Donald S. Lopez, Jr. on the surprising origins of The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Kazi Dawa Samdup and Walter Evans-Wentz

Visit the Berfrois web site to read Donald S. Lopez, Jr.”s explanation of why this photograph and the book these two men created aren’t quite what they seem.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead thus seems to entail multiple layers of dissimulation, beginning with the photograph of its translator and editor, and extending back to the ancient Tibetan text—how ancient remains a question—that lies buried under the prefaces, notes, and appendices of the American Theosophist Walter Evans-Wentz. And yet, it has been reprinted many times since 1927 and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The Tibetan text itself has been retranslated repeatedly, most recently in 2005 in “the first complete translation”, with various Tibetan lamas, including the Dalai Lama himself, offering their commentary.

More from the article here.

And read the first chapter of The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography here:


  1. The Tibetan Book of the Dead… Its quite interesting on how its full filled by mysteries.


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