In September 1979, at Padmaloka Retreat Centre, Bhante taught a seminar on Trungpa Rimpoche’s introduction to Francesca Fremantle’s translation of the text. The seminar was focussed on Trungpa’s presentation, thereby giving Bhante the opportunity to point out the many dangers of reducing the Dharma to psychological terms, however well-meaning the attempt to make it more accessible. Nonetheless, those present got a very thorough grounding in the structure and import of the text itself. In addition, Bhante has dealt with topics arising from the Book of the Dead in a number of lectures and writings. It seems that it had a very important place in his own spiritual life, reflecting his firm conviction in the Buddha’s own teaching of ‘again becoming’ or rebirth.
Subhuti was present at that original seminar and affirms that it had a very strong effect upon him, setting the tone for his whole subsequent spiritual life. He has studied it repeatedly, beginning even before he became a Buddhist, and has led a number of study groups on it over the years.
This retreat will explore the principle themes of the text, in the light of Bhante’s presentation, both through exposition and discussion and through meditation and ritual. In this way, we hope that everyone attending will have the opportunity to enter into the spiritual world of the text and to see its relevance in their present experience and to their perspective on life and death.
This exploration of the text will provide a basis for further modules, researching issues arising from it. For instance: how to help people who are dying within our community; investigating scientific research into purported past life memories, near death reports, out of the body experiences; investigating practice in this area in other Buddhist groups and traditions, as well as non-Buddhist religions.
Those attending the retreat should have read one or other translation and should be familiar with the transcript of Bhante’s seminar on the topic and discussions in Bhante’s Complete Works, Vol 13. None of the translations are perfect but we will mainly be using that made under the direction of Namkai Norbu entitled The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Awakening Upon Dying, which seems the most readable and clear. Reference may also be made to the Francesca Fremantle translation, since that is the one Bhante used.
Mining for hidden treasure: This event is based on material from seminar transcripts. Read further on how we approach this material hier.
Tibetan Book of the Dead
Led by Subhuti
This retreat is for members of the Triratna Buddhist Order
Start Date: 18th Mar 2022
End Date: 25th Mar 2022
Event Type: Residential + Online
An opportunity to give if you are attending a dana event. For paid events, an invitation to contribute to our bursary fund.