A Way of Life: The Tibetan Book of the Dead

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Imagine that as you leave your body at death, you hear the voice of a loved one whispering in your ear explanations of everything you see in the world beyond.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is one of many mortuary texts of the Nyingma sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is commonly recited to or by a person facing imminent death.

Over as many as 12 days, the deceased person is given explanations of what he or she sees and experiences and is guided through innumerable visions of the realms beyond to reach eventual liberation, or, failing that, a safe rebirth. Like a backpacker’s guide to a foreign land.

Includes interviews with an ancient Buddhist monk and an investigation of a young boy who might be the reincarnation of a great spiritual figure. For those who are interested in what happens after death, this film is very informative.

This Documentary also explores two different deaths occurring in Buddhist families: one death of an ancient man who had a rich, full life and one of a young, successful man struck down in the prime of his life.

It gives a great account of how Buddhists deal with grief in these two different situations. It also interviews an ancient Buddhist monk about what he desires for the rest of his life, and an investigation of a young boy who might be the reincarnation of a great spiritual figure, and why people think the boy may be the man. The narration by Leonard Cohen is stunning.

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.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is filmed in Ladakh and the States, first part entitled The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life and the second part The Tibetan Book of the Dead

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