In his 1915 essay, “Thoughts for the Times on War and Death,” Sigmund Freud wrote, “It is indeed impossible to imagine our own death; and whenever we attempt to do so we can perceive that we are in fact still present as spectators.” Four years later, the American Theosophist Walter Evans-Wentz, traveling in the Himalayas, chanced upon a Tibetan text and asked the English teacher of the Maharaja’s Boarding School for boys in Gangtok, Sikkim to translate it for him. What is known in the West as The Tibetan Book of the Dead is the product of their collaboration.Read the rest of The evolution of a text.
Donald S. Lopez, Jr.
Donald S. Lopez, Jr. is the Arthur E. Link Distinguished University Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan, where he also serves as chair of the Michigan Society of Fellows. His book Buddhism and Science: A Guide for the Perplexed was recently published by the University of Chicago Press.
Posts by Donald S. Lopez, Jr.:
On Sunday May 25, 2008 the New York Times published an article entitled “Superhighway to Bliss” about Jill Bolte Taylor, a neuroscientist who suffered a stroke in 1996. After she regained the ability to speak, she described the experience as “nirvana.” Neuropathology as religious experience is nothing new, yet the next day, the piece was number one on the Times list of most e-mailed articles. In the Science Times section of the paper the following Tuesday, there was an article entitled “Lotus Therapy,” on the growing use of the meditation cushion to treat problems previously consigned to the analyst’s couch. The next day, “Lotus Therapy” had taken over the top spot as the most e-mailed article. Clearly, something is going on. But that had become clear two weeks earlier when the conservative commentator David Brooks entitled his May 13 op-ed piece, “The Neural Buddhists.” […]Read the rest of The Buddha according to Brooks.