Death and Reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism: In-Between by Tanya Zivkovic

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By Tanya Zivkovic

Contextualising the likely esoteric and unique features of Tibetan Buddhist tradition in the daily, embodied and sensual sphere of non secular praxis, this e-book centres at the social and spiritual lives of deceased Tibetan Buddhist lamas. It explores how posterior types – corpses, relics, reincarnations and hagiographical representations – expand a lama’s trajectory of lives and control organic imperatives of delivery and death.

The e-book seems to be heavily at formerly unexamined figures whose heritage is appropriate to a greater figuring out of the way Tibetan tradition navigates its personal knowing of reincarnation, the veneration of relics and diversified social roles of other sorts of practitioners. It analyses either the trivialities of daily interrelations among lamas and their devotees, particularly famous in ritual performances and the enactment of lived culture, and the sacred hagiographical conventions that underpin neighborhood knowledge.

A phenomenology of Tibetan Buddhist existence, the publication offers an ethnography of the typical embodiment of Tibetan Buddhism. This strange method deals a beneficial and a real new point of view on Tibetan Buddhist tradition and is of curiosity to researchers within the fields of social/cultural anthropology and religious, Buddhist and Tibetan studies.

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Extra resources for Death and Reincarnation in Tibetan Buddhism: In-Between Bodies

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These visual displays of altered atmospheric phenomena were interpreted as concurrent with the lama and they signified his reincarnation, further extending a presence beyond death. In the above accounts, the transmogrifications of Khenchen Sangay Tenzin were evocative of the signs of saintly death represented in scripture. ‘Signs’ included the appearance of images produced in bones remaining in the funeral pyre, the formation of crystalline spheres, as well as the production of altered atmospheric conditions in the form of rainbows, three of the major classifications Martin (1994: 281–2) described in his citation of the Blazing Remains tantra.

He said we know this to be true because we can see that when an animal is slaughtered but before it is completely dead it moves around. The body shakes a bit. It is not dead straight away. Humans too – we do not die straight away. One mind leaves, then another mind leaves. It is like this. But the masters of tantra keep some of their mind inside their body. They can do this. We walk for a while in silence before he recalled: In the monastery we did not notice it. But some of the lay-people in Darjeeling saw the sky become rainbows like flowers again.

Different lineages and their corresponding scriptural bases posit different views and practices that are geared towards an understanding the role of mind and body in the process of death and these ideas do not often filter down to the practising laity in any coherent, organized way. Nonetheless, in a general sense it can be said that the Tibetan Buddhist tantras communicate a course, subtle and very subtle body and mind (Lati Rinbochay and Hopkins 1979: 31). Though mind and body are at some level separate, connections between mind and body are expressed, articulated and authenticated in scholarly textual tantric tradition, with elaborate physiological understandings forming the basis of an extensive Tibetan medical system.

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