Tibetan Book of the Dead
Tibetan Verses of the Bardo
Tibetan Book of the Dead
Tibetan Book of the Dead
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THE TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD II
Copyright 1997 by John WorldPeace Houston, Texas USA
All rights reserved.
To World Peace the possible dream"
and To my angelic and loving wife, Kay, whose beautiful spirit caresses me with perfect love
Orientation to the Existence Between
With deep reverence I
bow to the Deity host of Spiritual Mentors, Archetypes, and Angels! I pray
you to free me in the between!
immortal one, you who was called _____! You continue to wander in the
between! Listen well, and keep this in your mind! In hell, heaven, and the
between, the body is born by apparition. But when the perceptions of the mild
and fierce deities arose in the reality between, you did not recognize them.
So after five and a half days, you fainted with terror. Upon awakening, your
awareness became more clear, and you immediately arose in a likeness of your
former body. As it says in the Tantra:
Having the fleshy form of the
preceding and emerging lives, senses all complete, moving unobstructed, with
evolutionary magic powers, one sees similar species with pure
Here "preceding" means that you arise as if in a
flesh-and-blood body determined by the instincts of your preceding life. If
you are radiant and have traces of the auspicious bodily signs and marks of a
mythic hero, it is because your imagination can transform your body; thus,
that perceived in the between is called a "mental body"
At that time,
if your are to be born as a god, you will have visions of the heavens. If you
are to be born as a titan, a human, an animal, a pretan, or a hell-being, you
will have visions of whichever realm you will be born in. "Preceding" here
means that for up to four and a half days you experience yourself as having a
fleshy body of your previous life with its habitual instincts. "Emerging"
means that you begin to have visions of the place where you are heading for
rebirth. So much for "Preceding and emerging."
Therefore, do not
follow after every vision that happens. Do not be attached to it! Do not
adhere to it! If you are stubborn and attached to all of them, you will roam
in suffering through the six realms. Up until yesterday, the visions of the
reality between dawned for you, but you did not recognize them. So you have
had to wander here now. So now, if, without wavering, you can develop
recognition, the spiritual teacher's orientation can open your awareness of
the clear light, the naked, pure, vibrant void. Enter into it, relax into the
experience of nonholding, nondoing! Without having to enter a womb, you will
If you do not recognize the light, then meditate that your
spiritual teacher or Archetype Deity is present on the crown of your head,
and devote yourself totally with a strong force of faith. It is so important!
Do it without wavering, again and again!
Powers and Problems
of a Between Being
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! Listen
without your mind wandering! "Senses all complete, moving unobstructed"
means that even if in life you were blind, deaf, crippled, and so on, now in
the between, your eyes clearly discern forms, your ears hear sounds, and
so forth. Your senses become flawlessly clear and complete; so, "senses
all complete". Recognize this as a sign that you have died and are
wandering in the between! Remember your personal instructions!
immortal one, you who was called _____! What is "unobstructed" is your mental
body; your awareness is free from embodiment and you lack a solid body. So
now you can move hither and thither everywhere, through walls, houses, land,
rocks, and earth, even through Meru, the axial mountain; except through a
mother's womb and the Vajra Throne at Dodhgaya. This is a sign that you are
wandering in the spiritual existence between, so remember the instructions of
your spiritual teacher! Pray to the Lord of Great Compassion!
immortal one, you who was called _____! "With evolutionary magic powers"
means that you, who have no special abilities or meditational magic powers
whatsoever, now have magic powers arising as the result of your evolution. In
a split second, you can circle this planet with its axial mountain. You now
have the power just to think about any place you wish and you will arrive
there in that very instant. You can reach any where and return just as a
normal man stretches out and pulls back his arm. But these various magic
powers are not so miraculous; if you do not specially need them, ignore them!
You should not worry about whether or not you can manifest this or that,
which you may think of. The fact is you have the ability to immediately
manifest anything without any obstruction. You should recognize this as a
sign of the existence between! You should pray to your spiritual
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! "One sees
similar species with pure clairvoyance" means that beings of the same species
in the between can see each other. Thus if some beings are of the
same species, all going to be reborn as gods, they will see each other.
Likewise, other beings of the same species, to be reborn in whichever of the
six realms, will see each other. So you should not be attached to
such encounters! Meditate on the Lord of Great Compassion!
clairvoyance" refers also to the vision of those whose pure clairvoyance has
been developed by the practice of contemplation, as well as to the vision of
those whose divine power of merit has developed it. But such yogis or
deities cannot always see between-beings. They see them only when they will
to see them, and not when they do not, or when their contemplation is
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! As you have
a ghostly body, you encounter relatives and familiar places as if in a dream.
When you meet these relatives, though you communicate with them, they do
not answer. When you see your relatives and dear ones crying, you will think,
"Now I have died, what can I do?" You feel a searing pain, like a fish
flopping in hot sand. But however greatly you suffer, tormenting yourself at
this time does not help. If you have a spiritual teacher, pray to your
spiritual teacher. Or else pray to the compassionate Archetype Deity. Do not
be attached to your loved ones - it is useless. Pray to the Compassionate
Ones, and do not suffer or be terrified!
Hey, immortal one, you who was
called _____! Driven by the swift wind of evolution, your mind is helpless
and unstable, riding the horse of breath like a feather blown on the wind,
spinning and fluttering. You tell the mourners, "Do not cry! Here I am!" They
take no notice. You realize you have died and you feel great anguish. Now do
not indulge in your pain! There is a constant twilight, gray as the predawn
autumn sky, neither day nor night. That kind of between can last for one,
two, three, four, five, six, or seven weeks - up to forty-nine days. Though
it is said that for most people the suffering of the existence between lasts
twenty-one days, this is not always certain due to people's different
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! At
this time the great red wind of evolution will drive you from behind,
fiercely, unbearably, terrifyingly. Do not be afraid of it! It is your
own hallucination! A frightening thick darkness draws you from the
from, irresistibly. You are terrified by harsh cries, such as "strike!"
"kill!" Do not be afraid of them! Heavy sinners will see cannibal ogres
brandishing many weapons, shouting war cries, "Kill, Kill!" and "Strike!
Strike!" You will see ferocious wild animals. You will be hunted by troops in
blizzards, storms, and fogs. You will hear sounds of avalanches, flood
waters, forest fires, and hurricanes. In panic, you will escape by any means,
only to stop short on the brink of falling down a yawning triple abyss, red,
black, and white, bottomless and horrifying.
Hey, immortal one, you
who was called _____! It is not really an abyss. It is lust, hate, and
delusion. You should recognize this as the moment of existence between! Call
upon the Lord of Great Compassion, and pray intensely, "O Lord of Great
Compassion! Spiritual teacher! Three Jewels! I was called _____. Please do
not abandon me to the horrid states! Do not forget me!"
Those who have
gathered merit, virtuous and sincere in Dharma practice, are entertained with
various delights and enjoy various excellent pleasures. And those dominated
by delusion, who have neither strong virtue nor strong vice, have neither
happiness nor suffering, but feel only stupefaction and
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! Whatever
happens along these lines, do not crave! Do not long for pleasures or joys!
Offer them all to the jewel of the spiritual teacher! Abandon attachment to
them! Even without any visions of pleasure or pain, with only feelings
of indifference, set the mind on the experience of the Great Seal, free of
both concentration and distraction! This is most important.
immortal one, you who was called _____! At that time, structures such as
bridges, temples, cathedrals, huts, and stupas will seem to shelter you for a
moment - but do not cling to them at length. Since your mind lacks a body, it
cannot settle down. You feel cold, you become angry and distraught, and your
awareness seems erratic, volatile, and unsteady. Then you will have the
thought, "Now I have died - what can I do!" Your heart will feel cold and
weak. You will feel fierce and boundless suffering. The fact is you must
travel and cannot be attached to any one place. So do not worry about it, and
let your mind come to rest.
From now on you have no food except for what
is dedicated for you. There is no certainty about your friends. These are
signs of your mental body wandering in the existence between. Your present
joys and sorrows are determined by your evolution. When you see your
lands, friends, loved ones, and your own corpse, and you think, "Now I
have died, what can be done?" at that time, your mental body feels
You think, "How nice it would be to have a new
body!" Then you will have visions of looking everywhere for a body. Even if
you try up to nine times to enter your old corpse, due to the length of the
reality between, in the winter it will have frozen, in the summer it will
have rotted. Otherwise, your loved ones will have burned it or buried it or
given it to birds and beasts, so it affords no place to inhabit. You will
feel sick at heart, and will have visions of being squeezed between boulders,
stones, and dirt. This kind of suffering is in the nature of the existence
between. Even if you find a body, there will be nothing other than such
suffering. So give up longing for a body! Focus yourself undistractedly in
the experience of creative nonaction!
Encountering the Lord of Death
immortal one, you who was called_____! Listen to me! This suffering of yours
comes from you own evolutionary acts; there is no one else to blame. It is
your own evolution, so pray strongly to the Three Jewels. They can protect
you. If you do not pray to them, do not know how to meditate of the Great
Seal, and do not meditate on an Archetype Deity, then your native angel will
count out a white stone for each virtue you accumulated, and your native
demon will count out a black stone for every sin.
Then you will be
worried, angry, and terrified. Trembling, you will lie, saying, "I committed
no sins!" But then Yama, the Judge of the Dead, will say, "I will look into
the mirror of evolution!" When he looks into the mirror of evolution, all
your sins and virtues will clearly and distinctly appear therein. Your lies
will not help. Yama will tie a rope around your neck and lead you away. He
will cut off your head, rip out your heart, pull out your guts, lick your
brains, drink your blood, eat your flesh, and gnaw your bones. But since you
cannot die, even though your body is cut to pieces, you revive again. Being
cut up again and again, you will suffer immense pain.
So when the
white stones are being counted, do not be afraid, do not panic, do not lie!
Do not fear Yama! Your body is mental, so even if it is killed and cut up,
you cannot die. In fact, your form is the void itself, so you have nothing to
fear. The Yama-deities are your own hallucinations and themselves are forms
of the void. Your own instinctual mental body is void. Voidness cannot harm
voidness. Singlessness cannot harm singlessness. You should recognize that
there is nothing other than your own hallucination. There is no external,
substantially existent Yama, angel, demon, or bull-headed ogre, and so on.
You must recognize all this as the between!
Meditate on the samadhi of
the Great Seal!
If you do not know how to meditate, examine
carefully whatever terrifies you and see the voidness that is its lack of
objective status. That is the Natural Body of Truth. And that voidness is not
merely an annihilation. Your triumphant, distinct awareness of the terror of
the void is itself the blissful mind of the Body of Beatitude. Voidness
and clarity are indistinguishable; the actuality of the void is clarity, the
actuality of clarity is voidness. Your awareness of voidness-clarity
indivisible is stripped naked, and now you abide in the unfabricated
experience. That is the Wisdom Body of Truth. and that spontaneously and
unobstructedly arises anywhere. and that is the Body of Compassionate
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! Behold
this without wavering! Recognize it! You will definitely become a
Buddha, the perfection of the Four Bodies. Do not be distracted! This is
the borderline between a Buddha and an ordinary being. Now is the
time described as, "One instant alienated, one instant perfectly
Until yesterday you were given to distraction, you did
not recognize what arose as the between, and you were gripped by so
much terror. If you again surrender to distraction, the cord of compassion
will be cut and you will go into the abodes that lack all freedom; so be
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! If you do
not know how to meditate thus, then remember and pray to the Buddha,
the Dharma, the Sangha, and the Compassionate Lords. Contemplate all
the terrors and visions as the Compassionate Lord or your own
Archetype Deity. Remember your esoteric initiation name and the spiritual
teacher who gave you the initiations you received in the human realm;
proclaim them to Yama, the Lord of Truth! You will not be injured even if you
fall off cliffs, so abandon fear and hate!
Detachment from the
The present visions will propel you into the hardship of
the changing states of pleasure and pain, as if flung by a catapult. So do
not become absorbed in any visions of love or hate! Even when you are
about to be born in the higher estates, when the visions of the higher
estates arise, should the relatives you have left behind begin to make
sacrifices with the slaughter of living beings, to dedicate them to the Lord
of Death, you will have many impure visions and begin to feel fierce
Conditioned by that, you will be reborn in hell. So no matter
what actions are committed among the surviving, do not become angry,
but contemplate love! Or, if you yourself have great attachment to the
wealth and possessions you left behind, or if you know that others are using
your possessions, you will feel attached to them and angry at the people who
are using them. Conditioned by that, even though you might have attained
the high estates, you will be reborn in hell or in the pretan realm.
Therefore, even if you are attached to your old possessions, you have no
power to own them anymore. They are of no use to you at all. Abandon
fondness and attachment for your possessions left behind! Totally throw them
away! Be decisive! Whoever uses your things, do not be stingy! Let go of
them in you mind! Generate a one-pointed will to offer them to the
spiritual teacher and the Three Jewels and abide in the experience of
detachment and unconcern!
When death rites, such as exorcistic
food-offering rites, or other rites that purify the dangers of the horrid
states, are performed for your sake, and, with your subtle evolutionary
clairvoyance, you perceive the performers being inaccurate, sleepy, or
distracted, breaking their vows and commitments, and acting carelessly, and
you notice their lack of faith, distorted views, fearful negative actions,
and impure practices, then you think, "Alas! These people are betraying me.
They are surely letting me down!" You become depressed, you become disgusted.
You lose your positive attitude and all respect and you become cynical and
disillusioned. Conditioned by that you will be reborn in the horrid states,
and thus their actions, rather that helping you, will harm you
So whatever your surviving relatives perform in the way
of incorrect religious rites, you must think, "Well, my perception is
certainly imperfect! How can any impurity adhere to the Buddha's Teaching? I
see these as a result of my own negative attitude, like seeing the mirror's
faults as if in my own form. The bodies of these performers are the Sangha,
their speech is the Holy Dharma, their minds are the actual Buddha - so I
must take refuge in them!" So you must respect them and project your
most positive attitude upon them. Then whatever your dear ones do for you
will definitely help you. Such keeping of a positive attitude is very
important, so do it without forgetting!
Again, even if you are heading
for rebirth in the three horrid states, when the visions of the horrid states
arise, when you see the pure virtue, unsullied with sins, performed by your
surviving relatives, and when you see the perfect physical, verbal, and
mental practices of your spiritual teachers and mentors, then, when you are
compelled to rebirth, your feeling of great delight has the invaluable
benefit of lifting you up into the higher estates just as you were about to
be reborn in the horrid states. So be very careful, as it is so important for
you to construct a positive attitude of reverence and faith and not allow any
place for impure negativity of perception.
Hey, immortal one, you who
was called _____! In short, since your present between-consciousness is
highly unstable, volatile, and mobile, and virtuous or vicious perception is
very powerful, do not think at all about any unvirtuous practice, then adopt
a positive perception and feel faith and reverence. Pray to your Archetype
Deity and to the Lord of Compassion! With intense willpower, perform this
Now that I wander alone, without my loved ones, and all my
visions are but empty images, may the Buddhas exert the force of their
compassion and stop the fear- and hate-drawn terror of the
Now, when I suffer by the power of negative evolution, may
my Archetype Deities dispel my suffering! When reality crashes with a
thousand thunders, may they all become OM MANI PADME HUM!
When I am
pulled by evolution without recourse, may the Lords mild and fierce dispel my
suffering! When I suffer due to evolutionary instincts, may clear light
bliss samadhi arise for me!
Avoiding the dull lights to block
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! If you have
not recognized the clear light by remembering what we have already said,
from now on your sense of your body from the preceding life will become
vague, and your sense of your body of emerging life will become more
distance. Then you will feel sand and think, "I am suffering so - now I will
seek whatever body come along!" Then you will move toward
whatever appears, gradually and uncertainly, and the six lights of the six
realms will dawn. The realm toward which evolution impels your rebirth will
dawn most clearly.
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! Listen
to me! What are the six lights? The dull white light of the gods will dawn;
and also the red light of the titans, the blue light of the humans, the green
light of the animals, the yellow light of the pretans, and the dull smokey
light of the hells - all these will dawn. these are the six lights. So your
body's color will become that of the light of the realm of
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! At that time
the essence of the instructions is very important. Contemplate the
particular light that arises as the Lord of Great Compassion! When the light
arises, hold the thought, "It is the Lord of Great Compassion." This is
the extremely profound key of instruction. this is crucial to block
Again, meditate long and carefully that, whoever your
Archetype Deity is, he or she appears like a magic illusion, lacking
intrinsic reality. It is called the "pure Magic Body." Then, contemplate that
Archetype Deity as dissolving from the edges inward, and enter the experience
of not holding rigidly to the insubstantial, the clear light of voidness.
Again contemplate that as the Archetype Deity! Again contemplate it as
clear light! Thus meditating deity and clear light in alternation, then let
you own awareness dissolve from the edges; where space pervades, let
awareness pervade. Where awareness pervades, let the Truth Body pervade.
Enter comfortably into the experience of the ceaseless nonproliferation of
the Truth Body.
Blocking the door of the
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! If you have
not understood from the above, at this time, by power of evolution the
vision will arise of your proceeding upward, on the level, or downward with
head hanging. Now meditate of the Lord of Great Compassion! Remember him!
Then, as already explained, you will have visions of hurricanes, blizzards,
hailstorms, dense fogs, and being chased by many men, and you will seem to
escape. Those without merit will seem to escape to a miserable place, but
those with merit will seem to escape to a happy place. At that time,
immortal one, all the signs will arise showing the continent and keys of
instruction, so listen carefully! Even though you did not recognize freedom
form the previous keys of orientation, here even those of the weakest
practice can recognize freedom through the following keys, so listen!
Now, here the method of blocking the womb door is very effective and
important. There are two methods of blocking that door; blocking the entering
person and blocking the womb door entered. First, the instruction for
blocking the enterer.
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____!
Clearly visualize your Archetype Deity appearing like magic without intrinsic
reality like the moon in water. If you are unsure about your Archetype Deity,
then vividly envision Avalokiteshvara, thinking, "He is the Lord of Great
Compassion!" then dissolve the Archetype from the edges and contemplate the
void clear light transparency of ultimate nonperception. That is the profound
key. Using it, the Buddhas said, the womb will not be entered; so meditate
in that way!
But if this still does not block the way and you are just
about to enter a womb, there is the profound instruction to block the door of
the womb about to be entered. So Listen! Repeat after me the following
from The Root Verses of the Six Betweens!
Hey! Now when the existence
between dawns upon me, I will hold my will with mind one-pointed, and
increase forcefully the impulse of positive evolution; blocking the womb
door, I will remember to be revulsed. Now courage and positive perception are
essential; I will give up envy, and contemplate all couples as my
Spiritual Mentor, Father and Mother.
Repeat this loud and clear and stir
you memory. It is important to meditate on its meaning and put it into
practice. As for its meaning, "Now when the existence between dawns upon me"
means that you are now wandering within the existence between. A sign of that
is that when you look in water you will not see your reflection. You have no
shadow. You have no substantial flesh-and-blood body. These are signs that
your mental body is wandering in the existence between. Now you must hold
one-pointed in your mind the unwavering will power. This one-pointed will
is of chief importance. It is like reins to guide a horse. You can
achieve whatever your will intends, so do not open your mind to
negative evolution, but remember the teachings, instructions,
initiations, authorizations, and inspirations you received in the human
realm, such as this Great Book of Natural Liberation Through Understanding
the in Between, and intensify the result of all good evolutionary actions.
This is very important. Do not forget it! Do not be distracted! This is the
exact time that determines whether you go up or you go down. Now is the
time when indulgence in laziness definitely will bring on suffering. Now is
the time when one-pointed positive willpower definitely brings on happiness.
Hold one-pointed goodwill in your mind! Sustain forcefully the result
of good action!
Now is the time to block the door of the womb! As the
root verse says, blocking the womb door, remember to be revulsed! Now
courage and positive perception are essential! That time is now. You should
block the door of the womb. There are five methods to block the womb door;
fix them well in the mind.
Hey, immortal one, you who was called
_____! At this time you will have visions of couples making love. When you
see them, do not enter between them, but stay mindful. Visualize the males
and females as the Teacher, Father and Mother, prostrate to them, and make
them visualized offerings! Feel intense reverence and devotion! Aim a strong
will to request them to teach the Dharma, and the womb door will definitely
If that does not block it, and you are about to enter the
womb, then visualize them as Mentor Father-Mother, Archetype Deity Father
and Mother, or Compassion Lord Father and Mother. Offer them
visualized offerings! Form the powerful intention to receive spiritual
attainments from them, and that will block the womb door.
If that does
not block it, and you are again about to enter a womb, then third there is
the instruction for reversing lust and hate. There are four modes of birth;
egg birth, womb birth; magic birth, and warm-moisture birth. Egg birth
and womb birth are alike. As before, you begin to see males and females
engaged in love-making. If you enter the womb under the influence of lust and
hate, whether you are reborn as horse, bird, dog, or human, if you are going
to be male, you arise appearing to be male; you feel strong hate toward the
father, and attraction and lust toward the mother. If you are going to be
female, you appear as a female; you feel strong envy and jealousy toward the
mother, you feel strong longing and lust for the father.
by that, you enter the path of the womb. You experience orgasmic bliss in the
center of the union between white and red drops, and within the experience of
that bliss you faint and lose consciousness. Your body develops through
embryonic stages of "custard", "gelatin," and so forth. Eventually you will
be born outside the mother's womb. Once your eyes are open, you realize you
have been born a puppy. Having been a human, now you are a dog. In the dog's
kennel, you suffer. Or in the pig's sty, or in the anthill, or in the
wormhole, or in the herds of cows or goats or sheep - born there you cannot
return to the human state.
Being extremely stupid, in the state of
delusion you suffer various miseries. In this way you will cycle through the
hells and the pretan realms, and will be tortured by limitless suffering.
There is nothing more powerful, nothing more terrible than this. Alas! Alas!
Those lacking the holy spiritual teacher's instruction fall down this deep
abyss into the life cycle. They are tormented uninterruptedly by unbearable
suffering. So listen to what I say! Hold my personal instruction in your
Now I will teach you an instruction to close the womb door
by reversing lust and hate. Listen to it and remember it! As the verse
Blocking the door of the womb, I will remember to be
revulsed. Now courage and positive perception are essential; I will give
up envy and contemplate all couples As my Spiritual Mentor, Father and
As before, you will have strong feelings of envy; if reborn as a
male, you will lust for the mother and hate the father, If reborn as a female
you will lust for the father and hate the mother. For that time, there is
this profound instruction.
Hey, immortal one, you who was called
_____! When such lust and hate arise, meditate like this. "Alas! Such a
creature of negative evolution as myself will wander in the life cycle under
the influence of lust and hate. If I still persist in lust and hate, I will
know no end to my wanderings. I am in danger of being sunk forever in the
ocean of miseries. Now I must give up lust and hate entirely. Alas! I must
hold intensely the one-pointed will never to entertain lust and hate." The
Tantras state that this meditation itself will close the door of the
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____! Do not waver! Hold
your will one pointed in your mind! Even though you have done that, if the
womb door did not close and you are about to enter the womb, you should block
the womb door by the instruction of truthless magical illusion. Meditate as
follows: "Male and female, father and mother, the thunderstorm, the
hurricane, the thunder, terrifying visions, all phenomena are naturally like
magical illusions. However they arise, they are truthless. All things are
untrue and false. Like mirages. Impermanent. Nonenternal. Why be attached to
them? Why fear and hate them? It is to see nothing as something. All of these
are but visions of my mind. The mind itself is as originally nonexistent as a
magical illusion. So where - out there- do they come from? Since I never
understood this in the past, I held the nonexistent to exist. I held the
untrue to be true. I held illusion as truth. So for this long time I
wandered in the life cycle. If I still now do not recognize the illusoriness
of things, I will wander even longer in the life cycle, and I will be stuck
in the quicksand of various miseries. So now I will recognize all these
things as like a dream, a magical illusion, an echo, a fairy city, a mirage,
a reflection, an optical illusion, the moon in water, lacking even a moment's
truth-status, definitely untrue, and false."
Thus, holding these thoughts
one-pointedly in mind, the truth-habit erodes and as the resulting freedom is
impressed in your continuum, the deeper self-habit is reversed. As you thus
deeply understand cosmic unreality, the womb door will definitely be
Yet even doing that, if the truth-habit does not erode, the
womb door is not blocked, and you are about to enter the womb, again there is
a profound instruction.
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____!
Even doing that, if the womb door is not blocked, now, fifth, you should
block the womb door by meditating on clear light. This is how to contemplate.
"Hey, all things are my own mind. That mind is voidness, free of creation and
destruction." Thinking thus, do not artificially compose your mind. Like
water poured in water, let the mind flow into its own reality condition;
release it into its own nature. Letting it relax easily and openly will
decisively and definitely block the womb door for all four forms of rebirth.
Thus meditate again and again until the womb door is
Choosing a womb
one, you who was called _____! Listen to me! All the previous instructions
for orientation have been given to you and still you do not understand. Now,
since the womb door is not blocked, it is time to assume a body. You have
many different authentic and profound instructions for the choosing of a
womb. Hold them in your mind! Listen well with strong intent, and hold them
in your mind!
Hey, immortal one, you who was called _____!. Now signs
and marks will arise about which continent you will be reborn on -
recognize them! Now you should explore where to be reborn, you should choose
a continent. If you are reborn in eastern Videha, you will see lakes
and waters adorned with male and female geese. Think of renunciation and
do not go there. If you are born there, your situation will be comfortable;
but you should not go there as the Dharma is not available there. If you
are going to be reborn in the southern Jambudvipa, you will see beautiful
and comfortable houses. If you can go there, do so. If you are to be reborn
in western Godaniay, you will see lakes adorned with male and female horses.
Turn back and do not go there. Although it is very enjoyable, the
Dharma has not spread there, so do not go there. If you are going to be
reborn in northern Kuru, you see lakes adorned with cattle or with evergreen
trees. Recognize these as signs of being reborn there. Do not go there!
Though you will have long life and much fortune there, the Dharma is not
available there. Do not go there!
If you are to be reborn as a god,
you will see delightful, divine, multistoried mansions made of various
jewels. It is alright to dwell there, so you may enter there.
are to be reborn as a titan, you will see a pleasant grove and spinning
wheels of fire; remember renunciation, and by all means do not go there!
If you are to be reborn among the animals you will see caves,
ant holes, and grass huts, as if through a fog. Do not go there! If you
are to reborn as a pretan, you will see charred stumps, black spots, dark
ravines, darkness, and shadows. If you go there, reborn as a pretan, you will
experience various sufferings of hunger and thirst. So do not go there!
Remember renunciation! Be fiercely courageous!
If you are to be reborn in
the hells, you will hear the songs of negative evolution, or you will feel a
helpless need to go there, and you will have visions of an island of
darkness, a black house or a red house, black pits, and black roads. If you
go there, you will be stuck in the hells. You will experience unbearable
pains of heat and cold. You will have great difficulty escaping. You must
take every precaution not to get caught there! By any means, never enter
there at all! "Block the womb door and remember renunciation!" Now is the
time when renunciation is essential.
Hey, immortal one, you who was
called _____! Though you might wish not to go on, helplessly you are chased
by the butchers of evolution. You find yourself powerless to stop, you must
go on. Ahead of you are butchers and killers to drag you along. You will feel
as if you are fleeing from overwhelming darkness, hurricanes, tempests,
fearsome noises, snow and rain, hailstorms, thunderstorms, and violent
blizzards. Escaping in panic, you will seek a refuge, and you will feel safe
in the previously mentioned beautiful houses, in rock caves, in earthen
caverns, in forest thickets, within the round blossoms of lotuses and so
forth. Hiding in such places, you will think, "I must not leave here now!"
And feeling so anxious about losing your place, you will become very attached
to it. Feeling so anxious about meeting the terrors of the between if you go
out, hating those terrors, you hide within and assume no matter what kind of
inferior body, and you will come to experience various sufferings. All that
is the sign that demons and ogres are troubling you. There is a profound,
crucial instruction for you at this time. Listen to it and hold it in your
At the time when you are helplessly chased by butchers and
are overwhelmed by terror, instantaneously visualize all at one the
Lord Chemchok Heruka, or Hayagriva, of Bajrapani, and so forth, whoever
is your Archetype Deity; gigantic in size, with bulging limbs,
terrifying, furious, able to crush all demons to dust. By his blessing and
compassion, you will free yourself from those butchers, and you will gain the
power to choose a good womb. This is the authentic profound key of
the instruction; so hold it in your mind!
Hey, immortal one who
was called _____! Further, the deities of the contemplation realms are reborn
by the poser of their samadhi. The majority of the demonic types such as the
pretans, by changing their self-images while in the between, manifest various
magical transformations in bodies of pretans, demons, and ogres, and then
become mental bodies just like them. The pretans of the underworld, the
pretans of the sky realms, and the eighty thousand types of demons adopt
their bodies just by changing their self-concepts. At such a time, if you
remember the import of voidness, the Great Seal, it is best. If you cannot,
you should practice meditation on magical illusion. If you cannot do that,
free of any kind of attachment to anything, you should meditate on the
greatly compassionate Archetype Deity, and attain enlightenment in the
Beatific Body in the between.
Hey, immortal one who was called _____!
Thus, if it becomes necessary by the power of evolution to enter the womb,
you should now rely on the instruction for choosing the womb. Listen! Do not
go to just any womb door that presents itself. If, due to the demonic
butchers, you lose the power not to go, then meditate on Hayagriva. Since now
you have subtle clairvoyance, you will be able to understand the nature of
all places, so choose your place of rebirth wisely. There are two
instructions, one for transmitting your soul into the pure Buddha-lands, and
one for choosing a womb door in the impure life cycle. You should now
practice the following.
If you are the most intelligent type of
person, to perform the soul-transmission to the angel realms you should
formulate the following controlling intention: "Alas! I am sad that I have
stayed here in this swamp of the life cycle for so long, beginninglessly for
boundless, countless eons! Alas! During all the lifetimes of so many Buddhas,
I have still not been liberated! I am revulsed and nauseated by this
interminable life cycle. I am terrified of it. I totally repudiate it. I
must now remember the methods of escaping it. I must now take miraculous
rebirth in the blossom of a lotus in the presence of the Buddha Amitabha in
the western pure-land universe. Sukhavati the Blissful!" It is essential here
to make great effort to aim all your willpower in this way toward the western
pure universe of Sukhavati. Whichever pure universe you have faith in -
whether it is Amitabha's Sukhavati;abhirati, the delightful land of
Akshobhya; Ghanavyuha, the pure land of Vairochanan; Alakavati, the earthly
paradise of Vaishravana; Potalake, the earthly paradise of Avalokiteshvara,
or the lotus light palace of Padma Sambhava in Udyana, if you aim
your concentrated willpower at any one of these pure lands and hold it
one-pointedly without distraction, you will be reborn immediately in that
pure land. Further, if you wish to be reborn in the presence of the Dharma
Lord Maitreya in the Tushita heaven, just aim your will, thinking, "Now that
I am in this between it is time to visit the Dharma Lord Maitreya in
his Tushita realm, I will go there!" You will be miraculously reborn in
the heart of a lotus in the presence of Maitreya.
Again, if you
cannot, or do not want to, proceed to any pure land, and must enter a womb,
there is this instruction for choosing a womb in the impure life cycle.
Listen to it! Choose you continent for rebirth as explained already. Using
your clairvoyance, enter a womb in a place where the Dharma has spread.
Caution is required, for even if you were to be reborn magically in a heap of
dung, you would get the notion that the impure mass smelled delicious and you
would be reborn in it by the force of your attraction. Therefore you should
not adhere to whatever appearance occurs, and you must discount any signs
that trigger attachment or aversion. Then choose a good womb. And here the
willed intention is important; so you must create it as follows: "Hey! For
the sake of all beings, I will be reborn as a world-ruling emperor, or of the
priestly class, sheltering all beings like a great shade tree, or as the
child of a holy man, an adept, or of a clan with an impeccable Dharma
lineage, or in a family where the parents have great faith. I must succeed in
this coming life, by adopting a body that has great merit, to enable me to
accomplish the aims of all beings!" Aiming your will in this way you should
enter the womb. At that time, the womb you have entered should appear to you
as if magically transformed into a divine palace. You should pray to the
Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas of the ten directions, the Archetype Deities,
and especially to the Lord of Great Compassion. And you should visualize that
they are all anointing you in consecration as you enter the womb.
thus choosing the womb door, there is always danger of erring. Under the
influence of evolution, you might see an excellent womb door as bad. You
might see a bad door as excellent. So here the key instruction for choosing
is important; do as follows: Even if a womb door appears to be excellent, do
not become attached to it. Even if it appears bad, do not become averse to
it. Enter it within the experience of the universal loving equanimity, free
of lust and hate and compulsive choosing between good and bad. This is the
authentic profound key instruction.
Taking Refuge in the Three
Hey, immortal one who was called _____! If you cannot
abandon lust and hate, and know how to choose a womb door, then, no matter
what visions come to you, say the name of the Three Jewels, and go to them
for refuge! Pray to the Lord of Great Compassion! Go forward with
your head held high! Recognize that you are in the between!
Abandon possessive love toward your dear ones left behind, your son,
your daughter, your friends! They cannot help you now. Now go to the
blue light of the human realm and the white light of the divine! Go to
the beautiful jewel house and the pleasure garden!
The prayer for help from the Buddhas and
O ten directions' Buddhas and Bodhisattvas,
compassionate, all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving - you are the refuge of
beings! By the power of your compassion, please come to this place! Please
accept these physical and visualized offerings! You compassionate ones
command inconceivable all-knowing wisdom, miraculous deeds performed
with loving compassion, and power to give refuge! O you compassionate
one, this immortal one who was called _____ is going from this world to
the beyond, leaving this world, making the great migration. She has no
friend. She has great suffering, no refuge, no protector, and no allies.
Her perception of this life is declining. She is going to another
life-ream, entering a thick darkness, falling into a great abyss, and getting
lost in a dense forest. She is driven by the power of evolution, going into a
vast wilderness, swept off by a huge ocean. She is blown away by the wind
of evolution, going to a place without firm ground, entering a
vast battleground. She is being seized by a great devil, terrified by
the messengers of Yama. She is going from on evolutionary existence
to another, without any power of her own. The time has come when she
must go, friendless and alone.
Therefore, may your companionate ones
please give refuge to this helpless one who was called _____! Protect her! Be
her ally! Save her from the great darkness of the between! Hold her back from
the harsh red wind of evolution! Save her from the great terror of Yama!
Deliver her from the great long straits of the between! O compassionate ones,
do not hold back on your compassion! Help her! Do not let her fall into the
three horrid states! Do not waver from you ancient vows! Extend
your compassion power! O Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, enfold this one who
was called _____ with your companionate art and power! Look after her
with compassion! Do not abandon her to the power of negative evolution!
I strongly pray to you Three Jewels save her from the suffering of
The prayer for deliverance from the straits of
Homage to the host of Mentors, Archetypes, and
Angels! Please guide me on the path with your great love!
When I roam
the life cycle driven by sheer error, may the Oral Transmission Mentors lead
me on the path. of unwavering light of learning, thought, and
meditation! And may their consort host of Angels back me on the
way, Deliver me form the dangerous straits of the between, and carry me to
When I roam the life cycle driven by strong delusion,
may the Lord Vairochana lead me on the path of the clear light of
reality-perfection wisdom! May his consort Buddha Dhatvishvari back me on the
way Deliver me from the dangerous straits of the between and carry me to
When I roam the life cycle driven by strong
hated may the Lord Vajrasattva lead me on the path of the clear light of
the mirror wisdom! May his consort Buddhalochana back me on the
way, deliver me from the dangerous straits of the between and carry me to
When I roam the life cycle driven by strong
pride, may the Lord Ratnasambhava lead me on the path of the clear light
of the equalizing wisdom! May his consort Buddha Mamaki back me on the
way, deliver me from the dangerous straits of the between, and carry me to
When I roam the life cycle driven by strong passion,
may the Lord Amitabha lead me on the path of the clear light of
discriminating wisdom! May his consort Buddha Pandaravasini back me on the
way, deliver me from the dangerous straits of the between, and carry me
to perfect Buddhahood!
When I roam the life cycle driven by strong
envy, may the Lord Amoghasiddhi lead me on the path of the clear light of
the all-encompassing wisdom! May his consort Buddha Samayatara back me on the
way deliver me from the dangerous straits of the between and carry me to
When I roam the life cycle driven by the five strong
poisons, may the Lord Victors of the five clans lead me on the path of
clear light of the four wisdoms in combination! May the five consort Buddhas
back me on the way, and deliver me from the impure lights of the six
realms! Delivering me from the dangerous straits of the between may they
carry me to the five supreme pure lands!
When I roam the life cycle
driven by strong instincts may the hero Scientist lead me on the path of
the clear light of orgasmic wisdom! May their consort Angel host support me
from behind, deliver me from the dangerous straits of the between and
carry me to perfect Buddhahood!
When I roam the life cycle driven by
strong hallucinations may the host of mild and fierce Lords lead me on the
path of the light that conquers terrifying visions of hate and fear! May
the space-goddess Angel hosts back me on the way deliver me from the
dangerous straits of the between and carry me to perfect
Hey! May the space elements not arise as enemies and may I
behold the realm of the sapphire Buddha! May the water elements not arise as
enemies and may I see the realm of the diamond Buddha! May the earth
elements not arise as enemies and may I behold the realm of the golden
Buddha! May the fire elements not arise as enemies and may I behold the
realm of the ruby Buddha! May the wind elements not arise as enemies and
may I behold the realm of the emerald Buddha! May the rainbow elements not
arise as enemies and may I behold the realm of the rainbow Buddha! May
sounds, lights, and rays not arise as enemies and may I behold the
magnificent realm of the mild and fierce Lords! May I know all sounds as my
own sounds! May I know all lights as my own lights! May I know all rays as
my own rays! May I know the between's reality as mine! And may I realize
the realm of the Three Buddha Bodies!
The prayer for refuge from
all terrors of the between
Hey! When the impulse of my lifespan is worn
our as dear ones cannot help beyond this world and I must wander alone in
the between May Buddhas mild and fierce exert the force of their
compassion and clear the dense fog of darkness of misknowledge!
that I wander alone, apart from my loved ones and all my visions are but
empty images may the Buddhas exert the force of their compassion and stop
the fear and hate-drawn terrors of the between!
When the five lights of
brilliant wisdom dawn fearlessly, bravely, may I know them as myself! When
the forms of the Lords mild and fierce arise bold and fearless, may I
recognize the between!
Now when I suffer by the power of negative
evolution may the Archetype Deities dispel that suffering! When reality
crashes with a thousand thunders may they all become OM MANI PADME
When I am pulled by evolution without recourse may the Lords mild
and fierce dispel my suffering! When I suffer due to evolutionary
instincts may the clear-light bliss samadhi dawn upon me!
When I am
born by apparition in the existence between may evil prophesies of perverse
devils not come true! When I arrive wherever by the power of thought may
fears created by negative evolution not occur!
When wild beasts of prey
roar savagely may it become the Dharma sound - OM MANI PADME HUM! When I
am driven by snow, rain, wind, and darkness may I find the divine vision of
May all beings compatible types in the between avoid
all rivalry and find rebirth in high estates! When I am hungry and thirsty
from intense addictions may I not suffer real hunger, thirst, heat, and
When I behold the coupling of my next life's father and
mother, may I see them as the Lord of Compassion Father-Mother
themselves! Free consciously to choose my birth, then for the sake of
others may I obtain the best body adorned with the signs and
Having obtained for myself the finest body living may all who
see or hear me swiftly be delivered! Not pursuing any negative
evolutions may I follow and develop all my existing merits!
am born in every life to come may I meet again my Archetype Deity of this
life! Speaking and understanding the moment I am born may I have the
retention to remember my former lives!
Knowledge great and small, average
and various may I understand it just by hearing it or seeing it! May good
luck prevail in the land wherein I am born and may all beings be endowed with
You Victors mild and fierce as are you bodies Your
retinues, lifespans, and your pure worlds and your superior auspicious signs
of greatness may I and all others become just like you!
By the vast
compassion of the All-Goods mild and fierce By the power of the truth of
reality-perfection and by the blessing of Tantric adepts' single-minded
success- May I accomplish just what I have prayed for!
root verses of the six betweens
Hey! Now when the life between dawns upon
me I will abandon laziness, as life has no more time Unwavering, enter the
path of learning, thinking, and meditating and taking perceptions and mind as
path I will realize the Three Bodies of enlightenment! This once that I
have obtained the human body is not the time to stay on the path of
Hey! Now when the dream between dawns upon me I will
give up corpselike sleeping in delusion and mindfully enter unwavering the
experience of reality. Conscious of dreaming, I will enjoy the changes as
clear light Not sleeping mindlessly like an animal I will cherish the
practice merging sleep and realization!
Hey! Now when the meditation
between dawns upon me I will abandon the host of distracting errors Focus
in extreme-free experience, without releasing or controlling And achieve
stability in the creation and perfection stages! Giving up business, now
one-pointed in meditation I will not surrender to the power of erroneous
Hey! Now when the death-point between dawns upon me I will
give up the preoccupations of the all-desiring mind Enter unwavering the
experience of the clarity of the precepts and transmigrate into the birthless
space of inner awareness; About to lose this created body of flesh and
blood I will realize it to be impermanent illusion!
Hey! Now when the
reality between dawns upon me I will let go of the hallucinations of
instinctive terror Enter the recognition of all objects as my mind's own
visions And understand this as the pattern of perception in the
between; Come to this moment, arrived at this most critical cessation I
will not fear my own visions of deities mild and fierce!
Hey! Now when
the existence between dawns upon me I will hold my will with mind
one-pointed And increase forcefully the impulse of positive
evolution; Blocking the womb door, I will remember to be revulsed. Now
courage and positive perception are essential; I will give up envy, and
contemplate all couples as my Spiritual Mentor, Father and
"With mind distracted, never thinking, 'Death is Coming,' To
slave away on the pointless business of mundane life and then to come out
empty - is a tragic error.
Recognition of necessity is the holy teaching
of the gods so will not you live this divine truth from now on?" These are
the words of the great adepts. If you do not put the Mentor's precept in your
mind will not you be the one who deceives yourself?
Tibetan Book of the Dead
Tibetan Verses of the Bardo
Tibetan Book of the Dead
Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Tibetan Book of the Living and Dying
by Sogyal Rinpoche
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