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The Tibetan e-book of the Dead is the main well-known Buddhist textual content within the West, having offered greater than one million copies because it used to be first released in English in 1927. Carl Jung wrote a statement on it, Timothy Leary redesigned it as a guidebook for an acid journey, and the Beatles quoted Leary's model of their tune "Tomorrow by no means Knows." extra lately, the ebook has been followed through the hospice move, enshrined through Penguin Classics, and made into an audiobook learn through Richard Gere. but, as acclaimed author and student of Buddhism Donald Lopez writes, "The Tibetan e-book of the Dead is absolutely not Tibetan, it isn't fairly a booklet, and it's not rather approximately death." during this compelling creation and brief background, Lopez tells the unusual tale of the way a comparatively imprecise and malleable number of Buddhist texts of doubtful beginning got here to be so revered--and so misunderstood--in the West.

The significant personality during this tale is Walter Evans-Wentz (1878-1965), an eccentric student and religious seeker from Trenton, New Jersey, who, regardless of no longer understanding the Tibetan language and not vacationing the rustic, crafted and named The Tibetan publication of the Dead. actually, Lopez argues, Evans-Wentz's booklet is way extra American than Tibetan, owing a better debt to Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky than to the lamas of the Land of Snows. certainly, Lopez means that the book's perennial charm stems not just from its origins in magical and mysterious Tibet, but additionally from the best way Evans-Wentz translated the textual content into the language of a truly American spirituality.

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L. Austine Waddell, The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism, mentioned from the 1972 Dover reprint issued below the hot name, Tibetan Buddhism: With Its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology (New York: Dover courses, 1972), p. xi. 2. Waddell, The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism, p. 157. prior within the ebook, Waddell had grudgingly conceded that “the Lāmas have the keys to release the that means of a lot of Buddha’s doctrine, which has been virtually inaccessible to Europeans” (p. 17). Evans-Wentz knew Waddell’s publication; he cites this sentence approvingly on pages 2 and three. although, he turns out to have ignored Waddell’s dig on the Theosophists in his 1905 Lhasa and Its Mysteries. We keep in mind that the Theosophists claimed Tibet to be the airy residing position of the telepathic mahatmas, preservers of Atlantean knowledge for the post-diluvian age. whilst Waddell eventually used to be capable of achieve Lhasa, as a member of the Younghusband excursion, he made it some extent in the course of his viewers with the dGa’ ldan Khri pa, who was once left as head-of-state to barter with the British after the Dalai Lama had fled to Mongolia, of asking even if he had ever heard of the mahatmas. “Regarding the so-called ‘Mahatmas,’ it was once vital to elicit the truth that this Cardinal, some of the most realized and profound students in Tibet, used to be, just like the different discovered Lamas i've got interrogated at the topic, solely blind to this kind of beings. ” See L. Austine Waddell, Lhasa and Its Mysteries: With a list of the British Tibetan excursion of 1903–1904 (New York: Dover courses, 1988), pp. 409–10. three. See be aware four within the creation. four. See Dasho P. W. Samdup, “A short Biography of Kazi Dawa Samdup (1868–1922),” Bulletin of Tibetology forty four (no. 1 and a couple of) 2008, pp. 155–58. five. Alexandra David-Neel, Magic and secret in Tibet (New York: Dover guides, 1971), pp. 15, 17, 19. 6. Ken Winkler, Pilgrim of the transparent mild (Berkeley, CA: Dawnfire Books, 1982), p. forty four. the opposite biographical details on Evans-Wentz during this bankruptcy is drawn from Winkler’s booklet. an invaluable precis is equipped by way of John Myrdhin Reynolds in Self-Liberation via Seeing with bare knowledge (Barrytown, long island: Station Hill Press, 1989), pp. 71–78. 7. For a historical past of the declare that Buddhism and technological know-how have compatibility, see Donald S. Lopez, Jr. , Buddhism and technology: A advisor for the confused (Chicago: The collage of Chicago Press, 2008). eight. Jung additionally sees healthy to criticize Freud in his different preface for Evans-Wentz, his “Psychological observation” to The Tibetan booklet of the good Liberation, written in 1939. There, Jung claims that Freud’s adverse valuation of introversion is whatever that he stocks with nationwide Socialism. it is a stunning remark to make in 1939. Freud, who died in London that 12 months on the age of eighty three, had fled from the Gestapo in Vienna in 1938. See W. Y. Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan publication of the good Liberation (Oxford: Oxford collage Press, 1954), p. xxxv. nine. On Jung’s relation to Spiritualism and Theosophy, see Richard Noll, The Jung Cult (Princeton, NJ: Princeton collage Press, 1994).

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