The two authors of this book make a good team. Venerable Lama Lhanang Rinpoche was born in Tibet and is a teacher of Vajrayana Buddhism of the Nyingma lineage; he currently directs a center for Tibetan spirituality and study in San Diego. Mordy Levine, born and educated in the west, is the president of that same center in San Diego, has an MBA, and is a prolific meditation teacher specializing in applying meditative techniques to solving everyday problems of the human condition.

Together they present the most essential teachings of Tibetan Buddhism for those who have no background in Tibetan ritual, philosophy, or life. At less than 100 pages, this is an excellent primer — ideal for our short attention spans! — on subjects including “Karma: How We Live Is How We Die” (chapter 1); “What Dies and What Gets Reborn” (chapter 2); “Our Consciousness after Death” (chapter 3); and “Influencing Our Next Rebirth” (chapter 4).

These chapters serve as background before the authors come to the later chapters, most importantly, “Practices as Death Approaches” (chapter 7). Here, Tibetan Buddhist teaching combines with practical spiritual practice, as when the authors introduce Phowa: “a combination of visualization and mantra that merges their consciousness to a Higher Being at the end of life.”

Before offering very practical ways of practicing Phowa yourself, they further explain: “When Phowa is performed with sincerity and surrender, the dying practitioner will have an auspicious rebirth in their next lifetime on earth.”

In all things, the lesson is, “How we live is how we die.”

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