The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Directed by Barrie McLean

Year: 1994
Running Time: 90
Color Type: Color
Aspect Ratio: 1.33: 1
Country: Canada
Language: English
Booking Inquiry Shop Home Video

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Dalai Lama
Ram Dass

Editor Leonard Cohen
Directed by Barrie McLean

Death is real, it comes without warning and it cannot be escaped. An ancient source of strength and guidance, The Tibetan Book of the Dead remains an essential teaching originating in the spiritual cultures of the Himalayas. Narrated by Leonard Cohen, this enlightening two-part series explores the sacred text and boldly visualizes the afterlife according to its profound wisdom.

Part 1: A Way of Life reveals the history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and examines its traditional use in northern India, as well as its acceptance in Western hospices. Shot over a four-month period, the film contains footage of the rites and liturgies for a deceased Ladakhi elder and includes an interview with the Dalai Lama, who shares his views on the book's meaning and importance.

Part 2: The Great Liberation follows an old lama and his novice monk as they guide a Himalayan villager into the afterlife using readings from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The soul's 49-day journey towards rebirth is envisioned through actual photography of rarely seen Buddhist rituals, interwoven with groundbreaking animation by internationally acclaimed filmmaker Ishu Patel.


"Leonard Cohen's narration, it must be said straight off, was perfect. No one else could have succeeded so brilliantly at calmly and richly presenting this series."
- Canadian Content

"The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a marvelous documentary creation. It is excellently written, and Leonard Cohen's narration suits the theme beautifully. The cinematography is breathtaking: snow-capped, mighty mountains pinpricked by isolated towns provide suitable images of insignificant humanity in a vast, lonely, and hostile universe. Yet this view is juxtaposed with a sensitive portrayal of Tibetan Buddhism's central tenet: To seek truth and practice compassion is the meaning and purpose of life. The characters of the lamas - filled with joy and compassion - imbue the film with the light of their eternal hopes for the world. This is a film that demands multiple viewing. Highly recommended."
- CM Magazine

Interested in bringing The Tibetan Book of the Dead to your school or library? If you'd like to have an in-class viewing, on-campus screening, or purchase the DVD for your library's collection, please contact Estelle Grosso at or call (212) 629-6880 with your request.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead may also be available with Public Performance Rights (PPR) and Digital Site Licensing (DSL) for colleges and universities. To purchase the DVD with PPR or DSL, please contact Estelle Grosso at or call (212) 629-6880. Click here to learn more at Kino Lorber Edu.

To read more about Kino Lorber Edu's terms of use and ordering information, visit Kino Lorber Edu.

Join the conversation
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 23 2018 at 2:45pm
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with' @BillMoyers' is one of the top nonfiction TV series on' @iTunes' right now.…''
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 23 2018 at 2:34pm
RT' @TambayObenson': Check out the new trailer + vivid posters for Bill Gunn's Rarely-Screened Meta-Soap Opera 'Personal Problems,' Restored…
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 23 2018 at 12:54pm
"Teem[s] with the gritty details of emotional life: romance and chores, hope and despair and loss, bitter resentmen…''
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 23 2018 at 12:49pm
RT' @Lilfilm': Gabe Klinger’s feature debut is absolutely beautiful. Gorgeous 35, 16 and even Super 8 shot by Wyatt Garfield. Nonlinear story…
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 23 2018 at 12:35pm
Head to' @tabletmag' to check out the trailer for HITLER'S HOLLYWOOD, a documentary about German cinema under the Thi…''
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 22 2018 at 5:38pm
RT' @THR': Exclusive:' @Miss_GraceJones' to headline' @NYTimes'' inaugural TimesTalks festival''''
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 22 2018 at 5:37pm
RT' @RollingStone': See the compelling new 'Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami' documentary trailer'''…'
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 22 2018 at 5:30pm
RT' @1WUTI': Tomorrow we will be talking live to director RACHEL ISRAEL about her fantastic debut feature KEEP THE CHANGE on Instagram live a…
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 22 2018 at 5:29pm
RT' @ktcfilm': KEEP THE CHANGE opens tomorrow at' @RoxieTheater' in San Francisco,' @TheAvalonDC' in Washington DC,' @musicboxtheatre' in Chicago,…
'@KinoLorber' on Mar. 22 2018 at 5:28pm
RT' @blackfilm': New Trailer To Pop Culture Mega-Icon Grace Jones: Bloodlight And Bami, In Theaters April 13 from' @KinoLorber' -…
Tweet Now!

Inquiries & Press

General Inquiries

Kino Lorber, Inc.
333 W. 39th St., Ste. 503
New York, NY 10018
Tel. (212) 629-6880
Tel. (800) 562-3330
Fax. (212) 714-0871

Press & Media

For publicity assistance and press inquiries please contact us by emailing or calling 212-629-6880.


Please visit our educational site at

For assistance with educational orders, please contact us at:

Fax: 212-714-0871