By Donald S. Lopez, Jr.
The Tibetan ebook of the Dead is the main well-known Buddhist textual content within the West, having bought greater than 1000000 copies because it used to be first released in English in 1927. Carl Jung wrote a remark on it, Timothy Leary redesigned it as a guidebook for an acid journey, and the Beatles quoted Leary's model of their tune "Tomorrow by no means Knows." extra lately, the publication has been followed via the hospice move, enshrined via Penguin Classics, and made into an audiobook learn by means of Richard Gere. but, as acclaimed author and pupil of Buddhism Donald Lopez writes, "The Tibetan e-book of the Dead will not be Tibetan, it isn't fairly a ebook, and it isn't rather approximately death." during this compelling creation and brief heritage, Lopez tells the unusual tale of ways a comparatively imprecise and malleable selection of Buddhist texts of doubtful foundation got here to be so revered--and so misunderstood--in the West.
The crucial personality during this tale is Walter Evans-Wentz (1878-1965), an eccentric student and religious seeker from Trenton, New Jersey, who, regardless of now not realizing the Tibetan language and not vacationing the rustic, crafted and named The Tibetan e-book of the Dead. in truth, Lopez argues, Evans-Wentz's booklet is far extra American than Tibetan, owing a better debt to Theosophy and Madame Blavatsky than to the lamas of the Land of Snows. certainly, Lopez means that the book's perennial allure stems not just from its origins in magical and mysterious Tibet, but in addition from the best way Evans-Wentz translated the textual content into the language of a truly American spirituality.