Travels in the Netherworld

Travels in the Netherworld : Buddist Popular Narratives of Death and the Afterlife in Tibet

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Description

In Travels in the Netherworld, Bryan J. Cuevas examines a fascinating but little-known genre of Tibetan narrative literature about the delok, ordinary men and women who claim to have died, traveled through hell, and then returned from the dead. Providing a clear, detailed analysis of four vivid return-from-death tales, including the story of a Tibetan housewife, a lama, a young noble woman, and a Buddhist monk, Cuevas argues that these narratives express ideas about death and the afterlife that held wide currency among all classes of faithful Buddhists in Tibet, from the most sophisticated of scholars in the monasteries and hermits isolated in caves to the pious townsfolk, villagers, and nomads. Relying on a diversity of traditional Tibetan sources, Buddhist canonical scriptures, scholastic textbooks, ritual and meditation manuals, and medical treatises, in addition to the delok works themselves, Cuevas surveys a broad range of popular Tibetan Buddhist ideas about death and dying, including beshow more

Product details

  • Hardback | 216 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 20.32mm | 430.91g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195341163
  • 9780195341164
  • 2,077,798

Review quote

"Travels in the Netherworld is well researched, a pleasure to read, and relevant to the interests of students, scholars, and general readers concerned with Tibetan civilization, Buddhist studies, near-death experiences, and the literary depiction of death and post-mortem itineraries. Bryan Cuevas's new book is a noteworthy addition to our knowledge of the rich Tibetan heritage of traditions exploring the life beyond." --Matthew T. Kapstein, The University of Chicago and the cole Pratique des Hautes tudes (Paris)"The narratives explored in Travels in the Netherworld have been shared by clerics and laity alike for centuries. In this book, Cuevas convincingly demonstrates that stories of death and return were created, told, and retold by women, men, monks, aristocrats, and commoners. Perhaps more than any other form of Buddhist literature, these stories evoke Tibetan concerns about virtue, vice, life, and death in a world defined by uncertainty -- all portrayed through the dram "Travels in the Netherworld is well researched, a pleasure to read, and relevant to the interests of students, scholars, and general readers concerned with Tibetan civilization, Buddhist studies, near-death experiences, and the literary depiction of death and post-mortem itineraries. Bryan Cuevas's new book is a noteworthy addition to our knowledge of the rich Tibetan heritage of traditions exploring the life beyond." --Matthew T. Kapstein, The University of Chicago and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris) "The narratives explored in Travels in the Netherworld have been shared by clerics and laity alike for centuries. In this book, Cuevas convincingly demonstrates that stories of death and return were created, told, and retold by women, men, monks, aristocrats, and commoners. Perhaps more than any other form of Buddhist literature, these stories evoke Tibetan concerns about virtue, vice, life, and death in a world defined by uncertainty -- all portrayed through the drama of compelling personal narratives. Cuevas has ensured that the tales of Tibetan revenants will enjoy a long life among contemporary readers, and that such tales must be a central literary source for our ever-evolving appreciation of Buddhism as a living religion. It is sure to revive the study of death in Tibet." --Kurtis R. Schaeffer, author of Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of the Buddhist Poet-Saint Saraha "Just as the Tibetan spirit mediums described in this book return from the dead and entertain the living with stories of their adventures in the other world, so too the author, Bryan Cuevas, breathes new life into Tibetan concepts of the afterlife. The author's fascinating storycasts important new light on a side of Buddhism usually kept in the dark: moral teachings on karmic causation, the daily concerns of common people, the layout of the other world, and the workings of religious narratives. Anyone interested in near-death experience will want to read this lively and provocative book." --Stephen F. Teiser, author of Reinventing the Wheel: Paintings of Rebirth in Medieval Buddhist Temples "Travels in the Netherworld is well researched, a pleasure to read, and relevant to the interests of students, scholars, and general readers concerned with Tibetan civilization, Buddhist studies, near-death experiences, and the literary depiction of death and post-mortem itineraries. Bryan Cuevas'snew book is a noteworthy addition to our knowledge of the rich Tibetan heritage of traditions exploring the life beyond." --Matthew T. Kapstein, The University of Chicago and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (Paris)"The narratives explored in Travels in the Netherworld have been shared by clerics and laity alike for centuries. In this book, Cuevas convincingly demonstrates that stories of death and return were created, told, and retold by women, men, monks, aristocrats, and commoners. Perhaps more than anyother form of Buddhist literature, these stories evoke Tibetan concerns about virtue, vice, life, and death in a world defined by uncertainty -- all portrayed through the drama of compelling personal narratives. Cuevas has ensured that the tales of Tibetan revenants will enjoy a long life amongcontemporary readers, and that such tales must be a central literary source for our ever-evolving appreciation of Buddhism as a living religion. It is sure to revive the study of death in Tibet." --Kurtis R. Schaeffer, author of Dreaming the Great Brahmin: Tibetan Traditions of the BuddhistPoet-Saint Saraha"Just as the Tibetan spirit mediums described in this book return from the dead and entertain the living with stories of their adventures in the other world, so too the author, Bryan Cuevas, breathes new life into Tibetan concepts of the afterlife. The author'sfascinating story casts important newlight on a side of Buddhism usually kept in the dark: moral teachings on karmic causation, the daily concerns of common people, the layout of the other world, and the workings of religious narratives. Anyone interested in near-death experience will want to read this lively and provocative book."--Stephen F. Teiser, author of Reinventing the Wheel: Paintings of Rebirth in Medieval Buddhist Templesshow more

About Bryan J. Cuevas

Associate Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies, Florida State Universityshow more

Table of contents

1. To Hell and Back ; 2. Travels of a Tibetan Housewife ; 3. A Lama in Distress ; 4. The Return of a Noble Young Lady ; 5. A Ghost in Monk's Robes ; 6. Storytellersshow more

Rating details

5 ratings
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4 40% (2)
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