This book gives you a spirutal, personal and intimate understanding of death and dying. More than that, it compels you to stop and take a deep and serious look at your own life and your own death. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying helps to alievate your own fear of dying and helps you take the responsibility to prepare for your death. At the same time, it gently helps you prepare yourself for the death and dying of a loved one. The teachings and personal experiences of Sogyal are simple to understand and intrepret and incorporate into your personal life. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for every introspective person as well as for those facing the death of a loved one.
After reading other reviews, I feel it might help to say this:
Yes, there is quite a substantial amount of Tibetan ritual encased in this book. But that shouldn't be a surprise, or a hindrance - it IS the "TIBETAN Book of Living and Dying", and not the "Generically Believable For Everyone, Book of Living And Dying".
With that in mind, I loved reading this book. From the first page, I was drawn into a world where compassion and mindfulness reign, and it's these tools that will help us face the inevitable truth that we *are* all going to die, at some point.
Rinpoche skillfully shares his own wisdom, that of many other masters, and anecdotal evidence of what may happen when we physically die, and the stages we may go through during the process.
Topics discussed include the Bardo states, reincarnation, the concept of karma, and fear of the unknown. The book is very readable, and covers the material therein with sensitivity and warmth. At times, it may be difficult to the average Western mind to grasp the concepts of such things are reincarnation - but as Buddha himself did advise, the goal is to read, absorb and take what YOU find important from the lesson...not to read blindly and accept everything blindly.
To anyone even vaguely interested in Buddhism, death and dying or simply becoming more aware of their own self, this book is an invaluable addition to your library.
Truly a classic.