Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

CONTENTS

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pp. vii-viii

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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pp. 10-13

This book is my third encounter with The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The first occurred in 1998, when I devoted a chapter to it in Prisoners of Shangri-La: Tibetan Buddhism and the West (University of Chicago Press, 1998). The second occurred...

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INTRODUCTION

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pp. 1-12

In 2005, I received a telephone call from a newspaper in N ew Jersey. The journalist had seen a press release about a new translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and thought he might write a story about it. I referred him to a recently...

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CHAPTER 1: America

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pp. 13-29

1816 was known in N ew England as the Y ear With No Summer. T emperatures plunged below freezing on June 5, July 6, August 13, 20, and 28. Eighteen inches of snow fell in Cabot, Vermont on

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CHAPTER 2: India

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pp. 30-48

In ancient India, we cannot provide a standard chronology of an author’s life and works. We encounter a different kind of evidence. The Buddha lived two and a half millennia ago, he wrote nothing during his life, his teachings were not...

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CHAPTER 3: Tibet

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pp. 49-70

According to a well-known myth, the first Tibetan kings descended from heaven by means of a rope. When the king’s firstborn son had reached maturity (measured by the ability to master...

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CHAPTER 4: The World

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pp. 71-127

From Egypt, Walter Evans-Wentz traveled to Sri Lanka and then on to India, where he visited the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar in Madras. He met Annie Besant, who had become...

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CONCLUSION

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pp. 128-152

When Evans-Wentz chose to name his work The Tibetan Book of the Dead, he had in mind The Egyptian Book of the Dead, convinced that both derived from a single source of ancient...

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CODA

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pp. 153-156

Sometime between 1817 and 1821, Antonio Lebolo, a former soldier in N apoleon’s army, excavated mummies from the necropolis of Thebes. Eleven of those mummies (and their accompanying...

NOTES

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pp. 157-170

INDEX

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pp. 171-173