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Self Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness
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Self Liberation Through Seeing with Naked Awareness
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Is there a life beyond death? The ultimate fact of death faces every human being. Whatever is born will eventually die. All things are impermanent-- This truth was taught by all the Buddhas. But the death of the physical body is not the end of our conscious existence. Death is only a gateway, a stage in our transformation along the way. The energy of karma propels our consciousness into a new embodiment, a new life, in which we experience the consequences of the deeds committed in our previous lives. These actions in past life times not only determine our future rebirths, but directly effect our health and emotional state in this present life. But the Buddhas have also taught a way to free ourselves from the dead-weight of past karma and transcend the beginning-less cycle of death and rebirth called Samsara.

The highest and most quintessential teaching in the Buddhist tradition of Tibet, known as Dzogchen or "the Great Perfection," reveals, by way of a direct introduction, the Primordial State of Buddhahood residing at the core of each individual human being. This state, which is, at the same time, the Nature of Mind, lies beyond the mind and its thought process-- indeed, beyond all time, all conditioning, and all causality. Like the sun in the sky, but with its face concealed by the clouds, it is primordially present, illuminating all our successive life times as the very source of our being. It is cannot developed through effort or study, but it can be discovered effortlessly and naturely in the practice of contemplation in all its primordial purity and spontaneous perfection.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or Kar-gling zhi-khro, discovered by Karma Lingpa in Southern Tibet in the 14th century, was one of the most important cycle of texts to come out of the Dzogchen tradition of Tibet established in ancient times by Guru Padmasambhava among both the Nyingmapa Buddhists and the Bonpos. "Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness" (Rig-pa ngo-sprod gcer-mthong rang-grol) is the central meditation text of this famous Tibetan Book of the Dead cycle and is said to have been composed by Padmasambhava himself. It is usually known in the West as The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, the title given to it by W.Y. Evans-Wentz (1954). This profound text presents the instructions for the method of Self-Liberation (rang-grol) that represent the very essence of Dzogchen, "the Great Perfection," which is traditionally regarded in Tibet as the highest and most esoteric teaching of the Buddha. Directly introducing the practitioner of meditation to the Natural State of the Nature of Mind (sems-nyid gnas-lugs), which is the contemplative state of pure awareness or Rigpa lying beyond the mind and its mundane operations that constitute Samsara, this quintessential teaching of the great master Guru Padmasambhava opens up the possibility to the individual of the realization of freedom and enlightenment within a single life time.

This second edition presents a new translation of the Tibetan text, a commentary on the text by the translator based on the oral teachings of Lama Tharchin and Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, and an appendix that critically examines the original translation of Evans-Wentz and his erroneous notion of "the One Mind," as well as C.G. Jung's commentary on the latter, where he mistakenly equated it with the collective unconscious psyche.