The Bardo of Waking Life

The Bardo of Waking Life

by Richard Grossinger
     
 

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An avant garde set of improvisational essays, Richard Grossinger’s The Bardo of Waking Life is a meditation on the Tibetan Buddhist bardo realm which, in popular culture, is viewed as the bridge between lives, the state people enter after death and before rebirth. This book examines waking life and its history and language as if it were a bardo state

Overview

An avant garde set of improvisational essays, Richard Grossinger’s The Bardo of Waking Life is a meditation on the Tibetan Buddhist bardo realm which, in popular culture, is viewed as the bridge between lives, the state people enter after death and before rebirth. This book examines waking life and its history and language as if it were a bardo state rather than ultimate reality, and thus seeks a context for life (and dreams), even as it addresses more "mundane issues" including genetic theory, the war in Iraq and George W. Bush's presidency, North Korea, advertising, global warming, Prison Industrial Culture, childhood trauma, even country western music. Written with playfulness and precision, Bardo takes a new, probing approach to all the important questions of creation, destruction, and existence. In these intellectual field notes, Grossinger proves thematically fearless as he crosses quantum mechanics with totemic hexes and draws transcendental insight from the ephemeral space-time we call daily life. If, as Tibetan cosmology holds true, all conditional realms are bardos, then the state we all share is nothing less than the bardo of waking life.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Written with playfulness and precision, The Bardo of Waking Life takes a new, probing approach to all the important questions of creation, destruction, and existence.” —Horace Mann Magazine, Fall 2008“The Bardo of Waking Life is the eleven-dimensional consciousness of the Logos … like having a lucid dream with my eyes wide open, the sun at midnight filling up half the sky and the full moon at noon in the other half…. It’s a gift from the future, a magical artifact materialized out of a future dream.”—Rob Brezsny, author of Pronoia Is the Antidote to Paranoia“In this astonishing book, Richard Grossinger takes us on a layered journey of constant revelation, some measure of delight, and fleeting moments of despair, to a planet we dimly recognize for having dreamed it once. In fact, it’s not just a planet but a teeming esoteric realm of conscious existence, the mooring place of a ghostly boat which embarks and disembarks in the sea of our inner life.”—Mary Stark“I see this work as a swelling in the vast conspiracy of alertness that threads through the noise of the world, waking us to this leaf or that galaxy…. I want to praise it by saying it’s Not Even Right—it’s more important than what could ever readily slip into binary evaluations. It can’t be right, any more than a fox crossing the snow in the backyard can be right.”—Robert Kelly“From where I sit, The Bardo of Waking Life is full of the real grief of life’s predicament, all the way to the bone. And it is beautiful, and true, the whole cascade of painful, love-soaked delineations. I have glimpsed that coming unimaginable good, not as a vision or an idea, but as a shock of feeling upon waking from a dream like, ‘Oh my God, THIS is possible.’ And with that, an off-the-chart hope and a terrible fear rose together in me. THIS can happen, and it may not. So how am I to give myself effectively to IT happening? That is my main question.”—Robert Simmons, author of The Book of Stones

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781583944066
Publisher:
North Atlantic Books
Publication date:
05/31/2011
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
552
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt

From First Cycle: Museum of the Milky Way GalaxyA dragonfly is more advanced than a human being, in dragonfly terms. Its swift, surveillant flight, stopping and starting instantly, likewise turning on a dime, is well beyond what human motility can approach—it is the evolutionary equivalent of language and philosophy. Plus, dragonflies have no use for speech or dialect; they are the mere embodiment of predatory flight. That is, they have nothing to say which they don’t do.Any plane that tried to carry out dragonfly maneuvers would tear itself apart.Likewise, no Olympic muscleman, at scale of lifter to object, could out-press an ant. Not only would ants win the gold, the silver, and the bronze, but a crippled ant would finish well ahead of the most able Kazakhstani or Turk.It took millions of years of nonlinear flux via proteins and neural nets to render a beehive, a masterpiece of apian art as well as an archetypal object.It took millennia of stone tools, metallurgy, and cybernetics for humans to achieve its approximate simulacrum in a computer disk. For what it is and what it’s supposed to do, a beehive is perfect.An anthill is also perfect: tunnels of habitable symmetry from white noise, a billion vortices underlying stacks of organized chaos. It is the coevolutionary partner of the ant, its sine qua non.A fish, exerting flaps against rods, enacts elegant design principles—propulsion approaching, even as it arises from, inertia. In the Metropolitan Museum of the Milky Way Galaxy, a spider web plucked from Earth in the eighth millennium B.C. hangs adjacent to an iPod Nano. One critic from the Pleiades deemed it an even more exquisite representative of Sol carbon craft.In this same exhibit hall, mites from Enceladus and Europa are exemplified by fractally pleated micro-fabrics.Titan is not just an unrefined “Earth”; it is a tabernacle of methane philosophy...


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Since the issuing of Solar Journal: Oecological Sections by Black Sparrow Press in 1970, Richard Grossinger has published some twenty-five books, most of them with his own press, North Atlantic Books/Frog, Ltd., but also titles with Harper, Doubleday, Sierra Club Books, J.P. Tarcher, among others. These have ranged from extremely long explorations of science, culture, and spirituality (The Night Sky, Planet Medicine, Embryogenesis) to memoirs and nonfiction novels (New Moon, Out of Babylon) to experimental prose (Book of the Earth and Sky, Spaces Wild and Tame) and science fiction (Mars: A Science Fiction Vision). Grossinger received a PhD in anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1975 and lives with his wife Lindy Hough in Berkeley, California.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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