Tibetan Book of the Dead - Final Review

I have written few lines about the aforementioned book when I started reading the book. I remember that I have promised all my readers that I will post final review of the book ones I complete reading it. Although my review of the book may not be that inspiring and motivating, I am pretty sure that ones you read the book, you will be overwhelmed with the writing styles of the author and the content of the book.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead written by Donald S. Lopez is about the text originally published in English by Walter Evans-Wentz in 1927. This book is one of its first kinds of groundbreaking work to bring the translations of the Tibetan-Buddhist text to the major English speaking public. In this little book Donald S. Lopez wonderfully narrates a story in the American perspectives. The story has been directly linked with the American Theosophy and spiritualism in the age of early twentieth century. The book offers a good introduction to the belief of the Tibetan Buddhist death- and rebirth-theory. 

The book has four geographically titled chapters in between the introduction and the conclusion: The first chapter is titled as America. In this chapter, the author introduces Walter Evans-Wentz from Trenton, New Jersey. He is the discoverer of The Tibetan Book of the Death and also the central character in the book. The author describes him to be an eccentric scholar and a spiritual seeker. Although Evans-Wentz has never been to Tibet and he doesn’t know the Tibetan Language, the central character in this book has crafted and named The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In this regard the Author argues Walter Evans-Wentz’s book to be much more American than Tibetan.

The second chapter titled as India provides an excellent summary of Indo-Tibetan concepts of the Death experience. The chapter also offers a nice summary of how the present deeds would determine the quality of the life and the place of rebirth after death. The chapter talks about the intermediate state between the death and the rebirth which is known as Bardo in Tibetan Language. 

Tibet is the title given to the third chapter. The chapter examines the evolution of the Tibetan mortuary texts which has finally resulted in the collection and that came to be edited as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Tibet became a place of prophecy as something was buried beneath a mountain by Guru Padmasambhava – to be unearthed by prophesied Buddhist master when the time is right. The chapter presents a summary of how Buddhism entered into Tibet. In this chapter, the author narrates a story of Karma Lingpa - a treasure discoverer and his death which presents an excellent example of life after death or the intermediate state- Bardo.

The last chapter before conclusion is titled as The World. Evans-Wentz acquisition of wide range of texts can be understood in this chapter. The chapter recounts the history of Buddhist texts through numerous interpretations and translations. Several Theosophical Societies and different religious figures met by the central character in this story are also given in this chapter. Finally Evans-Wentz understands that the Bardo Todol is The Tibetan Book of the Dead. 

Lopez in this book has provided a very good introduction into the history of Buddhism.  In particular he has provided good concepts of death, rebirth, and enlightenment. And it gives a good time to rethink about our present deeds which acts as a gateway to the next life. For the Buddhist, the book can be an excellent guide which may help to find a better path after the death. 

Our life is always a sense of uncertainty and our fear of dead can certainly be one of the reasons for the book of this kind to be famous. The book has become one of the best-known works of Tibetan literature in the West and I feel the book is very much relevant for the Bhutanese- Buddhist to read it as well. The book will surely mystify and inspire readers from all walks of life for centuries to come. 

Hope all will enjoy reading the book!

Urgent need of a temporary bridge across a river near India House - Woodcraft Centre

It was a good news about the construction of two bridges across two streams in Dechencholing and Langjophakha. We proudly claimed that two bridges will be built by the locals. It gave us a chance to gain full trust and confidence in our own work force. However, it has not been so good that followed. I have not been able to visit the bridge construction in Dechencholing but have been able to see every developmental changes in  Langjophakha. The consecrations and the dismantling of the bridge was so fast that it has been done so early before even the raw materials for the constructions have reached.

Courtesy: www.reusableart.com
It's known for all that there are four offices that is near the bridge - National Statistics Bureau, Wood Craft Centre, Bhutan Archery Federation and the Centre for Bhutan Studies. The news of the construction of new bridge has overwhelmed the civil servants and the localities in these offices. It has created lots of inconveniences for so many employees who goes to office to serve the country in their own capabilities. Although the construction team has arranged/piled stones in the river to be used as a footpath. It may serve the purpose during the sunny day. However, it's very risky during the rainy seasons when the rivers get enlarged. I have seen youngsters crossing river and sometimes getting wet when they fall down in the river, esp. girls working in the Wood Craft Center, Bhutan Archery Federation and Nima High School.

Civil Servants living in Jungshina, Pamtsho, Hejo, Baybayna, etc (other side of the river) and working in the offices like CBS, Wood Craft Centre and BAF has to come to office via town, Langjophakha and to their office and vise versa. It won't create much inconveniences for those who could afford to hire taxi or own vehicle to reach their offices. However, it will create so many inconveniences for those who could not afford and doesn't own a car. 

For the benefit of all living in these areas, I have requested the concerned officials to build a temporary bridge/way to cross the river. However, my post here is not meant to blame anyone, but to request for the aforementioned bridge-where they can walk over, for the beneficial of all (just temporary one). It will benefit mostly the ones with low income who could not afford to hire a car to reach their offices. I have foreseen some mishaps while crossing the river with the existing risky footpath.

This is just a call and request for the concerned officials to kindly look into the inconveniences and to kindly find the alternative to solve the issue. I feel that it will immensely benefit and help those residing and working in those areas.
Posted on 11:58 PM | Categories:

My Journey towards Independence

Life is not always easy. It is covered with enjoyments, challenges, hardships, etc. Nevertheless, I always had determination to face anything that comes along the journey of my life. I conquered every little challenges that obstructed my way. I have learned to be independent in terms of my stay away from my parents and relatives since my primary school days. I had to learn every nitty-gritty things required in a boarding school. Everyday was a new challenge for me to work without the help of my parents and siblings.

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Being from a very remote place and from a economically disadvantaged family backgrounds, I had to work in some temporary jobs during my vacations. The works included ground cutting in the schools, working in construction sites, village household works which would hardly fetch an amount of Nu. 100 a day. I had to strive to become independent in terms of financial requirements for my schooling days. However, my results were worth struggling as I had always performed the best in my studies.

During the stay in my college days, I have many more things that I have learned towards the journey of independence. The public relations with the people, the self-leadership, managerial management, self motivation, problem solving skills and time management are some of the examples that are included in the list. These are very important in my life they liberated towards becoming independent in my life.

The more challenging task came towards becoming independence. I have got a placement as one of the civil servants in the Royal Government of Bhutan. I have the most important and urgent task set before me to serve my King, country and people. I am destined to serve my country with true loyalty and dedication.

However, to serve my country with my full potential, it's very important for me to become myself independent. I have officially wedded on the  3rd April, 2014. I have acquired MC (Marriage Certificate) from Thimphu District court. Till then I have become mentally and biologically independent. Then my urge to stay independently in separate apartment was my hope. Finally I have got new apartment and have become a new tenant following the most debated Tenancy Act of the country. However, acquiring a new apartment and getting into a new home is not an easy thing. I had to pay two months advance which amounted to my monthly salary. Buying even small requirements for a new home was too tough. Nevertheless, I have enjoyed the hardships that came along the journey of my life in pursuing my independence. I have now become more or less able to stay on my own and I now hope to help my parents and siblings who have also suffered equally in the course of my journey. I would also not to forget to be in touch with my friends who have also helped in every need.

  

Tibetan Book of the Dead

I have not been able to read books especially novels in my entire life. I have read just two novels successfully - Dawa koto in class nine and the Life of Lious Lowry (Jonas) in class ten. Sometimes I feel ashamed to say that I just have read two novels in my entire journey of academics. However, I can proudly raise my voice as I have read several non-fictions books like - motivation books, leadership books, management books and religious books which I felt are more important to curve our live in a better way. Nevertheless, I am happy that I got a aforementioned titled book for me to read. I know it will take me several days to complete before I could write a review about it, I am very eager to read a book of such kind being a Buddhist.

Before going through a single page of a book, I was eager to know few details about it whereby I browsed some information in the Youtube. I found some visual reviews about the book. I have thoroughly watched it and got really motivated and inspired to read the full details of the book. I could little understand that the book is more or less about the direction or way it will show us to our soul after our death. The Tibetan word for it can be Bardo Thoedroel which literally means Liberation on Hearing in the intermediate state. I have also learnt that it will be very much academic writing that the book will guide us in our after life.

It might be very challenging for me to really understand the true depth of the book, however I will put my true hard work and sincerity to read it until I could discover some facts and information related to after life. It may also help me to understand the concept of reincarnations and the beliefs of Bardo (intermediate state). 

I have seen and learned that there are several editions and volumes regarding the aforementioned book. I am reading one authored by Donald S. Lopez, Jr. I would urge all of my readers and friends to read the book as well. I would be happy to share my review of the book ones I complete reading it.  

Is tuition really needed for students?

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The aforementioned title is really a debatable issue and an issue that really needs an attention from the concerned authorities. I have been thinking and analyzing about the issue for so long. I could find both advantages and disadvantages from such practice. The society will be divided into sections who feel the good and bad about the issue. Nevertheless, this type of trend has become really rampant in Thimphu city.

Tuition is a good practice to guide the students to sharpen their saw, so that they can brighten their future.  However, I feel that the trend is decreasing the quality of education in the schools other than the benefits gained from tuition. Recently, I met with some students who were going for their tuition classes. I always had keen interest to interact with the young friends, so I asked them the reasons for going for tuition classes.

Half of the group argued me that; they are going for tuition classes because of the influence of their parents and relatives. The parents and the relatives of the student wanted the student to perform better in their studies whereby he/she can lead a better their lives better. In this case, I have no any arguments as I feel that parents care and love their students. No matter what the student feels, he/she will be able to grasp something.

However, another half told me that; they have no any other option as they will be equally competing with thousands of students in the country. They said that their teachers don't teach them well in the classes. They said their teachers are taking the tuition classes whereby they teach extremely well. I was shocked to learn these things from the students. However, this is not to insult and go against the teachers who are taking tuition classes and helping the students.

I was worried and had to think about the issue. I also discussed with my friends with the issue. My friends were surprised too about the issue and the trends of tuition in the country. They said me that the tuition has been banned in the country. However, the tuition business has been operating in the country for years. If the latter  is true and the truth lies in the comments of the students I met, I feel that the issue must be given attention. It is wrong on my part to base my understanding of the issue on the few groups of students I met. Nevertheless, I feel its the issue that must be given better attention than at present.

If the truth of such tuition practices lies in the say of my second group of students I feel there is strong and urgent need to be looked upon by the Ministry of Education and the concerned authorities. The Ministry must either ban the tuition classes or concentrate on the quality of education in the class room itself. In the other sense the teacher who takes the class of that particular student in the day time must not take tuition for that student in the evening. The other option may be to ban the tuition classes for the teachers and if need be let others who have the potential to guide take the chance. In this manner, I feel that the market will not get distorted. In the current trend of such practice, the families who could afford may not feel any pinch; however the poorer sections find very difficult and  challenging to meet the expectations of their students.

The post here as I said earlier is what I vividly feel and got some information from my young friend who go to the tuition classes. the post is not meant to complain anyone.