The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a best-seller for three decades, is one of the most widely read texts of Tibetan Buddhism. Over the years, it has been studied and cherished by Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike. Luminous Emptiness is a detailed guide to this classic work, elucidating its mysterious concepts, terms, and imagery. Fremantle relates the symbolic world of the Tibetan Book of the Dead to the experiences of everyday life, presenting the text not as a scripture for the dying, but as a guide for the living.
According to the Buddhist view, nothing is permanent or fixed. The entire world of our experience is constantly appearing and disappearing at every moment. Using vivid and dramatic imagery, the Tibetan Book of the Dead presents the notion that most of us are living in a dream that will continue from lifetime to lifetime until we truly awaken by becoming enlightened. Here, Fremantle, who worked closely with Chögyam Trungpa on the 1975 translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Shambhala), brings the expertise of a lifetime of study to rendering this intriguing classic more accessible and meaningful to the living.
Luminous Emptiness features in-depth explanations of:
- The Tibetan Buddhist notions of death and rebirth
- The meaning of the five energies and the five elements in Tibetan Buddhism
- The mental and physical experience of dying, according to the Tibetan Buddhist tradition
"A deeply heartfelt guide to spiritual fulfillment through Buddhism, Luminous Emptiness provides interested seekers with a journey through the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and Fremantle is an expert guide."—Los Angeles Times
"A scholar in Sanskrit and Tibetan, Fremantle is more than qualified to write this guide; she collaborated with renowned meditation master and scholar Chögyam Trungpa on a well-received translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead in 1975. Nothing less than a careful explanation of the world and the ideas that surround that text, this new work is an excellent and plainly written manual to the complex mythologies, symbols, philosophies, and doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism. The West could hardly ask for a better primer. Highly recommended."—Library Journal
"In Luminous Emptiness, Francesca Fremantle provides a commentary on the Tibetan Book of the Dead that integrates its teachings with both the central topics of the Buddhist canon and with the ongoing experiences of our lives. Her illuminating exposition of the inner meanings and relevance of the text's tantric symbolism reflects many years of study, contemplation and practice. Luminous Emptiness is valuable in making the root text more meaningful and suggestive. It succeeds in enlivening our appreciation of the immense possibilities which we are offered now, moment to moment."—Shambhala Sun
"This is the most lucid and comprehensive exposition of the Tibetan Book of the Dead to appear in English. It illuminates the esoteric path and reveals the way to heal life's miseries—the projection of our minds."—Tulku Thondup, author of the Healing Power of Mind and Boundless Healing