Monday, January 15, 2007

An iconoclastic look at the Tibetan Book of the Dead

The New Statesman brings us a review by Mark Bearn of a recent translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. He gives us a rather unflattering opinion of its spiritual value, and of the sensibility of those that find solace and depth in it:
In similar vein, Gayle Hunnicutt believes that reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead "will give me greater peace of mind and benefit all around me". Did she get much peace of mind from the advice for averting death? "One should face westwards towards the sun when it is close to setting, and remove one's clothes. Then placing a dog's tail under you and some excrement in a heap in front, one should eat a mouthful of excrement, and bark like a dog. Repeat three times."
Now, I blush to admit that I have not read the Tibetan Book of the Dead, so I can't comment on the fairness of his account. But the review is certainly a humourous read.

Canby Depot Museum