I recently purchased the "First Complete Translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead".
It has an Introductory Commentary by "His Holiness The Dalai Lama". It is published by Penguin Classics and I got a Deluxe Edition.
When I was younger I tried to read a partial translation of the "Tibetan Book of the Dead" in my 20s(in the 1970s) and felt very confused by it all because of the cultural differences after being raised in a Christian Culture like the U.S.
More recently I saw a very good presentation on "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" on the History Channel I believe and for the first time many of the things I had read before made sense to me.
In the mid 1980s I got a Phowa initiation by Lama Ayang in Santa Cruz, California. He told those of us being initiated that if the initiation took we would begin to remember all the past lives of all the Saints and Buddhas as if they were our own. This happened to me so even though I found it very overwhelming I realized that the initiation had done it's work of connecting me to all the Buddhas and Saints in a very real way. So, for this, I was really grateful.
I think this is why everything I write tends to be so very spiritually powerful because often what I'm writing about is these past life memories in the past, present and future of real Saints and Real Buddhas that I now remember as my own lives because of the Phowa initiation.
For those of you who don't know what Phowa is, it is an initiation to help one consciously exit their body by projecting oneself out the top of one's head at the time of death and thereby taking control as a soul of where one goes next and not leaving it to chance.
Even though this seems alien to a western Christian type of mind it makes complete sense to a person who sees taking responsibility as an adult for every aspect of their lives even after death.
Having faith that God will take care of you even after death is all very well and good but as we have all learned in real life it is like being on a river of time and the river of time isn't always kind to us. It might take us over waterfalls or trap us under rocks with it's water pressure. So by being both aware and kind to all beings and vigilant we help not only ourselves but also all other beings have much better experiences past, present and future.
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