Science & Poetry of Sleep, Dreaming and Death – Ep. 179

In this special edition of the Bob Thurman podcast Professor Thurman is joined by poet and scholar Gary Gach for an in-depth exploration of the Tibetan Science of Healing Sowa Rigpa‘s perspective on sleep, dreams and death using personal experience, Buddhist teachings and poetry.

Podcast begins with Robert A.F. Thurman discussing the place of sleep in a balanced lifestyle, the value of dream interpretation within Buddhist medicine diagnosis and treatment, his personal experience learning from the Dalai Lama’s physician, the renowned Yeshe Dhonden and a recommendation of the work and teachings of Dr Nida Chenagtsang.

The second half includes a deep dive into the miss-titled “Tibetan Book of the Dead”, the Buddhist understanding of the Eight Stages of Death and it’s connections to Sowa Rigpa’s holistic system of healing as taught in the Yuthok Tradition.

Podcast concludes with a reading of Zhuangzi’s “Last Night I Dreamt I was a Butterfly” by Gary Gach with a short commentary.

Science & Poetry of Sleep, Dreaming and Death Photo by Karina Vorozheeva on Unsplash
Science & Poetry of Sleep, Dreaming and Death Photo by Karina Vorozheeva on Unsplash.

This week’s episode of the Bob Thurman Podcast was brought to you in part through the generous support of the Tibet House US Membership Community and Menla Retreat and Dewa Spa in Phoenicia, New York.

Science & Poetry of Sleep, Dreaming and Death – Episode 179 was recorded at the home of Robert and Nena Thurman in Woodstock, New York, August 2018.

Listen to more archive recordings from from past Robert A.F. Thurman teachings + public events please consider becoming a Tibet House US member. To learn about the benefits of Tibet House US Membership please visit:

The song ‘Dancing Ling’ + ‘Trance Tibet’ by Tenzin Choegyal from the album ‘Heart Sutra‘ (2004) by Ethno Super Lounge is used on the Bob Thurman Podcast with artist’s permission, all rights reserved.

Gary Gregory Gach is an author, translator, and editor living in San Francisco. A dynamic speaker and teacher in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village Community of Engaged Buddhism his works include the anthology “What Book!? Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop” and the forthcoming “Pause Breathe Smile – Awakening Mindfulness When Meditation is Not Enough”. To learn more about the writings and work Of Gary Gach please visit:

To learn more about upcoming programs in the heart of the Catskills with Bob Thurman & Dr. Nida please visit:

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

The so-called "Tibetan Book of the Dead" has been renowned for centuries as a classic of Buddhist wisdom and religious thought. More recently, it has become highly influential in the Western world for its psychological insights …