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The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life

| 45 min

This two-part series explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was filmed over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas where the original text still yields an essential influence over people's views of life and death. A Way of Life contains footage of the rites and liturgies surrounding and following the death of a Ladakhi elder. The Dalai Lama explains his own feelings about death, while other scenes within a palliative care hospice in San Francisco depicts the use of the texts to counsel dying AIDS patients. This film, by revealing ancient teachings on how to think about death and dying, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.

  • music
    Toshiyuki Honda
  • camera
    Hideo Saito
  • editor
    Masaharu Yoshioka
    Judith Merritt
    David Verrall
  • sound effects
    Masayuki Onoe
  • re-recording
    Yoshinori Kawabata
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
  • video FX
    Masato Iizuka
  • project coordinator
    Toru Hirota
  • location coordinator
    Sonam Norboo
  • director
    Yukari Hayashi
    Barrie McLean
  • producer
    Atsunori Kawamura
    Barrie McLean
    David Verrall
  • narrator
    Leonard Cohen
  • consultant - narration
    Douglas Penick
  • video post-production
    Louis Girardin
  • studio administrator
    Carrol Smith
  • participation
    Dalai Lama
    Ram Dass
    Dale Borglum


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Ages 15 to 17

Ethics and Religious Culture - Religious Diversity/Heritage
Family Studies/Home Economics - Aging/Death and Dying
Health/Personal Development - Human Growth and Development
Social Studies - Comparative Civilizations

This marvellous film will lead to fascinating talks on a sensitive topic. What is death and how do we prepare for it? How do we view death in the Western world? Ask students to write their own Book of the Dead. What will they include in it? How do we understand the transition between life and death?

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Way of Life
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