Dying as Supreme Opportunity: A Comparison of Plato's Phaedo and The Tibetan Book of the Dead
By
Maurice Cohen

Philosophy East and West
Vol. 26, No. 3 (July 1976)
pp. 317-327

Copyright 1976 by University of Hawaii Press
Hawaii, USA


   

 

 

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During the last few years, there has been a surge of interest in the subject of death. Unusual as such concern is in our society, there have been many periods in the past when major thinkers have studied the process of dying and its consequence, death.

    In this article, I will compare two theories on dying, one present in Plato's Phaedo, the other in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. In each work, dying is viewed as a supreme opportunity, a culmination of life to be prepared for thoughtfully and rigorously throughout one's adulthood.

    The method I will employ is first to place the Phaedo imaginatively beside The Tibetan Book of the Dead and see what attitudes toward Plato's dialogue result from such a juxtaposition. I will then reverse the process and consider the perspectives on The Tibetan Book as a consequence of examining it alongside of the Phaedo. In both cases, I will attempt to deal with matters of general interest, as well as with technical philosophical issues: and because of the wide-ranging appeal and implications of these two works, I welcome comments from all quarters.

    Turning first to the Phaedo, which I will examine now beside The Tibetan Book, we recognize it as belonging to the Middle Dialogues in the corpus of Plato's writing. Coming after the Early Socratic Dialogues (the most famous of which is the Apology), the group of Middle Dialogues includes, in addition to the Phaedo, the Gorgias, Symposium, Republic, and Phaedrus. They are followed by a number of highly technical works, among which the Theaetetus and Parmenides are perhaps best known.

    The Middle Dialogues are distinctive in the body of Plato's writing because of the intensity of their ethical and metaphysical dualism. It is in these dialogues that Plato most emphatically turns away from the body and senses, and denigrates vehemently the reality of the corporeal world. The Middle Dialogues are also the works in which Plato's imagination is most active. Dramatically, they are unusually vivid; the language in which they are written is by turns feverish, brilliant, and fantastically humorous, and myths--usually myths of judgment after death--are important parts of these dialogues.

    What distinguishes the Phaedo among the Middle Dialogues and makes it uniquely comparable to The Tibetan Book of the Dead is its total preoccupation with death and dying. Only in the Phaedo does Plato emphasize that he considers the philosophic life to be a long rehearsal for dying; [1] only in the Phaedo does he deal critically, as well as imaginatively, with the fate of the soul after death; and only in the Phaedo does he depict, with all the power of his art, a noble and religious death, that of Socrates.

    Certain artistic and dramatic resemblances between the Phaedo and The Tibetan Book stand forth immediately. There is the peculiar colorfulness of the Phaedo's myth of judgment. [2] I mean colorfulness literally, for none of Plato's

 

 

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myths is more suggestive of specific visual fantasies than the Phaedo's lyrical description of a brighter, purer, multihued world over and above the drab world we live in before the death of the body. I would not go so far as to say or authors of The Tibetan Book do so brilliantly on one level of conception, but just as Tire Tibetan Book calls out to be read with drawing block and pastels, so the Phaedo's myth produces a sequence of exciting fantasies, in the literal sense of image-ings on the part of the reader.

    Another obvious resemblance between the Phaedo and The Tibetan Book derives from the role of Socrates. In the Phaedo, his companions know that they are losing, not merely a beloved older friend and philosophical mentor, but a moral and spiritual guide. In no other Socratic dialogue is Socrates portrayed in quite this way, we are not using terms casually when we say that in the Phaedo Socrates acts as a guru. He is not the orator of the Apology, the patient expositor of the Crito, or the ironic intellectual "midwife" of the Theaetetus. In the Phaedo, he teaches with his whole personality, in which intellectual power, albeit essential, is not all that is essential. He impresses his disciples in many ways, challenging their intellects, exalting their imaginations, and equally, if not more importantly, demonstrating through his own conduct in extremis the strength of his character and faith.

    So much for more evident resemblances. Let us look now at the Phaedo's philosophical arguments, which occur in the first of its three major sections, the other two sections being the myth of judgment and the description of Socrates death. There are, in the first or dialectical section of the Phaedo, four logically independent proofs for the immortality of the soul. The last proof, which employs extensively the Theory of Forms, is the longest and most intricate of the four proofs. All of these arguments have been the subject of a good deal of critical commentary; for my purposes, it is sufficient to make the following observations.

    First, none of the four proofs is completely rigorous. All show, in fact, continuing use of deliberate fallacies of many kinds, a characteristic of Plato's writing long before the Phaedo. In earlier dialogues, he fallacizes to force the reader to scrutinize critically the explicit argument of the dialogue and reconstruct for himself the true and intended philosophical message of the dialogue. [3] This is still the case in the Phaedo. Second, none of the positions developed in the proofs of the Phaedo are maintained continuously by Plato throughout his subsequent writing. He does not present the Theory of Forms--whether he ever believed he had a firm theory is a question in itself--in exactly the same way in the other Middle Dialogues, and treats it very differently in the later dialogues. He makes no use in later writings of the notion of learning as recollection, the philosophical keystone of the Second Proof; and he makes no use elsewhere of the idea of generation from opposites as a basis for demonstrating the soul's immortality.

 

 

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    My own belief is that at the time of writing the Phaedo, Plato knew perfectly well that he had no unassailable proof for the immortality of the soul (there is certainly no evidence in any of his later writings that he ever came to believe he had developed such a proof). [4] On the other hand, I think that when Plato wrote the Phaedo he did believe strongly in certain more general views which underlie the theories upon which the proofs are made to depend.

    What are these views which Plato does seem to hold positively in the Phaedo? He does show a genuine interest in coming-into-being and passing-away (generation and corruption) as opposing processes. In the Protagoras, written considerably before the Phaedo, Plato had already shown himself to be in possession of a logical theory of opposites; in the Phaedo, we have an attempt at using the logical theory as a model for explaining real changes of all kinds.

    Closely related to this experiment is Plato's relatively new, but earnest, commitment to ethical and metaphysical dualism. Body and soul are now depicted as severely opposed to one another, an argument not advanced until the Middle Dialogues and moderated appreciably in most of Plato's later writing. In the Middle Dialogues, however, and in the Phaedo particularly the body is seen as a person's oppressor, or, even worse, corrupter; thus the goal of philosophy is now said to be to teach the soul to keep itself pure, that is, undistracted by desire.

    Correlated with this severe ethical dualism in the Phaedo is a dualistic metaphysics. Reality, we now hear, consists of two levels, the world of the body, senses, and physical events, and a sharply demarcated higher realm, accessible only to the mind, and then only when the mind draws into itself, rejecting the enticements of the senses.

    Indeed, soul in the Phaedo is spoken of as though it is only mind or reason (nouns); there is also a clear emphasis on mind as the highest reality in the universe as well as in the individual person. Such a comprehensive view of the primacy of the mind is present in Socrates' observation that as a young man he had hoped for much from a book by Anaxagoras that was supposed to show how mind causes and arranges everything. [5] But he was disappointed, Socrates goes on to say, and developed perforce his own method of investigating reality, analyzing concepts (logoi) through systematic deduction from hypotheses. [6] Socrates does not apologize for this approach because it is discursive, and insists that the use of concepts is an effective way of studying reality; but Plato presents him as critically aware of the problems inherent in the use of deduction as a way of establishing the truth of hypotheses. [7] In any event, it is important when comparing the Phaedo with The Tibetan Book on the relation of mind to reality to keep in mind the fact that although Socrates talks about using a new method for demonstrating the relation between mind and reality, he gives no indication of having abandoned his original hope that the truth about reality is that mind causes and arranges all things.

    Nevertheless, the Phaedo itself does not seem to be suggesting a fully deve-

 

 

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loped mind-only theory of reality like the one in The Tibetan Book of the Dead. What is lacking in the Phaedo is an argument to the effect that soul not only resembles the Forms, but generates them. To commit oneself thus far--and I do not think Plato is even deliberately suggesting such a position in the Phaedo--one would have to postulate a dissolution, at some point, of the difference between the individual mind and universal mind. We are familiar enough with such a view in the Upanishads and Mahaayaana Buddhism; is anything like it present at least in Platonism, the particular Western philosophical tradition based on the Middle Dialogues and Plato's oral teachings? If there is, we could then say that although the Phaedo itself does not argue for such a view, it has helped to provide the basis for its development in the West. The answer here is clearly, yes, Platonism is, in fact, characterized by insistence that ultimate deliverance results from overcoming the illusion of separateness. Each in his own way, Hegel, Spinoza, and Plotinus are all explicit on this point. More germane, because of his closeness in time to Plato, are Aristotle's remarks in the De Anima on the role and fate of Active Intellect. [8]

    Dialectically, this lineage is not surprising, for all that is needed to complete the transition, from the Phaedo's suggested view on the relation between mind and reality to an explicit mind-only theory analogous to that in The Tibetan Book, is one step: the assertion that in perfect knowing the mind discovers its identity with what it knows. Had Plato himself taken this step in the Phaedo, he could have said that in coming to know the Forms the individual mind ceases to be individual, for it sheds completely all time-and place-bound preoccupations, and with them all sense of separateness, of any distinction whatsoever between knower and known.

    Exactly how far the Phaedo is from this position need not be plotted exactly at this point; but it certainly belongs in any series converging on such a position, and its tendencies along these lines are effectively brought out by comparing it in connection with The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

    There is, then, an important anticipation in the Phaedo of a metaphysical position significantly like that in The Tibetan Book. Now that we have begun to consider the Phaedo closely in juxtaposition to The Tibetan Book, do any other technical resemblances emerge? I think there is at least one other major resemblance, but to develop it we must focus now on the Fourth Proof for the immortality of the soul, the climax of the dialectical section of the Phaedo. [9] In the preceding proofs Socrates has presented a number of propositions, each of which has analogues in Hindu and Buddhist thought. He has argued that being born and dying are usually reciprocal and thus complementary processes; [10] that the reincarnated soul bears traces of its previous existence; [11] and that in its capacity as mind, the soul is very like the incorporeal Forms, which are the objects of knowledge. [12] In the Fourth Proof, using again the Theory of Forms, he develops a more complex position. He demonstrates that part of the essence of soul is to live. Without life, there can be nothing that can

 

 

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meaningfully be called "soul"; in short, soul is essentially death-less. [13] Socrates is presented as recognizing clearly, however, that to demonstrate that it is logically absurd to speak of a "dead soul" is not equivalent to demonstrating that soul is also indestructible or eternal. How do we know that at the onset of death, the soul does not vanish, like snow in the presence of fire? How can we show that soul, unlike snow, goes away intact when it comes into contact with something opposed to part of its essence? [14]

    The surprising thing about the Fourth Proof of the Phaedo is that although the first major step, the demonstration of the essential death-lessness of soul, is established deductively, the next stage of the proof is not. For Socrates does not proceed to demonstrate the indestructibility of soul wholly from philosophical premises, as he has done with regard to its death-lessness. Rather, he completes the proof by accepting from his respondent a "postulate of faith," to use A. E. Taylor's apt expression. [15] Without further argument, the soul is conceded to be essentially like the imperishable gods as well as the forms, and the proof is brought to an end.

    Thus, in the Phaedo the value of the Fourth Proof turns out to depend as much upon the religious faith of the interlocutors as it does upon their philosophical commitment to the Theory of Forms. Given Plato's logical sophistication and dialectical ingenuity, we must assume that his procedure in the Fourth Proof results from a conscious decision. And the fact that the most elaborate proof in the dialectical section of the Phaedo is, logically considered, a religious argument brings the Phaedo close, in this respect, to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which complements its philosophical discussions with frank demands upon the faith of its readers and listeners. [16]

    Thus, in the Phaedo we have a conception of immortality articulated rationally, but conceded to rest ultimately on faith. Dying is viewed in the Phaedo as a physical event that does not obliterate the soul. Only the philosopher knows this; others, ignorant of the true nature of soul and mind and unable to use death to separate soul from body once and for all, must return to be born and die many times. Deliverance results from achieving self-recognition: realizing that one is essentially soul and that one' s fate is to turn completely from the physical world, where everything is mutable. Once the soul, which in turn is essentially mind, discovers its kinship with the Forms and the fact that it is death-less, it will embrace the opportunity to divest itself of the body. One prepares for death, according to the Phaedo, by deliberately anticipating it over a long period of time, rehearsing the physical act of dying by habitually denying all but the minimum claims of the body, and maintaining one's confidence by means of appropriate philosophical and imaginative activities.

    Hence, we now appreciate the significance of the Phaedo as a whole. The first, dialectical, section indicates the right uses of reason in the presence of death; the second, or mythical passage, shows the right use of imagination; while the final, dramatic, section presents Socrates' manner of dying as the

 

 

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culmination of the philosophic life. The overall effect, which must be considered as intended by Plato, is of a work designed to influence the actual behavior of its readers. If I am correct in assigning this practical twist to the Phaedo, we have uncovered still another aspect of its deep compatibility with The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I wish I could linger over this stage of our examination, but it is time to reverse our comparative process now, considering The Tibetan Book beside the Phaedo, and deciding what insights into that great Tibetan work result from the juxtaposition.

    With regard to style and form, The Tibetan Book of the Dead is most dissimilar to the Phaedo. The latter, like all of Plato's works, was written for an elite, highly literate philosophic audience. The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a breviary to be read to anyone who is actually dying. Its plainly stated purpose is to guide the dying person, regardless of his intelligence or past behavior, through all the states he may have to go through during and after the death of the body. Just how many states he actually goes through depends completely, according to The Tibetan Book, on his ability to overcome the karmic propensities accumulated during his life. Most fortunate of all is the individual who recognizes instantaneously while dying the true nature of his being: for him, there are no succeeding Bardo states with their trials and, of course, no rebirth. If one fails this first test, however, one goes into the second Bardo state, where another opportunity to overcome one's karmic propensities is presented, with a lesser, though still glorious reward for success. Failing the second test, there is still another, and then another and another until, if necessary, one is reborn on earth. At every stage, there is an opportunity to arrest one's descent, but the trials become more fearsome and the rewards relatively less desirable as the series of Bardo states unfolds.

    Complex as the details of trials and rewards are, the organization of The Tibetan Book is classically simple, and its central philosophical theses are a rigorous development of Mahaayaana Buddhist thought. The states of the Bardo, with their visions and rewards or penalties, make up a psychologically profound scale of events in the religious life. There are, to be sure, peculiarities from a Western standpoint, but they need not be serious barriers to understanding. The contents of the later, more earthbound visions seem not merely strange but savage to someone unacquainted with "primitive" art and culture. But they are completely appropriate, given the precision and psychological realism of The Tibetan Book. Written long ago for Tibetans, and at a time when Buddhism had just begun to supplant the indigenous religions, it had to draw upon the Tibetan imagination as it actually was. Willing to deal in as much detail with the lower levels of the spiritual life as with the higher--a consequence of the fact that it was designed to be read to every kind of dying person, bad and indifferently virtuous as well as saintly--it must present horrifying as well as exalted visions.

    Another seeming peculiarity is even easier to accept. In Western religious

 

 

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literature, we are accustomed to accounts of ascent, not descent. The ladder of the Symposium is described from the bottom up, the divided line and myth of the cave in the Republic take us from illusion to reality; Augustine's Confessions begins with his sinful infancy and youth and moves on to his conversion, Dante's Divine Comedy proceeds from Hell through Purgatory and thence to Paradise. But The Tibetan Book of the Dead commences with a description of the highest state and then describes in detail the descent of spirit.

    Taken on its own terms, however, The Tibetan Book's reason for placing the supreme vision first is proper and plausible--and brings us back to the work's closeness to the Phaedo in certain key respects. The Tibetan Book places the highest vision first, because one of its central positions is that it is during the actual process of dying that the mind is most clear and the individual therefore most capable of discovering his true nature. This is why dying is a supreme opportunity for everyone, according to The Tibetan Book, although like the Phaedo it argues that only the properly prepared individual can take full advantage of this opportunity.

    Like the Phaedo, The Tibetan Book presents certain difficulties, though in its case the problems stem more from the nature of its core philosophical positions rather than from any deliberate esoterism as is the case with the Phaedo. For The Tibetan Book has as the basis for its assertion that dying is really a glorious learning experience, a rigorous, subtle, and difficult philosophy of reality and mind; and that philosophy must be understood, at least in outline, if The Tibetan Book is to be appreciated critically and compared exactly with the Phaedo. Fundamental to this position on the nature of reality and mind is the concept of Voidness. Voidness is the last and highest result of emptying one's consciousness. [17] It is also the final truth about everything, since everything is void in the sense of being incapable of subsisting independently, or withstanding the flood of time and events. Voidness is thus both the supreme truth of self and the supreme truth of being. Hence The Tibetan Book's view that when the dying person experiences voidness he is discovering the nature of all reality. And according to The Tibetan Book, that discovery is possible for most people only during the process of dying, for it is only then that the average person is most free. During his life, he was preoccupied with corporeal and emotional concerns; once dead, the habits developed during life will obscure truth once again, as his disembodied consciousness moves on through the various Bardo states.

    Stated somewhat more technically and in language closer to that of The Tibetan Book itself, Voidness is discovered through the absorption of intellect (shes-rig) back into consciousness (rig-pa). [18] Throughout life, the intellect of everyone who is not saintly has been wholly taken up with organizing concepts about the phenomenal world. In its preoccupation, it has failed to recognize its total indebtedness to consciousness, deep within the person and inaccessible except to those who meditate devotedly.

 

 

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    Thus, all but enlightened individuals have been ignorant of the true nature of their own minds and selves. and in this ignorance they have necessarily been ignorant too of the true nature of all beings. They have allowed themselves to act as though they had always been destined merely to respond to sensual and emotional impulses: they have never allowed themselves to realize that without the creative activity of their own minds and the illumination coming from their own consciousness there could be no cognitive activity of any kind. Not knowing how to return voluntarily into themselves to discover just who they are, their actions and thoughts have been only desperate reactions.

    The Tibetan Book recognizes two ways in which intellect can be absorbed back into consciousness: through meditation and through dying. It appears unique in that, unlike the Zen masters of Asia and Milarepa, the great Tibetan poet-philosopher, it emphasizes the universality and advantages of the ultimate self-discovery offered while one is dying. The Tibetan Book agrees with other Mahaayaana texts in asserting that the experience of voidness is both self-illuminating and blissful. It is liberating or exalting, not frightening or depressing, to discover that voidness is the basis of mind as well as of the phenomenal world, and that mind and the world are thus identical au fond. But, as already mentioned, the individual must be properly prepared; otherwise, his accumulated psychic and moral momentum, or karman, will impel him to turn away to "escape from freedom." Hence the need, according to The Tibetan Book too, for a lifetime of preparation, or, lacking such preparation, faith in the guidance offered by The Tibetan Book. Given its nonselective purpose, The Tibetan Book is understandably more emphatic about the necessity of faith as an alternative to knowledge of what leads to salvation; but when it is placed beside the Phaedo, we can hardly fail to be reminded, not only of the implicit appeal to faith in the Phaedo's Fourth Proof, but of Cebes' remarks earlier in the Phaedo on the necessity of using a raft of human doctrine to sail through life if one is vouchsafed neither the personal discovery of truth nor divine revelation. [19]

    What can I say now more generally about The Tibetan Book of the Dead vis a vis the Phaedo? On many points, it seems to me, The Tibetan Book makes use of a more developed theory than that which is present in the Phaedo. The Tibetan Book's distinction between consciousness and intellect; its analysis of the discovery of reality as depending upon the absorption of intellect back into consciousness; and its doctrine of karman--from the standpoint of philosophical precision, these positions are technically more finished than those of the Phaedo on comparable issues. I will say, then, that one result of placing The Tibetan Book beside the Phaedo is an appreciation of The Tibetan Book's greater explicitness on certain metaphysical and psychological questions common to both works. The Phaedo suggests only potentially a mind-only theory of reality; The Tibetan Book presents such a position in a technically developed form. [20] On the other hand, the greater familiarity of the Phaedo's views and

 

 

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its more evident divisions between technical and nontechnical material make it much easier for the average reader to develop for himself a general model of a mind-only theory of reality. [21] He is then better able to sort out technical and nontechnical material in The Tibetan Book, which can otherwise be overwhelming in its profusion of imagery and visions.

    One advantage, then of juxtaposing The Tibetan Book and the Phaedo is the help thus gained in understanding the former philosophically: and as we make progress in such comprehension, we realize increasingly, I believe, the extent to which The Tibetan Book presents us with a philosophically mature theory of reality. That theory, like the Phaedo's, is even more radically opposed today to that by which most people live---and in which they frame their views on dying and death--than it was when The Tibetan Book was written, perhaps a thousand years ago. But because of the systematic character and technical finish of The Tibetan Book's philosophy, there results a powerful critical challenge: to use it, only by way of contrast, in constructing a better contemporary Weltanschauung, one which can be as effective as The Tibetan Book seems to have been in encouraging an integrated, useful, and exalted set of attitudes toward dying and death.

    This is not the place to follow the path of inquiry, but I can suggest here that for anyone who is interested in developing such a practical ethic for dying The Tibetan Book can be inestimably suggestive; that it will be valuable insofar as it is first understood precisely on its own philosophic terms; and that one way of furthering one's understanding of it is by considering it alongside of Plato's Phaedo.

    In this article, I have attempted to demonstrate that Plato's Phaedo and The Tibetan Book of the Dead are significantly and usefully comparable. I have compared them by conducting a kind of philosophical thought experiment, placing the Phaedo beside The Tibetan Book and seeing what results with regard to comprehending the Phaedo, then reversing the process, placing The Tibetan Book beside the Phaedo. I hope I have been successful in suggesting that interesting discoveries can be made through such an approach.

    We have seen that both the Phaedo and The Tibetan Book insist that dying can be a positive experience, during which the individual has a chance to discover truths about himself and the world which are difficult to learn during life. According to both works, the discoveries thus possible are so exalting that, given suitable preparation, dying can be anticipated as the cognitive and spiritual culmination of life. Both works agree also, however, that lifelong study and practice in self-discipline are required for there to be assurance of such a culmination (they differ in the hope they offer to those who have not rehearsed all their lives, the Phaedo mentioning no second chances, The Tibetan Book offering a whole array of second chances to those who have faith in its teachings).

    Both books are practical in intent, though The Tibetan Book is more evidently

 

 

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so; both are based upon positions in which mind is seen as infinitely higher in value than body. The Phaedo is metaphysically, as well as ethically dualistic; The Tibetan Book, though ethically dualistic too, is in a rather subtle sense monistic in its metaphysics, or theory of reality, since it explicitly ascribes all phenomena to mind, which it identifies in turn with voidness. In sum, both books are ascetic in their ethics, and both oppose themselves deliberately to common sense and naturalistic theories of reality.

    The contemporary challenge presented by these works when taken together seems to me to be serious and important. By way of conclusion, let me outline that challenge as follows: If we are impressed favorably in any way by the emphases of the Phaedo and The Tibetan Book of the Dead on dying as a supreme cognitive and spiritual opportunity, how do we adapt their attitude to our own needs? How far will we have to go in reconstructing our views on how we should live? Is it possible that we will even have to modify our views on the nature of reality? It may be that the American Way of Death is so intimately associated with the American Way of Life that we cannot transform the first without deeply altering the second--a thought which would only please Plato and the author (or authors) of The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

 

NOTES

1. Plato, Phaedo, 63 E-67 E.

2. Phaedo, 107 D-114 C.

3. Cf. Maurice H. Cohen, "The Aporias in Plato's Early Dialogues," Journal of the History of Ideas 23, No. 2 (April-June, 1962):163-174.

4. Cf. Maurice H. Cohen, "Un-Natural Deduction in Plato's Phaedo," a paper presented at the 10th Annual Congress of the Canadian Philosophical Association, Sherbrooke. Quebec, June 16, 1966.

5. Phaedo, 97 B-C.

6. Phaedo, 99 D-100 A.

7. Cohen, "Un-Natural Deduction in Plato's Phaedo."

8. Aristotle, De Anima, 480a. Cf. W. D. Ross, Aristotle (London: Methuen & Co., Ltd., 1923), pp. 148-153.

9. Dialectical section, Phaedo 70 C-107 B; Fourth Proof, 95 B-107 A.

10. Phaedo, 70 D-E.

11. Phaedo, 75 B.

12. Phaedo, 80 A-B.

13. Phaedo, 105 E.

14. Phaedo, 106.

15. Plato (New York: The Humanities Press, 1926), p. 206.

16. Cf. The Tibetan Book of the Dead, comp. and ed. W. Y. Evans-Wentz (London: Oxford University Press, 1960), p. 152.

17. Cf. Helmuth von Glasenapp, Die Philosophie der Inder (Stuttgart: Alfred Koner Verlag, 1958), pp. 340-346.

18. Tibetan Book, p. 96.

19. Phaedo, 85 C-D; the terminology used in the paraphrase is based on Fowler's translation, p.327, Plato with an English Translation (Loeb Library), Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Phaedrus, trans. by Harold North Fowler (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1914).

20. Strictly speaking The Tibetan Book of the Dead builds on certain consciousness only (cittamatra-vada) theories which had appeared in Indian Buddhism. V. von Glasenapp, Die Philosophie der Inder, p. 247.

21. On the construction of interpretive models for philosophic writing, see my paper, "Reflections on the Role of Philosophy in Studying Other Cultures." Culture 29, (1968): 241-243.