing interesting parallels to the visionary beginnings of Mormonism."--Bryan J. Cuevas, author of The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead

"This book offers a fascinating and fresh discussion of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and its life as a text in the United States. Donald Lopez argues that persistent threads in American religious life--the tradition of the 'found' text as a repository for ancient wisdom, and a philosophical interest in life after death--help explain the overwhelming success of the book and its endurance as a cultural artifact."--Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Synopsis:

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is the most famous Buddhist text in the West, having sold more than a million copies since it was first published in English in 1927. Carl Jung wrote a commentary on it, Timothy Leary redesigned it as a guidebook for an acid trip, and the Beatles quoted Leary's version in their song "Tomorrow Never Knows." More recently, the book has been adopted by the hospice movement, enshrined by Penguin Classics, and made into an audiobook read by Richard Gere. Yet, as acclaimed writer and scholar of Buddhism Donald Lopez writes, "The Tibetan Book of the Dead is not really Tibetan, it is not really a book, and it is not really about death." In this compelling introduction and short history, Lopez tells the strange story of how a relatively obscure and malleable collection of Buddhist texts of uncertain origin came to be so revered--and so misunderstood--in the West.

The central character in this story is Walter Evans-Wentz (1878-1965), an eccentric scholar and spiritual seeker from Trenton, New Jersey, who, despite not knowing the Tibetan language and never visiting the country, crafted and named The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In fact, Lopez argues, Evans-Wentz's book is much more American than Tibetan, owing a greater debt to Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky than to the lamas of the Land of Snows. Indeed, Lopez suggests that the book's perennial appeal stems not only from its origins in magical and mysterious Tibet, but also from the way Evans-Wentz translated the text into the language of a very American spirituality.

About the Author

Donald S. Lopez, Jr., is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan. His many books include "The Story of Buddhism" (HarperOne) and "Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West". He has also edited a number of books by the Dalai Lama.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Chapter 1: America 13
Chapter 2: India 30
Chapter 3: T ibet 49
Chapter 4: The World 71
Conclusion 128
Coda 153
Notes 157
Index 171

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

LuckySpark, August 7, 2012 (view all comments by LuckySpark)
I really enjoyed this book. Do not expect it to dissect the deep meanings and interpretations of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. It does not do that nor does it attempt to do that. Lopez presents the fascinating history behind the people who first translated the Tibetan Book of the Dead into English and brought it to the West. He out lines their connections to one another and their motivations and their personal and religious influence on the interpretations provided in the first translations. Did you know that the Tibetan Book of the Dead was not that important to Tibetan Buddhists? That the translators were theosophists and spiritualists who translated it and interpreted it in order to bolster their own theology? Me neither. If you have any interest in Buddhism, spiritualism, or Theosophy, I think you'll find this book to be quite satisfying and a quick read.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780691134352
Author:
Lopez, Donald
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Lopez, Donald S.
Subject:
Religion
Subject:
American history
Subject:
Asian and Asian American Studies
Subject:
Religion Eastern-Buddhism-Sacred Writings
Publication Date:
20110231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
192
Dimensions:
7.5 x 4.5 in 1 oz

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Related Subjects

Religion » Comparative Religion » General
Religion » Eastern Religions » Buddhism » Tibetan Buddhism
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Young Adult » General

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books) New Hardcover
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Product details 192 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691134352 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "On the history of Buddhism and its transmission to the West, Donald Lopez is the unsurpassable master. The story he tells here about a book that is 'not really Tibetan' and 'not really about death' glistens with delicious ironies and arresting historical parallels. Who else but Lopez would begin a history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead with the story of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith--and then, like a mystery writer, reveal the connections at the end? This is a sly and wildly entertaining book."--Kenneth L. Woodward, contributing editor, Newsweek

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead has a wonderful story, and in this fascinating and charming little book, Donald Lopez reveals himself to be a wonderful storyteller."--Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography

"This smart, entertaining introduction to The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a real delight. Despite its title, Donald Lopez argues, The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a uniquely American book and can be properly read and understood only from that perspective. He demonstrates this by exposing its direct links to American Theosophy and spiritualism at the dawn of the New Age in the early twentieth century, while also drawing interesting parallels to the visionary beginnings of Mormonism."--Bryan J. Cuevas, author of The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead

"This book offers a fascinating and fresh discussion of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and its life as a text in the United States. Donald Lopez argues that persistent threads in American religious life--the tradition of the 'found' text as a repository for ancient wisdom, and a philosophical interest in life after death--help explain the overwhelming success of the book and its endurance as a cultural artifact."--Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

"Synopsis" by , The Tibetan Book of the Dead is the most famous Buddhist text in the West, having sold more than a million copies since it was first published in English in 1927. Carl Jung wrote a commentary on it, Timothy Leary redesigned it as a guidebook for an acid trip, and the Beatles quoted Leary's version in their song "Tomorrow Never Knows." More recently, the book has been adopted by the hospice movement, enshrined by Penguin Classics, and made into an audiobook read by Richard Gere. Yet, as acclaimed writer and scholar of Buddhism Donald Lopez writes, "The Tibetan Book of the Dead is not really Tibetan, it is not really a book, and it is not really about death." In this compelling introduction and short history, Lopez tells the strange story of how a relatively obscure and malleable collection of Buddhist texts of uncertain origin came to be so revered--and so misunderstood--in the West.

The central character in this story is Walter Evans-Wentz (1878-1965), an eccentric scholar and spiritual seeker from Trenton, New Jersey, who, despite not knowing the Tibetan language and never visiting the country, crafted and named The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In fact, Lopez argues, Evans-Wentz's book is much more American than Tibetan, owing a greater debt to Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky than to the lamas of the Land of Snows. Indeed, Lopez suggests that the book's perennial appeal stems not only from its origins in magical and mysterious Tibet, but also from the way Evans-Wentz translated the text into the language of a very American spirituality.

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