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Death- An Integral Part of Tibetan Buddhism and Culture

Know that the infant mortality rate is extremely high

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know that the infant mortality rate is extremely high and the average adult age is around forty years old (Duncan 1964). By knowing that death is not the final stage in life, and is rather the transition towards a rebirth, Tibetans are better able to cope with the loss of their loved ones as well as come to terms with the fact that the same fate is awaiting them quite possibly and very likely in the near future. With this knowledge, Tibetan Buddhism became an even more powerful tool for the Tibetans, not only as a way for them to achieve Nirvana and peace of mind, but as a way for Tibetans to accept death as a common occurrence in their lives, especially with the harsh living conditions and their difficult way of life. In closing, death is a subject which is somewhat taboo for Westerners to touch on, but is something that is very much a part of not only the Tibetan way of life, but in Tibetan Buddhism as well. The entire cycle depends on the process of life, death, and rebirth as the individual goes through their lives and experience suffering and build up karma. While death is not a pleasant concept for either Westerners or Tibetans to deal with, Tibetans make use of the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to come to terms with death and accept it as an inevitable end to their current life and the beginning to their new one. In this way, Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture are so closely assimilated that they are almost indistinguishable in their rituals and practices. Tibetan culture incorporates Tibetan Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism incorporates aspects of Tibetan culture as well. It is the nearly complete marriage between culture and religion in which
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the two were developed simultaneously into a unique existence that is still changing and growing today. Works Cited Duncan, Marion. Customs and Superstitions of Tibetans . London, England: The Mitre Press, 1964. Gyatso, Tenzin. The World of Tibetan Buddhism . Boston, MA: Wisdom Publications, 1995. Hopkins, Jeffrey. University of Hawai'i Press, "JSTOR." Last modified 1996. Accessed March 29, 2012. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1390191 . Sambhava, Padma. The Tibetan Book of the Dead . New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1994.
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Shen, Tsung-Lien, and Shen-Chi Liu. Tibet and the Tibetans . Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1953.
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