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Tibetan Book of the Dead

A Way of Life / The Great Liberation
National Film Board / Alive Mind
May, 2009
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$36.50 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this acclaimed two-part series explores ancient teachings on death and dying. Filmed on locations in the Himalayas where the original text and teachings still hold considerable influence over people’s views of life and death, it contains remarkable footage of the rites and liturgies surrounding the death of a Ladakhi elder. The Dalai Lama explains his own feelings about death, while other scenes with a palliative care hospice in San Francisco depict the use of the texts to counsel dying patients. These films, by revealing ancient teachings on the process of living, dying, afterdeath, enlightenment, and rebirth, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.

Part II is a docudrama which, in the company of an old Buddhist lama and a 13 year-old novice monk, leads us into the very foundations of Buddhist philosophy—the practice of compassion and deep insight. Pema Choden, the lama, and Tubten, the young monk, read from the texts of The Tibetan Book of the Dead as they conduct the 49 days of final rites for a deceased Himalayan villager.

Rich with potent teachings for those “with ears,” these films (first produced in 1994 by the National Film Board of Canada) can be particularly educational and discussion-provoking when shared with a group.

This DVD includes a special bonus documentary, The Trap, where you’ll see what happens when Buddhist teachings are applied in a Nova Scotian fishing village.

Publisher’s Description: 

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 originating in the spiritual 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.

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