Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Tibetan Book of the Dead - Narration by Leonard Cohen


The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing In The Bardo (Shambhala Classics) [Chogyam Trungpa commentary] is one of the classic books of Tibetan culture and the Buddhist religion. The book is more properly known as the Bardo Thodol. There are many different translations and commentaries, as well as a public domain version.

This text is traditionally read aloud to the dying to help them attain liberation. During the counter-cultural 1960s, many users of hallucinogens read this book (at the urging of Timothy Leary) because it views death and rebirth as a process that provides an opportunity to recognize the true nature of mind. 

The narrator in this two-part video of the Tibetan Book of the Dead is none other than music icon and Zen monk (who keeps the Sabbath and is religiously Jewish), Leonard Cohen. You can purchase a DVD of these videos through Amazon.com.
Death is real, it comes without warning and it cannot be escaped. An ancient source of strength and guidance, The Tibetan Book of the Dead remains an essential teaching in the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this enlightening two-part series explores the sacred text and boldly visualizes the afterlife according to its profound wisdom. 
Part 1: A Way of Life reveals the history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and examines its traditional use in northern India, as well as its acceptance in Western hospices. Shot over a four-month period, the film contains footage of the rites and liturgies for a deceased Ladakhi elder and includes an interview with the Dalai Lama, who shares his views on the book's meaning and importance. 
Part 2: The Great Liberation follows an old lama and his novice monk as they guide a Himalayan villager into the afterlife using readings from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The soul's 49-day journey towards rebirth is envisioned through actual photography of rarely seen Buddhist rituals, interwoven with groundbreaking animation by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ishu Patel.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead Part 1: A Way of Life


The Tibetan Book of the Dead Part 2: The Great Liberation

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