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The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation

The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a two-part series that 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. The Great Liberation, is a docudrama which, in the company of an old Buddhist lama and a 13-year-old novice monk, leads us into the very foundations of Buddhist philosophy--the search for compassion and truth. Pema Choden, the lama, and Tubten, the young monk, read from the texts of The Tibetan Book of the Dead as they conduct the 49 days of final rites for a deceased Himalayan villager. We must all face the death of somebody we love, as well as our own death. This film helps us to prepare for these inevitabilities.

  • script
    Shinichi Nakazawa
  • music
    Toshiyuki Honda
  • camera
    Hideo Saito
    Shuji Kawashita
  • editor
    Mitsunori Morimoto
    Judith Merritt
    David Verrall
  • sound effects
    Masayuki Onoe
  • video FX
    Masato Iizuka
  • re-recording
    Yoshinori Kawabata
    Jean-Pierre Joutel
  • project coordinator
    Toru Hirota
  • location coordinator
    Sonam Norboo
  • director
    Hiroaki Mori
    Yukari Hayashi
    Barrie McLean
  • producer
    Atsunori Kawamura
    Naoyuki Kibe
    Barrie McLean
    David Verrall
  • electronic imaging
    Eve Ramboz
  • narrator
    Leonard Cohen
  • consultant - narration
    Douglas Penick
  • animation
    Ishu Patel
  • video post-production
    Louis Girardin
    Michel Arsenault
  • studio administrator
    Carrol Smith


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Ages 15 to 17

Ethics and Religious Culture - Ethical Values
Family Studies/Home Economics - Feminism
History and Citizenship Education - Culture and Currents of Thought (1500-present)

Students will research the historical origins of Buddhism, as well as its spread and influence throughout Asia, and beyond. Advanced students can investigate the role of Buddhism in the modern world of developing economies, or the growing popularity of Buddhism in the West. Students of religious studies will do a comparative analysis of Buddhist philosophy and another religion. Integrating art and geography, students will research a famous Buddhist temple or monument and do an oral presentation with maps and other visual supports.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation
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