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Film Notes--the Great Liberation.docx

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Department
Religious Studies
Course Code
RELIGST 2M03
Professor
Sherry Smith

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Film Notes: “Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Great Liberation” (NFB, 1994, 45 min.),
narrated by Leonard Cohen
“When you are born you cry, but the whole world is overjoyed. When you die the world cries,
but you may find the great liberation.”
Documentary film follows a Tibetan Buddhist Lama (senior monk) named Pema Choden, and a
13 year old novice monk as they attend the dying and death of a 42-yr old man in Ladakh.
Soon we will all die. Our hopes and fears will be irrelevant.
Our greatest fear is death and we make every effort to ignore it.
We are like bees buzzing and searching with nowhere to rest.
Compassion…
[remarks on Buddhism…]
Bardo Thodol read aloud to guide a dying person, for 49 days…
Bardos—transition states
It is particularly hard to let go of attachments to the world when one dies at a younger (than
usual) age
Crying confuses the dying person
One must help the dying person’s mind to become clear
Lie the dying/dead person on the right side, as the Buddha lay on his right side
The dying are particularly sensitive to sound, so the dying can hear the recitation of the text
Earthwaterfireairconsciousness… then experience of piercing luminosity, boundless… free
from shadows of life and death; all space dissolved into pure light
To recognize this is all that is necessary, it is your own nature
If the person does not recognize his true nature, the mind will rise before one in unfamiliar ways
Experience now takes shape out of random imagery from his former life; sorrow strikes his
heart; he sees his body, dead; sees his family grieving—“go forward, do not cling to the past” the
lama urges the dead man
Teaching of impermanence
Here is the bardo of existence…During our lifetime

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Description
Film Notes: “Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Great Liberation” (NFB, 1994, 45 min.), narrated by Leonard Cohen “When you are born you cry, but the whole world is overjoyed. When you die the world cries, but you may find the great liberation.” Documentary film follows a Tibetan Buddhist Lama (senior monk) named Pema Choden, and a 13 year old novice monk as they attend the dying and death of a 42-yr old man in Ladakh. Soon we will all die. Our hopes and fears will be irrelevant. Our greatest fear is death and we make every effort to ignore it. We are like bees buzzing and searching with nowhere to rest. Compassion… [remarks on Buddhism…] Bardo Thodol read aloud to guide a dying person, for 49 days… Bardos—transition states It is particularly hard to let go of attachments to the world when one dies at a younger (than usual) age Crying confuses the dying person One must help the dying person’s mind to become clear Lie the dying/dead person on the right side, as the Buddha lay on his right side The dying are particularly sensitive to sound, so the dying can hear the recitation of the text Earthwaterfireairconsciousness… then experience of piercing luminosity, boundless… free from shadows of life and death; all space dissolved into pure light To recognize this is all that is necessary, it is your own nature If the person does n
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