The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life

1994, Religion  -   16 Comments
Ratings: 7.18/10 from 108 users.

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.

Directed by: Barrie McLean

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2 years ago

Surprised no one commented on Leonard Cohen being the narrator of this film with his deep calm voice :)

6 years ago

Anyone knows where I can get the full screenplay / script?

Paul Gaudette
6 years ago

I found this series highly compelling, though it raises more questions than it answers. I suppose that is expected from a layman's point of view, however, as the man (Soering Sonem) lay dying, in pT2, as he is being told the Wrathful entities are a mere manifestation and projection, conceived of in and by his own mind, then am I correct in supposing that these entities benevolent or malicious are a mere hallucinatory fabrication, having no validity, or significance, substance or form, in this world, or transitional Bardo, or the next? If anything, my attention is captured, begging knowledge. I would say that is a good thing. I enjoyed the production, at any rate. My only reservation, or rather what is regrettably sadening is not having explored This, The Tibetan Buddhist Faith, and it's history sooner. I was recently diagnosed with HCC with Pvtt, which makes for a poor prognosis in my perpetuity of study, and continued physical presence, So in my search, my time and resources are indeed limited. I will of course endeavor to remain teachable all the way up to and throughout, unto the end of this life. Thank you for sharing this marvelous film. Well done. _Namaste
The divine in me recognizes the divine in you. ?

7 years ago

Incredible teaching with such beautiful landscape . Highly recommend watching for anyone wanting to learn more about dying and the Bardo. I too found the jazz music such a disconnect for this movie and I couldn't understand why tibetan music was not used for the entirety of the film. I found it drew my focus away from the film at some points.

7 years ago

This is a remarkable subject and very well presented EXCEPT for the music, especially the jazzy horn. It really detracted form an otherwise haunting and beautiful journey into the realm of the Bardo. There is so much wonderful, beautiful, amazing Tibetan music available I wonder why it wasn't used in this exceptional film. It really was a big distraction and I almost turned it off because of the music, but glad I didn't. It's still a valuable watch.

7 years ago

I learned a lot from this and was well shot. The saxaphone made me think that I should be watching a Lethal Weapon movie instead of a film about what tibetan buddhists believe happens when we die.

9 years ago

Tibetan Book of the Dead : A
Way of Life talked about the different approaches Tibetan's have towards death and follows the rituals that the Tibetans follow after someone dies. As I did my third project on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, this documentary offered a real life view into the rituals that I read about. It was interesting to see the Buddhist rituals carried out by real people and it made them much more real and relatable. The parts when the documentary cut back to a western hospital was pretty interesting as it showed how the Tibetan Book of the Dead doesn't
only relate back to Tibetan Buddhism but also can relate to others who are searching for a meaning in death. The documentary was pretty good. I would recommend others to watch it.

guru choykokkee
12 years ago

Take refuge in the Buddha
Take refuge in the Dharma
Take refuge in the Sangha

Thus as I heard from the buddha in The Lotus Sutra, Chapter Sixteen
They would grow arrogant and lax.
Unruly and attached to the five desires,
They would tumble into the evil paths.
I am ever aware of living beings
Those who practice the Way and those who do not.
I speak various Dharmas for their sakes
To save them in an appropriate manner.
I am always thinking,
"How can I cause living beings
To enter the Unsurpassed Way
And to quickly perfect the body of a Buddha?"

Let take this as our mission for each rebirth and work to liberate more lives through our practice of buddha compassion and wisdom.
I am always thinking,
"How can I cause living beings
To enter the Unsurpassed Way
And to quickly perfect the body of a Buddha?"

12 years ago

why lye on the right side for peace not the left? wondering because I almost died in Bali from infections in my right side. I was not able to lie on my right side.

12 years ago

Awesome! I know I will be watching this one over and over again. Thank you!!!

13 years ago

(those ?question marks? are a different language the page did not accept). thank you.

13 years ago

Great job filming and sharing secrets of our souls. The Tibetan ideals have an interisting foundation on both sides of existence. And described in a way old history intended to keep. Being closer with creation invites humanity into it.?? ??? ????? ?? ?? ????, ?? ??????

13 years ago

The next great journey after life and birth.