Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth: A Tibetan Buddhist Guidebook [NOOK Book]

Overview

Buddhism teaches that death can be a springboard to enlightenment—yet for all but the most advanced meditators, it will be the gateway to countless future lives of suffering in samsara. Tulku Thondup wrote this guide to help us heal our fear and confusion about death and strengthen our practice in anticipation of this transition, and to help us realize the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy—not only for death and rebirth, but for this very lifetime. In simple language, he distills a vast range of sources,...

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Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth: A Tibetan Buddhist Guidebook

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Overview

Buddhism teaches that death can be a springboard to enlightenment—yet for all but the most advanced meditators, it will be the gateway to countless future lives of suffering in samsara. Tulku Thondup wrote this guide to help us heal our fear and confusion about death and strengthen our practice in anticipation of this transition, and to help us realize the enlightened goal of ultimate peace and joy—not only for death and rebirth, but for this very lifetime. In simple language, he distills a vast range of sources, including scriptures, classic commentaries, oral teachings, and firsthand accounts. The book includes:



  • An overview of the dying process, the after-death bardo states, and teachings on why, where, and how we take rebirth


  • Accounts by Tibetan "near-death experiencers" (delogs), who returned from death with amazing reports of their visions


  • Ways to train our minds during life, so that at death, all the phenomena before us will arise as a world of peace, joy, and enlightenment


  • Simple meditations, prayers, and rituals to benefit the dead and dying


  • Advice for caregivers, helpers, and survivors of the dying



This edition includes an audio program providing guided instructions by the author on how to visualize Amitabha Buddha in the Pure Realm; how to receive his blessings; how to visualize transforming your body into light and sound at the time of death; how to share the blessings with compassion for all sentient beings; and how to rest in oneness. By becoming intimate with this practice while we're alive, we can alleviate our fear of death, improve our appreciation of this life, and prepare for death in a very practical way, while planting the seeds for rebirth in the Pure Land.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hoping to "help us realize... ultimate peace and joy... for death and beyond," Thondup, a Tibetan-born teacher, translator and former visiting scholar at Harvard, offers a remarkably lucid distillation of Tibetan Buddhist teachings on how the state of our minds in life affects the nature and quality of our experiences in death. Thondup opens the book with a discussion of some fundamental Buddhist concepts such as impermanence, karma and the importance of meditation for altering our mental habits. He then deconstructs the actual experience of dying (the "crucial hour of life"), a process of distinct stages, including glimpsing the "true nature of the mind" and dwelling in the bardo, a transitional period before rebirth. He even includes lengthy reports of death experiences by delogs, devout Tibetan Buddhists resurrected from the dead for the purpose of explaining how to negotiate the bardo. Thondup rounds out the book with discussions of reincarnation and the importance of-and practical instructions for-performing rituals for the dead. While the teachings can become sophisticated, Thondup's great strength is his consistent focus on a thesis equally accessible to novices: how we train our minds in life will profoundly influence our "afterdeath" experiences. The result is a provocative and surprisingly compelling work that will appeal to beginners and advanced practitioners alike. (May 24) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
"A remarkably lucid distillation of Tibetan Buddhist teachings on how the state of our minds in life affects the nature and quality of our experiences in death. The result is a provocative and surprisingly compelling work that will appeal to beginners and advanced practitioners alike.”—Publishers Weekly

“A healing treasure from Tulku Thondup: a clear, complete, and compassionate guidebook to the journey through life, dying, death, and beyond. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, including the Tibetan near-death experiences, he shows to what extent the quality of our life, death, and rebirth all depend upon the mind.”—Sogyal Rinpoche, author of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

"Tulku Thondup has opened this vast treasury of knowledge in a clear, simple, and powerful way for the modern audience.”—Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, author of Turning the Mind into an Ally

"Tulku Thondup explains fully and clearly each stage of the process that leads from this life to the next. The book contains a valuable section devoted to the care and support of those who are approaching death, and includes a selection of meditations and rituals that may be used to help the dying and the dead, which will be of great benefit to many people. ” —Francesca Fremantle, author of Luminous Emptiness: Understanding the Tibetan Book of the Dead

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780834824980
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 754,737
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Tulku Thondup Rinpoche was born in East Tibet and was recognized to be a tulku at age five. He studied at Tibet’s famed Dodrupchen Monastery, settling in India in 1958 and teaching for many years in its universities. He came to the United States in 1980 as a visiting scholar at Harvard University. For the past three decades he has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he writes, translates, and teaches under the auspices of the Buddhayana Foundation. His numerous books include The Healing Power of Mind, which has now been published in eighteen languages, and Boundless Healing, which has been published in eleven languages.

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Table of Contents



Acknowledgments
xv

About
This Book

xvii

INTRODUCTION:
DEATH IS NOT THE END 1


What
Happens at Death? 2

Karma,
the Natural Law of Causality 3

The
Cycle of Life, Death, and Afterdeath 5

Glimpses
of the Bardo 6

Taking
Rebirth 8

Transforming
Our Future 9

Ceremonies
for the Dead and Dying 12

The
Death of a Great Teacher 14

1.
HUMAN LIFE: OUR PRECIOUS DAYS 17

What
Is Our Real Nature? 18

Why
Meditate? 19

Precious
Human Life Is Rare 21

Life
Is Impermanent 24

Using
Impermanence to Dissolve Negative Emotions 25

Life
Is Created by Karmic Causality 28

The
Root of Karma Is Grasping at "Self" 30

How
Does Karma Form? 30

Going
Beyond Karmic Causality 34

Is
Life an Illusion? 34

The
Importance of Understanding Karma 35

Life
Is Full of Miseries 36

Suffering:
The First Noble Truth 37

The
Great Potential of Life 41

2.
DYING: THE CRUCIAL HOUR OF LIFE 45

The
Process of Dying 46

The
Elements and Energies of the Human Body 46

The
Dissolution of the Elements 47

Three
Inner Dissolutions 49

What
Should We Do When Dying? 51

Delog
Accounts of the Experiences of Dying 53

Dissolving
Energies: The Experience of Karma Wangdzin 54

Make
Merits for Me: The Experience of Lingza Chokyi 55

Have
the Lords of Death Come to Fetch Me?: The Experience of Denma Sangye Seng-ge 56

Cloudless
Sky-Like Luminosity: The Experience of Dagpo Trashi Namgyal 58

Perceptions
of Dying: The Experience of Samten Chotso 59

Unique
Among Delogs: The Experience of Dawa Drolma 59

Mind
Traveling without Hindrance: The Experience of Gyalwa Yungtrung 61

Intrinsic
Awareness: The Experience of Tsophu Dorlo 62

Her
Wisdom-Mind Became Clear: The Experience of Shugseb Jetsun Lochen 63

The
Dark Demon Departs: The Experience of Tagla Konchog Gyaltsen 63

Don't
Panic!: The Experience of Changchub Seng-ge 65

Don't
Be Afraid—Be Prepared 67

3.
THE ULTIMATE NATURE: GLIMPSES OF THE LUMINOSITY 69

The
Ultimate Nature Experienced at Death 69

Delog
Accounts of the Passage of Ultimate Nature 78

Spontaneously
Present Light: The Experience of Lingza Chokyi 78

A
Bodiless Body of Light: The Experience of Dagpo Trashi Namgyal 79

Visions
of Ultimate Nature: The Experience of Tsophu Dorlo 79

In
the Womb of a Body of Light: The Experience of Samten Chotso 80

Instructions
to Helpers: The Experience of Changchub Seng-ge 81

A
Supremely Blissful State: The Experience of Dawa Drolma 82

A
Feeling of Sadness: The Experience of Karma Wangdzin 83

Our
Sublime Potential 84

4.
THE BARDO: THE MOMENTOUS TRANSITIONAL PASSAGE 85

Experiences
of the Bardo 86

The
Court of Judgment and Verdict 88

Hints
of the Rebirth Awaiting Us 90

What
Should We Do in the Bardo? 91

Our
Future Journey 94

5.
TALES OF THE BARDO: AFTERDEATH EXPERIENCES OF TIBETAN DELOGS 96

Let
Her Remember All That She Sees: The Experience of Lingza Chokyi 97

What
Judgments Await Me?: The Experience of Karma Wangdzin 111

No
Fear of the Foes: The Experience of Denma Sangye Seng-ge 128

Visits
to the Eighteen Hell Realms: The Experience of Tagla Konchog Gyaltsen 133

Distracted
into Delusion: The Experience of Dagpo Trashi Namgyal 137

Crossing
the Field of the Dead: The Experiences of Gyalwa Yungtrung 139

Purified
by Streams of Nectar: The Experience of Samten Chotso 143

Don't
Be Discouraged: The Experience of Changchub Seng-ge 145

Hell
Is the Unexcelled Pure Land: The Experience of Tsophu Dorlo 147

Form
Inseparable from Wisdom: The Experience of Dawa Drolma 151

Let
Everyone Be Liberated: The Experience of Shugseb Jetsun Lochen 155

Nothing
to Accept or Reject: The Experience of Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje 163

6.
REBIRTH: THE INELUCTABLE KARMIC CYCLE 168

Liberation
or Rebirth? 170

The
Causes of Rebirth 171

The
Six Realms of Worldly Existence 174

Six
Emotions: The Seeds of Rebirth in the Six Realms 175

Choosing
Your Next Rebirth Could Be in Your Hands 178

Blocking
the Wrong Birthplaces 178

Choosing
the Right Birthplace 181

7.
THE BUDDHA OF INFINITE LIGHT AND HIS BLISSFUL PURE LAND 184

Sources
of the Pure Land Tradition 185

The
Three Aspects of the Pure Land 185

The
Power of the Buddha's Vows 186

The
Power of the Buddha's Name 188

What
Is the Pure Land Like? 189

The
Buddha of Infinite Light and His Disciples 191

Rebirth
in the Blissful Pure Land 194

8.
HOW TO HELP THE DYING AND THE DEAD 196

Maintaining
Positive Thoughts and Behavior 196

Performing
Prayers and Rituals 198

Making
Merits 198

Buddhist
Rituals for Non-Buddhists 200

Universal
Meditation for All 201

Instructions
for Buddhists and Those Open to Buddhism 202

Meditations
for Buddhists and Other Meditators 204

Meditation
for Highly Trained Helpers 205

Instruction
for Helpers of Dying Meditators 206

In
Helping
Others, We Help Ourselves 207

Some
Important Observances 207

9.
RITUAL SERVICES FOR THE DYING AND THE DEAD 211

The
Tradition of Death Rituals 212

Religious
Services for the Dying 212

Purification
212

Merit
Making 213

Empowerments
215

Dedication
and Aspiration Prayers 215

Religious
Services at the Time of Death 217

Instructions
for Ordinary People 217

Instructions
and Death Services for Accomplished Meditators 219

Religious
Services after Death 220

A
Summary of the Thirteen-Step Death Ritual 221

Other
Ceremonies 224

10.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS 226

APPENDIXES:
SOME SIMPLE BUDDHIST DEATH RITUALS 229

APPENDIX
A. MEDITATIONS ON THE FOUR CAUSES OF TAKING REBIRTH IN THE BLISSFUL PURE LAND
231

Preliminary
Practices 235

Going
for Refuge 235

Developing
Enlightened Attitude (Bodhichitta) 236

The
Four Causes of Taking Rebirth in the Blissful Pure Land 236

The
First Cause: Remembering the Pure Land 236

The
Second Cause: Accumulation of Merits 238

The
Third Cause: Developing Enlightened Attitude 239

The
Fourth Cause: Dedication and Aspiration 239

The
Liturgies of the Four Causes 240

The
Mantra and the Name-Prayers 242

The
Mantra of the Buddha of Infinite Light 242

Name-Prayers
to the Buddha and Bodhisattvas 243

Concluding
Practice: Dedication and Aspiration Prayer 244

APPENDIX
B. EIGHT ESOTERIC BUDDHIST RITUALS FOR THE DYING AND THE DEAD 248

Introduction
to the Eight Rituals 248

The
Performance of the Eight Rituals 251

Preliminary
Practices 252

Going
for Refuge 252

Developing
Enlightened Attitude (Bodhichitta) 252

Visualization
and Contemplation of Oneself as the Buddha of Compassion 253

The
Mantra of the Buddha of Compassion 255

Making
Offerings to the Buddha of Compassion 255

Offering
of Praise to the Buddha of Compassion 256

Aspiration
Prayer 256

Summoning
the Consciousness of the Deceased and Giving Teachings 257

The
Sur Offering to the Deceased 259

Dharma
Instructions to the Deceased 263

The
Meditation and Prayers of Phowa:

Transference
of Consciousness to the Blissful Pure Land 265

Meditation
267

Prayers
270

Chanting
the Name-Prayers to the Buddha and Bodhisattva 272

The
Main Meditation of Phowa 273

Prayer
and Meditation on the Buddha of Infinite Life 275

Cremation
of the Effigy 276

Dedication
and Aspiration Prayer 278

Notes

281

Glossary
291

References:
Sources Cited and Key to Abbreviations

303

Index
311

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2005

    Beyond Self-Help

    Tulku Thondup speaks about the most subtle and crucial factors in the process of dying and what comes after death. Remarkably, his audience is neither the scholar, the dilettante nor even the serious spiritual seeker. Rather he speaks directly and personally to each of us in that we ourselves will have to go through this passage. His message is that the attitude we bring to death is all important and it is a major mistake to hide from, ignore or fail to prepare for our own death. In spite of this, the tone of the book is completely positive, healing and comforting. Tulku Thondup's language and references are contemporary and up-to-date, but his sources of authority and training are steeped in the highest traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. This work also contains a brilliant survey of the biographies of delugs, Tibetans who 'died' for many days and came back to reveal their experiences in the bardo. Thoroughly scholarly, yet completely accessible, this work is a breakthrough which expands the dimensions of self-help literature beyond the obsession with health while providing new material for scholars of all religions.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2009

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    Posted January 30, 2011

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