A Practice to Help You Handle Life's Difficulties with GraceA few months ago, I was being interviewed for a radio show and the host said to me, “What is equanimity? You talk about it in your books but I don’t know what it is. Tell me in one sentence. ” I’d never been asked to reduce equanimity to one sentence, but I had my second book, How to Wake Up, sitting next to me and as I hastily opened it, lucky for me, it opened right to a discussion of equanimity. I answered her question with:Equanimity is greeting whatever is present in our experience with an evenness of temper, so our minds stay balanced and steady in the face of life’s ups and downs.Today, I’d add the words calm and tranquil: balanced and steady, calm and tranquil, in the face of life’s ups and downs.How does this aspiration play out in every day life? If we’re to “greet whatever is present in our experience” with calmness and tranquility, how about the many (many) times when those experiences are unpleasant? It’s not easy to greet unpleasant experiences with calmness and ease! It’s more common to be thrown off-balance when the day doesn’t go as expected, or when someone makes a thoughtless comment to us, or plans have to be changed at the last minute due to something such as chronic illness (which I use as an example because it applies to so much of my life).I know from over 25 years of practicing equanimity (learned from my Buddhist studies), it’s a challenge—every single day. But with practice, it becomes easier to reach that place of calmness and tranquility, if only for a few moments at first.In this piece, I want to share a practice I’ve been using recently. It’s simple, really. I intentionally start a sentence by saying to myself “It’s okay if…” Obviously, not everything is going to feel okay (certainly not the loss of a loved one) and so this is a practice to use only when it’s wise to do so—that is, when you think it might help you accept and feel okay about what’s happening in your life.Starting a sentence with “It’s okay if…” helps me stay steady and calm when everyday challenges start to throw me off balance. For example, on a day I’m feeling particularly sick or my pain levels are high, I’ll say to myself, “It’s okay if I feel awful today. Sometimes that’s how chronic illness feels.”You can be as creative with this practice as you’re comfortable with. With health-related issues, you might say to yourself: “It’s okay if I can’t do all the things I used to do”; “It’s okay if my friend doesn’t understand what it’s like to live with chronic pain. Some people have to suffer from something themselves before they can empathize with what it’s like.” With other issues, you could say: “It’s okay if my new job didn’t turn out to be all I’d hoped for. Nothing’s perfect”; “It’s okay if my kids have problems. Everyone does.”The more I use this practice, the braver I become with my “It’s okay if…” formulations. Recently, I’ve been trying this out: “It’s okay if I’m chronically ill the rest of my life.” Whoa! The rest of my life? Can that ever be okay? It turns out that, for me, it can.It’s true that sometimes when I say that sentence, resistance arises and I get thrown off-balance and feel scared. But if I’m honest with myself, I might very well be chronically ill the rest of my life. If that’s the case, I know from experience that I’ll feel better emotionally and I’ll be happier the more I can accept that possibility with grace. That’s equanimity in action for me. When I feel equanimous, a sense of well-being arises and I feel at peace. That’s why I keep practicing.I hope this idea was helpful and that you’ll try it.Toni Bernhard is the author of the award-winning How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers, and How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow. Her newest book is called How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide. Before becoming ill, she was a law professor at the University of California—Davis. Her blog, “Turning Straw Into Gold” is hosted by Psychology Today online. Visit her website at www.tonibernhard.com.
There is no single, definitive tradition in the buddhadharma, because there are all kinds of sentient beings who have their own interests and dispositions. For that reason, there has to be a wide variety in methods for traversing the path. Mind is not a definite, concrete thing. For that reason, the methods for relating to the mind also cannot be concrete and universal.The main objective of the dharma is to tame our minds — to bring peace and happiness to our minds — but there needs to be a wide variety of methods available for different sentient beings. For example, some beings might give rise to bodhichitta, the wish to attain enlightenment, through meditating on emptiness. The meditation on emptiness might be an avenue for them to connect with the altruistic heart of bodhichitta. On the other hand, other beings might not be able to connect with bodhichitta through contemplating emptiness. So there’s no universal rule, no definitive set of methods. Again, it leads back to the state of mind: since there’s no definitive, universal state of mind, there can never be any definitive, universal set of methods.At the same time, there are traditions within Buddhism that are very beneficial and carry great blessings, because they are the traditions of highly accomplished spiritual beings. These blessings are special and should be seen as sacred and beneficial. That’s why we respect the teaching styles and methods of the great spiritual masters of the past. They don’t have to be regarded as concrete rules, but at the same time they do carry supreme blessings.– 17th Karmapa
17th Karmapa on the web:http://kagyuoffice.orghttp://kagyu.orghttp://kagyumonlam.orghttp://rumtek.orghttp://karmapa.justdharma.com17th Karmapa biography:http://kagyuoffice.org/karmapa/
Fifty years ago the United States was about to embark on an adventure which came to be known as The Summer of Love.1967 was the year of the release of the Beatles’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and of debut albums from the Doors, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, among many others.In addition to the thriving music scene, 1967 was also the year of the Summer of Love; the year that millions of now-illegal LSD tabs flooded America; Muhammad Ali was convicted of avoiding the draft; Martin Luther King Jr. publicly opposed the war in Vietnam; Stokely Carmichael championed Black Power; Israel won the Six-Day War, and Che Guevara was murdered.It was the year that hundreds of thousands of protesters vainly attempted to levitate the Pentagon.It was the year the word “hippie” peaked and died, and the Yippies were born.Friend of MindPod Network, Danny Goldberg, has a new book coming out that explores what made 1967 such a pivotal year, one that resonates with millions of people around the globe.Danny's book, "In Search of The Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea" is a subjective history of 1967, the year he graduated from high school. It is, he writes in the introduction, “an attempt at trying to remember the culture that mesmerized me, to visit the places and conversations I was not cool enough to have been a part of.”It is also a refreshing and new analysis of the era; by looking at not only the political causes, but also the spiritual, musical, and psychedelic movements, Goldberg provides a unique perspective on how and why the legacy of 1967 lives on today.Danny provided MindPod Network with an excerpt of the book (out June 6th) which you can find below.THE SUMMER OF LOVE(from Chapter 6, “Flower Power”)The Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic was founded in June 1967 by Dr. David E. Smith, who immediately became a go-to source for journalists covering the Summer of Love.Smith staffed the clinic with volunteers who contributed samples of penicillin and tranquilizers from local hospitals where they also interned.Aware of police scrutiny, Smith put up a sign on the door that read,"No dealing! No holding drugs. No using drugs. No alcohol. No pets. Any of these can close the clinic. We love you."The clinic served more than two hundred and fifty people a day. Among the most common ailments treated at the clinic were bad trips, drug overdoses, and venereal diseases. (As of the writing of this book in 2017, the clinic is still operating.)There were ongoing tensions between hippies and local police, who periodically enforced the drug laws and were under constant pressure from local businesses to help minimize disruptions in traffic.Censorship of the arts was still a major issue in 1967.Lenny Bruce had died of an overdose the previous year, driven to despair by relentless and unconscionable obscenity prosecutions of his stand-up performances.Statements of support for The Beard (a Michael McClure play that had been shut down by the cops) came in from Norman Mailer, Robert Creeley, and Allen Ginsberg, among others.Parallel to the Haight world, the antiwar movement was surging, but combining the cultures remained elusive.On April 15, the same day that Martin Luther King Jr. led the march to the United Nations in New York, there was a march in San Francisco to Kezar Stadium.At the outset, there were 50,000 people there, but the pacifist organizers focused the program on the earnest but unhip peaceniks.Country Joe and the Fish played from the back of a truck as the march went on, yet once inside the stadium they were only given enough time for two songs.Ginsberg complained that they had foolishly ignored the hippies and the crowd dispersed early.Nonetheless, the Vietnam War was inescapable even at the Oracle.Early in 1967, they published “A Curse on the Men in Washington, Pentagon,” a Gary Snyder poem which addressed those at the Department of Defense with the lines:“To trample your throat in your dreams / This magic I work, this loving I give / that my children may flourish / And yours won’t thrive.”The decision to publish was controversial within the Oracle, and involved a vote by the entire staff.By a margin of one vote, the paper moved forward with running the poem, a decision that resulted in a photographer, whose father worked at the Pentagon, leaving the magazine.The August issue had the line “Psychedelics, Flowers, and War” on its cover, and it included two full pages dedicated to a Michael McClure poem.In representing the sensibilities of the community that had put Haight-Ashbury on the cultural map, the Oracle focused much of its energy on visions of a more positive alternate society.Many of the Oracle writers and artists refused to sign their work, because they felt that their writing came from a higher consciousness.One frequent theme in the paper was getting back to nature.A writer who identified himself by the initials S.B. extolled “those who seek being rather than status and who decide to return to the land often to attain an ethical relationship with nature.”Other articles focused on organic gardening and astrology. There was even a piece on Aquarian tarot cards, and another headlined, “Dialogue between Astronomer and Philosopher.”Letters to the editor poured in from newly formed communities around the country.*Pre-order In Search of the Lost Chord on Amazon here> http://amzn.to/2q4ReWS*Excerpted from In Search of the Lost Chord: 1967 and the Hippie Idea, copyright 2017 by Danny Goldberg, used with permission of Akashic Books (akashicbooks.com).
“Magic mushrooms” is a term used to generally describe mushrooms with psychoactive properties.
However, the cultural concept of “magic mushrooms” clashes with the general term.
Culturally speaking, most people are referring to a specific genre of psychoactive mushrooms called “psilocybin mushrooms” when they say “magic mushrooms”.
However, “magic mushrooms” encompass other psychoactive mushrooms as well - for example amanita muscaria or claviceps purpurea, which are not part of the psilocybe mushrooms family.
Magic mushrooms are sacred medicine (also called “psychedelics”) used traditionally in Central America in religious and spiritual rituals.
They contain psychoactive compounds which induce visions, psychedelic experiences and enhance extrasensory senses. Magic mushrooms are one of the safest and most popular psychedelics of our current times.
The modern Western world has come into closer contact with them around the 1950’s, thanks to an article published in Life Magazine in 1959.
There are more and more scientific studies proving that consuming these magic mushrooms have clear benefits, both in healing psychological disorders as well as enhancing spiritual and meaningful experiences.
Before consuming these psychoactive mushrooms, it is better to know the different types of magic mushrooms, how they are consumed and in what specific contexts.Here are the most popular 3 types of magic mushrooms...
Magic Mushrooms #1 - Psilocybin Mushrooms
Psilocybin mushrooms are the most popular type of magic mushrooms.
They are part of the Strophariaceae family and the Psilocybe genus.There are more than 180 species of psilocybin mushrooms, each one with a different intensity and “flavor” of experience.
The most popular psilocybin mushrooms are “Psilocybe Cubensis” (also called “Golden Teacher” due to the fact that it is a powerful spiritual teacher) as well as “Psilocybe Semilanceata Mushrooms”.
Other less-known species of psilocybin mushrooms include psilocybe cyanescens, psilocybe azurencens, psilocybe bohemica and others.The active psychoactive compounds in psilocybin mushrooms are psilocybin and psilocin.
These biochemical substances are the ones responsible for the psychedelic and mind-altering experiences of psilocybin mushrooms.Depending on the contents of these two compounds, psilocybin mushrooms differ in potency and the psychedelic experience they offer.
Psilocybe azurencens is the most potent one because it contains the highest amount of these two compounds (potency of selected Psilocybe mushrooms).
Another potent one is psilocybe baeocystis, with high amounts of the two psychoactive compounds.However, psilocybe semilanceata is the most popular in Europe because it is the species which grows most frequently on its own in this area, particularly in the forests.
They are also called “Liberty Caps” due to their large cap.All these mushrooms also differ when it comes to the conditions in which they grow and thrive.
Some of them are fit to be grown at home, in a sterile environment, using jars or carton boxes. Other species of psilocybin require much more exquisite conditions to prosper.
Magic Mushrooms #2 - Amanita Muscaria
Amanita muscaria is another type of popular magic mushrooms. It is also known as “Fly Agaric” or “Fly Amanita”.
It belongs to the genus “Amanita”, amongst many other types of mushrooms.If you remember the mushrooms with a red cap and white dots on it, depicted in most fairytales and cartoons, then you know how they look.
They can be found frequently in forests, especially in autumn.Amanita muscaria were used most frequently by Siberian shamans since history started being recorded in those parts.
They also have a long history of being used in the rest of Asia, as well as Northern Europe. Interestingly enough, records state that the urine produced by the persons who ingest amanita muscaria is much more potent (as in having psychedelic properties) than ingesting the mushrooms themselves.
This can be explained due to the fact that the liver recognizes the psychoactive compounds in these mushrooms as being toxic, hence it rushes to evacuate it with the use of the kidneys. The psychoactive compounds in amanita muscaria are called “botenic acid” and “muscimol.”
Magic Mushrooms #3 - Claviceps Purpurea
Claviceps purpurea (also known as “Ergot”) is a specific type of mushrooms which grows on rye. Actually, this type of mushrooms are more like parasites growing off the rye, infesting this grain and feeding off of it.
The main psychedelic biochemical compound is called “ergotamine”, which is also the predecessor of the modern psychedelic LSD.They belong to the family of Hypocreaceae and Claviceps genus.
Traditionally it is considered a poison, although the ancient Romans and Greeks used them as sacred entheogens. Ergot poisoning (also known as “St Anthony's Fire”) causes hallucinations, gangrenous loss of limbs, and death. Outbreaks plagued medieval Europe and were associated with witchcraft and the Inquisition.Another fascinating story about Ergot includes the Eleunisian mysteries(Wikipedia).
The Eleunisian mysteries are thought to actually represent a close guarded ancient secret - they were thought to be sacred ceremonies consuming this type of mushroom in order to facilitate spiritual experiences.
Plato and other famous thinkers of this ancient period were thought to have consumed this sacred psychedelic.It is advised to exercise maximum caution when it comes to cultivating these mushrooms, both in a sterile environment or in their natural environment. There are many species of mushrooms which are not psychoactive.
Some are deadly poisonous while others are edible.It is best to work with a shaman who knows how to properly prepare and cultivate this sacred medicine. It is imperative that you consume them in a safe, nurturing and sacred environment with the utmost respect for the mushrooms and their spirit.These are not “toys” to play with - they are powerful sacred medicine. Treat them accordingly and you will have a beautiful experience.
Face to Face, a 35 episode BBC television series broadcast between 1959 and 1962, was the first program on British television to unmask public figures and show what lies beneath the surface. Harsh lighting and close-up camera angles were employed to capture each flicker of emotion, a method critics referred to as "torture by television." Among those who submitted to Freeman's remorseless scrutiny were Evelyn Waugh, Henry Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Carl Gustav Jung.When Carl Jung consented to be interviewed, the medical community was surprised that this very private figure was suddenly willing to allow an interviewer into his personal space. When the program was first aired in 1959, Jung himself was taken aback at the unexpectedly positive response from the general public. This strong interest in his work inspired Jung to write his final work, Man and His Symbols, his theory of the symbolism of dreams, explained in lay terms so as to be accessible to all who would come seeking answers.Freeman's face was almost never shown. Apart from the back of his head, the cameras were concentrated on the subject, sometimes concentrating on a nervously smoked cigarette or a close-up of a face. The theme music was an excerpt from the overture to Berlioz' opera Les Francs-juges. The titles for each episode featured caricatures of that week's subject drawn by Feliks Topolski. Some episodes departed from an interview conducted at the BBC's Lime Grove Studios: the edition with Carl Gustav Jung was conducted at his home in Switzerland. The interview was a success, with his much quoted remark about the existence of God - 'I don't believe, I know' - arousing a storm of comment at the time.
by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpe DorjeThe practice of Dharma involves certain possibilities. How these potentials evolve into actual situations for the practitioner, and how much is possible within these situations depends on the capacity of individual beings. It depends upon the level of teachings that one is able to relate to, such as Mahayana or Hinayana. At this particular time in our lives, the practice of the Mahayana teaching is possible. It is absolutely precious and absolutely rare. Our concern for development and our sense of responsibility has placed us in a position to integrate the preciousness and rarity of the Mahayana teaching with our lives. Through it there is the possibility of the experience of no-returning back into Samsara and the experience of ultimate bliss that is self knowing and in which there are no doubts.In the midst of the wanderings of our minds we might sometimes fall into thinking that whether one practices or not, the Dharma will always be available. If you have that kind of notion, it is a very serious mistake. Any brief moment, any time at all that one could use as an opportunity for Dharma practice, one must use. If one does not take this responsibility and offer sincere respect to the Mahayana and Vajrayana teachings, there is a definite possibility of causing harm to oneself as well as to those spiritual friends to whom one is linked. A lack of attention to the responsibilities of the Mahayana path constitutes a breaking of the Samaya principles, therefore, in whatever way one can hold to the teachings, one must sincerely do so.If you think that the teaching is negligible, such a reality will manifest because of your attitude, to your great loss. The fact is that the teaching is very much hidden from you, so you cannot really make speculations about it. On the other hand, the validity of the teaching has been witnessed by its ageless effectiveness from the time of the Buddha to this day. This is something to dwell upon. You must sincerely realise the sacredness of the teachings, to the extent of understanding that there is actually nothing more important than the practice of the Dharma within this lifetime, and in lifetimes to come. In a simple mundane life situation, in the field of ‘business’ we know that the businessman develops a plan for a project, he knows what it will cost him, perhaps one million dollars, and every detail of the project is regarded with the utmost care. Absolute importance is attached to such a project in the business world, and a great deal of energy is put into bringing it to a successful conclusion. The point is if one is going to expend such effort for a result of such a temporary nature, why not put at least as much effort into a project that is going to cause one’s temporary as well as ultimate benefit? Whether you are receiving an empowerment or an explanation, if you are able to have or develop that sense of importance about the Dharma, then there is purpose in your relationship with the Mahayana teachings and there is going to be fulfillment, too. If there is a genuine commitment to the teaching, you will be able to develop direct and meaningful trust and confidence in the teachings and sincere compassion towards beings. A true understanding of the universality of the working of karma, the nature of cause and effect, will occur.The Bodhisattva’s aspiration and actions are powerful because from the very beginning when bodhisattva embarks on the journey of the bodhi path he aspires to work for the benefit and liberation of all sentient beings with a very determined, definite and powerful intention. Because of the sincere resolve that is within this aspiration, whatever actions need to be performed to benefit and liberate beings are performed with great power and tirelessness. Having undertaken such a profound journey by virtue of the aspiration to help beings, as the different stages of the Bodhisattva are experienced, one finds oneself increasingly capable of benefiting countless beings. That is how the Bodhisattva first treads upon the path.When the bodhisattvas work for the benefit of all beings with such appropriate aspirations and actions there is total fulfillment. The fulfillment appropriate in the sense that there is no selfishness involved in the way of expectations, doubts, hopes, attachment or aversion regarding gains and losses of any kind. The Bodhisattva is completely pure and spotless, working incessantly and wholeheartedly for the benefit of beings. Not for a moment is there any hesitation or doubt, as these obstacles have been transcended. The ways of a Bodhisattva are gentle, since all harmful actions and indulgences have been abandoned. Not only are harmful deeds themselves eliminated in a Bodhisattva’s life, but also the creation of causes of future harmful situations. Work is done solely for the benefit of other beings, not only in direct deeds, but in laying the foundations for future benefits to accrue. When these bodhisattvas initiate work, then, they are able to cause immeasurable benefit towards beings, and they do so manifesting fearless generosity without doubts or expectations, like the great Bodhisattva of Boundless Compassion, Avalokiteshvara, or the Bodhisattva of Boundless Power, Vajrapani, and so on.All who comprise the great assemblage of Bodhisattvas are equally powerful and equally beneficial to countless beings, so that all things seem to be at their command. Sometimes beautiful lotuses and lotus trees are caused by them to grow from the middle of the ocean, or a teardrop is transformed into an ocean. Everything in nature is at the Bodhisattva’s call. Fire can appear as water; water can appear as fire. It is all because of the strength of the Bodhisattva’s attitude, the aspiration and action. For us this says that the practice of compassion must be given full consideration and it must at all times be in our awareness and at all times performed.If one is going to attempt to do meditation, for example, on emptiness, Sunyata, one must never fail to relate to the enlightened objects of the Refuge on one hand, and to consistently generate genuine compassion towards beings on the other hand. The true nature of emptiness is compassion. Without the experience of the fullness of compassion, even if one claims to have realised emptiness, Sunyata, it does not have any significance.At this particular point you have the opportunity to receive the teachings. There are teachers, there are facilities. You have been receiving many levels of teachings, and it is important that you don’t miss the point in terms of putting into practice what is taught. It is absolutely important. I am emphasising today something you must have heard many times. And yet there is always the need for complete integration, for mindfulness and respect, for the treasuring of what one has understood, what one has received. There is the need of working towards the fulfillment of the teachings and the complete realisation of the meaning. And toward that end the most important factor, once again, is the practice of bodhicitta, the Enlightened Mind, by which you will gradually tread the Vajrayana path. At every turn bodhicitta is indispensable. Unless the profound techniques of the Vajrayana are being supported by bodhicitta one will not necessarily make meaningful realisations. So, you see, that everything is actually rooted in the practice of bodhicitta, and to pursue with sincerity whatever enhances and supports the practice of bodhicitta creates favorable situations for its development.An example of a means to develop bodhicitta is Pratimoksa. In the Pratimoksa tradition there are seven families or levels of Pratimoksa, or self-discipline. These are known as the precepts or vows. Refuge is the most important prerequisite to enter into the practice of discipline. After taking refuge, you take whatever other precepts you can. Keeping them strengthens your practice of bodhicitta, and enables you to tread on the path of Buddhadharma more simply, sincerely and sanely. The importance of the application of self-discipline, the precepts, must not be neglected. Strongly ingrained are the patterns of the three poisons: aggression, attachment and ignorance. If one is to uproot these patterns and to apply the proper antidote for these poisons, the practices of discipline as outlined in the Pratimoksa are necessary tools.Then we have the Mahayana principles. We must practice living the Mahayana ideals which we have been talking about: the development of the Enlightened Attitude, a concern for the benefit and liberation of all beings.From the material point of view this country is very rich, which means life is busier for everyone than in other places in the world, and people are occupied by all kinds of mundane demands. Because of the overwhelming material concerns that surround one, the speed of life activity increases. One busy situation leads to another, and on and on. You are constantly busy. The truth of cyclic existence is very well manifested in your lives. To remedy this state of affairs one first needs to calm down the mind. Do not be completely absorbed by your surroundings. Develop some degree of stillness. Cultivate simple control of mind, tranquility. At least some openness of the mind needs to be developed. No matter who you are, everyone needs first to relate to basic meditation practices, meditation practices that are specifically designed to bring about the calmness of the minds of beings who are occupied in such constant, busy involvement. This is the first step in the practice of the Dharma, the Dharma that is so very important for oneself and for others.If you could see and appreciate the truth of the Dharma, and in the light of that appreciation continue to practice, there is no doubt about your being of tremendous benefit to the people you encounter and to this country especially. There would be no doubt about your ability to save beings from countless problems and conflicts. So the practice of the Dharma must be taken very seriously and done very sincerely. It plays a crucial part in shaping of one’s life, and not this life alone but all lifetimes to come. If one is to have temporary as well as ultimate fulfillment of happiness, the incomparable and the only reliable connection is the practice of the Dharma. The notion of perception and perceiver has existed from beginningless time, and it is part of the pattern of clinging. From beginningless time our shortcoming has been to fall back into Samsara. In the past, in the future and in the present, the mind has been in many ways very playful. But where the true nature of the mind is concerned, neither the color nor the shape nor the location of the mind nor its consciousness can be pinpointed.The nature of mind goes beyond all such substantialities. This being so, in the meditation practice it is important neither to invite the future nor recollect the past, but to remain in the state of nowness. The nowness of the mind is the practice which should be developed by you all.
Enjoy this 55 minute interview with Bill Moyers and Pema Chodron entitled, "Faith & Reason"Pema Chödrön (born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown on July 14, 1936) is a notable American figure in Tibetan Buddhism. A disciple of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, she is an ordained nun, author, and acharya, senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage Trungpa founded.A prolific author, she has conducted workshops, seminars, and meditation retreats in Europe, Australia, and throughout North America.Video provided courtesy of PBS.Please visit the official PBS website at www.pbs.org
The Tibetan Book of the Dead remains an essential teaching in the Buddhist cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this enlightening two-part series explores the sacred text and boldly visualizes the afterlife according to its profound wisdom. Part 1: A Way of Life reveals the history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and examines its traditional use in northern India, as well as its acceptance in Western hospices.Shot over a four-month period, the film contains footage of the rites and liturgies for a deceased Ladakhi elder and includes an interview with the Dalai Lama, who shares his views on the book's meaning and importance. Part 2: The Great Liberation follows an old lama and his novice monk as they guide a Himalayan villager into the afterlife using readings from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The soul's 49-day journey towards rebirth is envisioned through actual photography of rarely seen Buddhist rituals, interwoven with groundbreaking animation by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ishu Patel.