This was my first exposure to the Tibetan book of the Dead. Basically this book is an instuctional guide for traveling thru the Bardo; the period or place in which we find ourselves after death, and before incarnating into our next life or form. The book gives a very detailed description of the deities and phenomena one can expect to encounter in the Bardo, and the actions one must take to facilitate an optimal incarnation. It also instructs on the practices that we should engage in while living, to prepare for the Bardo, and therefor have the best out come of that experience. In addition, this is a guide for facilitating and guiding another person thru death and the Bardo. This is a straight forward reading of the book by Gere, it is clear and easy to understand. He is easy to listen to. The descriptions of the various dieties get a bit long winded as he decribes at least a hundred of them. Some of it is gruesome and down right scarey sounding. But the basic thing to remember is, that it is all emenating from our own mind, and not to be overcome by fear. Exposure to this information, practice and meditation on these deities can help prepare us for this experience. Apparently, if we take the correct actions (or non actions) in the bardo, we may not have to continue in samsara but can go directly to the Buddha state, or at least an incarnation in one of the more pleasant realms. I am fairly new to Tibetan Buddhism, so my interpretations of what I heard may not be a perfect reflection of the actual teachings. But that is how I heard it.
Sadly, even amongst some practitioners of other sects and traditions of Buddhism not much is known about the mythology and philosophy of many of the sects and lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. The Venerable Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche released many of the teachings of the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions of Buddhism (into which he had been trained and initiated) to the general public and as a result provided a wonderful source of information to the student, practitioner, and teacher of Buddhism.