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Mapping Paradisehorizontal rule

Poets, philosophers, and artists create visions of the afterlife that fire our imaginations. Two such representations of the afterlife are depicted here. These maps of the afterlife are depicted in Robert Thurman's translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, a classic text of Buddhist wisdom and religious thought composed in the 8th century, and in the medieval epic poem of the Christian afterlife, The Divine Comedy, written by Dante Alighieri in the 14th century. Despite the cultural differences between the faiths that inspired these maps, there are remarkable similarities between them. On closer inspection, the spiritual pathways that mark our human journey to Heaven and Hell may not be so different after all.

Tibetan Life Circle Dante's Inferno
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Tibetan Buddhist Life Cycle
  Dante's The Divine Comedy
Christian Afterlife


Images used by permission:
Tibet House and Columbia University: Digital Dante Project


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