Tibetan Book of the Dead | Part 1

[BOOK I]

[THE CHIKHAI BARDO AND THE CHONYID BARDO]

HEREIN LAYS THE SETTING-FACE-TO-FACE TO THE REALITY IN THE INTERMEDIATE STATE:

THE GREAT DELIVERANCE BY HEAR­ING WHILE ON THE AFTER-DEATH PLANE, FROM

“THE PROFOUND DOCTRINE OF THE EMAN­CIPATING OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS BY MEDITA­TION UPON THE PEACEFUL AND WRATHFUL DEITIES”

 [THE OBEISANCES]

To the Divine Body of Truth, the Incomprehensible, Bound¬less Light;
To the Divine Body of Perfect Endowment, Who are the Lotus and the Peaceful and the Wrathful Deities;
To the Lotus-born Incarnation, Padma Sambhava, Who is the Protector of all sentient beings j
To the Gurus, the Three Bodies, obeisance.

[THE INTRODUCTION]

This Great Doctrine of Liberation by Hearing, which confers spiritual freedom on devotees of ordinary wit while in the Intermediate State, has three divisions: the preliminaries, the subject-matter, and the conclusion.

At first, the preliminaries, The Guide Series, for emanci­pating beings, should be mastered by practice.

[THE TRANSFERENCE OF THE CONSCIOUSNESS-PRINCIPLE]

By The Guide, the highest intellects ought most certainly to be liberated [during lifetime];

but should they not be liberated, then while in the Intermediate State of the Moments of Death they should practise the Transference, which gives automatic libera­tion by one’s merely remembering it.

Devotees of ordinary wit ought most certainly to be freed thereby; but should they not be freed, then, while in the Intermediate State [during the experiencing] of Reality, they should persevere in the listening to this Great Doctrine of Liberation by Hearing.

Accordingly, the devotee should at first examine the symptoms of death as they gradually appear [in his dying body], following Self-Liberation [by Observing the] Charac­teristics [of the] Symptoms of Death.

Then, when all the symptoms of death are complete [he should] apply the Trans­ference, which confers liberation by merely remembering [the process].

 [THE READING OF THIS THÖDOL]

If the Transference has been effectually employed, there is no need to read this Thödol, but if the Transference has not been effectually employed, then this Thödol is to be read, correctly and distinctly, near the dead body.

If there be no corpse, then the bed or the seat to which the deceased had been accustomed should be occupied [by the reader], who ought to expound the power of the Truth.

Then, summoning the spirit [of the deceased], imagine it to be present there listening, and read. During this time no relative or fond mate should be allowed to weep or to wail, as such is not good [for the deceased]; so restrain them.

If the body be present, just when the expiration has ceased, either a lama [who has been as a guru to the deceased], or a brother in the Faith whom the deceased trusted, or a friend for whom the deceased had great affection,

putting the lips close to the ear [of the body] without actually touching it, should read this Great Thödol.

[THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THIS THÖDOL BY THE OFFICIANT]

Now for the explaining of the Thödol itself:

If thou can gather together a grand offering, offer it in worship of the Trinity.

If such cannot be done, then arrange whatever can be gathered together as objects on which thou canst concentrate thy thoughts and mentally create as illimitable an offering as possible and worship.

Then the “Path of Good Wishes Invoking the Aid of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas“ should be recited seven times or thrice.

After that, the “Path of Good Wishes Giving Protection from Fear in the Bardo” and the “Path of Good Wishes for Safe Delivery from the Dangerous Pitfalls of the Bardo” together with the “Root Words of the Bardo“, are to be read distinctly and with the proper intonation.

Then this Great Thödol is to be read either seven times or thrice, according to the occasion.

[First comes] the setting- face-to-face [to the symptoms of death] as they occur during the moments of death; [second] the application of the great vivid reminder, the setting-face-to-face to Reality while in the Intermediate State; and third, the methods of closing the doors of the womb while in the Intermediate State when seeking rebirth.