Living, Dreaming, Dying: Practical Wisdom from the Tibetan Book of the Dead

Living, Dreaming, Dying: Practical Wisdom from the Tibetan Book of the Dead

by Rob Nairn
     
 

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The
Tibetan
Book of the Dead
is one of the best-known Tibetan Buddhist texts. It is also one of the most difficult texts for Westerners to understand. In
Living,
Dreaming, Dying,
Rob
Nairn presents the first interpretation of this classic text using a modern
Western perspective, avoiding arcane religious terminology, keeping

Overview

The
Tibetan
Book of the Dead
is one of the best-known Tibetan Buddhist texts. It is also one of the most difficult texts for Westerners to understand. In
Living,
Dreaming, Dying,
Rob
Nairn presents the first interpretation of this classic text using a modern
Western perspective, avoiding arcane religious terminology, keeping his explanations grounded in everyday language. Nairn explores the concepts used in this highly revered work and brings out their meaning and significance for our daily life. He shows readers how the
Tibetan
Book of the Dead
can
help us understand life and self as well as the dying process.

Living,
Dreaming, Dying
helps readers to "live deliberately"—and confront death deliberately. One thing that prevents us from doing that, according to Nairn, is our tendency to react fearfully whenever change occurs. But if we confront our fear of change and the unknown, we can learn to flow gracefully with the unfolding circumstances of life rather than be at their mercy.

Of course, change occurs throughout our life, but a period of transition also occurs as we pass from the waking state into sleep, and likewise as we pass into death. Therefore the author's teachings apply equally to living as well as to dreaming and dying.

Through meditation instructions and practical exercises, the author explains how to:

  • Explore the mind through the cultivation of deep meditation states and expanded consciousness
  • Develop awareness of negative tendencies
  • Use deep sleep states and lucid dreaming to increase self-understanding as well as to "train" oneself in how to die so that one is prepared for when the time comes
  • Confront and liberate oneself from fear of death and the unknown

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780834824720
Publisher:
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Publication date:
04/16/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
566,660
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Introduction

Living,
dreaming, dying, account for the totality of our experience. We are doing them all the time. The unusual question is: How well are we doing them?

Mostly,
we drift through these states without realizing that we are constantly creating the conditions—physical, psychological, spiritual— for our future. If suffering, pain, happiness, or joy is experienced, we ourselves are accountable, not some external force. If happiness is to be found, we have the power to create the conditions for it. That is a world perspective, but
Buddhism offers an even vaster perspective: As humans we have the potential to become something extraordinary—enlightened. Enlightenment takes us beyond the sorrows and joys of the human state to something indescribably grand.

Having become enlightened, we have limitless power and ability to help others in ways known and unimaginable—to help them to freedom and happiness. Bodhisattvas live only to do this.

This is living, dreaming, dying well. Anything less is pointless.

Many
Westerners are fascinated by dream and its potential for new experience and spiritual growth. Few are drawn to the idea that death can be a creative and liberating experience, but the fact is that death offers more spectacular opportunities for enlightenment than life. So does dream. We must train while living if we want to recognize and take advantage of these opportunities.

The purpose of this book is to introduce you to the main principles of training and acquaint you with some of the age-old Buddhist teachings on liberation through living, dreaming, dying. We will also examine how the "ordinary person in the street" can best prepare for death and thus die skillfully, and also how to help others who are dying or have already died.

Most
Westerners have difficulty gaining perspective on the Tibetan teachings in this area. As a result they struggle to integrate them effectively into their experience. To help overcome this problem, we will examine material from neuroscience and psychology that parallels and illuminates the Tibetan teachings, particularly on dream.

The most important single message to emerge from the Buddhist teachings on this topic is simple and powerful:

If you want to be happy and become enlightened, give up all forms of selfishness and harmful behavior. Live to help others. Above all—try to be kind.

Meet the Author

Rob Nairn's training in psychology and Buddhist practice brings him a unique ability to explain ancient Eastern concepts in modern, accessible terms. The author of What Is Meditation? and Diamond Mind, he is sought after internationally as a lecturer on Buddhist philosophy and meditation.

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