Tibetan Book of the Dead | Part 11

[THE THIRTEENTH DAY]

If this setting-face-to-face be not obtained, good persons on the Path, too, fall back from here and wander into the Samsara.

Then the Eight Wrathful Ones, the Kerimas, and the Htamenmas, having various [animal] heads, issue from within one’s own brain and come to shine upon one’s self.

There­upon the setting-face-to-face is, calling the deceased by name, thus:

O nobly-born, listen undistractedly:

On the Thirteenth Day, from the eastern quarter of thy brain, the Eight Kerimas will emanate and come to shine upon thee. Fear that not.

From the east of thy brain, the White Kerima, holding a human corpse, as a club, in the right [hand]; in the left, holding a skull-bowl filled with blood, will come to shine upon thee. Fear not.

From the south, the Yellow Tseurima, holding a bow and arrow, ready to shoot; from the west, the Red Pramoha, holding a Makara (water-lion’s)-banner;

from the north, the Black Petali, holding a dorje and a blood-filled skull-bowl; from the south­east, the Red Pukkase, holding intestines in the right [hand] and [with] the left putting them to her mouth;

from the south-west, the Dark-Green Ghasmarī, the left [hand] holding a blood-filled skull-bowl, [with] the right stirring it with a dorje, and [she then] drinking it with majestic relish;

from the north-west, the Yellowish-White Chāṇḍālī, tearing asunder a head from a corpse, the right [hand] holding a heart, the left putting the corpse to the mouth and [she then] eating [thereof];

from the north-east, the Dark-Blue Smashalī, tearing asunder a head from a corpse and eating [thereof]:

these, the Eight Kerimas of the Abodes [or Eight Directions], also come to shine upon thee, surrounding the Five Blood-drinking Fathers. Yet be not afraid.

O nobly-born, from the Circle outside of them, the Eight Htamenmas of the [eight] regions [of the brain] will come to shine upon thee:

from the east, the Dark-Brown Lion-Headed One, the hands crossed on the breast, and in the mouth holding a corpse, and shaking the mane;

from the south, the Red Tiger-Headed One, the hands crossed downwards, grinning and showing the fangs and looking on with protruding eyes;

from the west, the Black Fox-Headed One, the right [hand] holding a shaving-knife, the left holding an intestine, and [she] eating and licking the blood [therefrom];

from the north, the Dark-Blue Wolf-Headed One, the two hands tearing open a corpse and looking on with protruding eyes; from the south-east,

the Yellowish-White Vulture-Headed One, bearing a gigantic [human-shaped] corpse on the shoulder and holding a skeleton in the hand; from the south-west,

the Dark-Red Cemetery-Bird-Headed One, carrying a gigantic corpse on the shoulder; from the north-west, the Black Crow-Headed One, the left [hand] holding a skull-bowl, the right holding a sword, and [she] eating heart and lungs;

from the north-east, the Dark-Blue Owl-Headed One, holding a dorje in the right [hand], and holding a skull-bowl in the left, and eating.

These Eight Htamenmas of the [eight] regions, likewise surrounding the Blood-Drinking Fathers, and issuing from within thy brain, come to shine upon thee.

Fear that not. Know them to be the thought-forms of thine own intellectual faculties.

[THE FOURTEENTH DAY]

O nobly-born on the Fourteenth Day, the Four Female Door-Keepers, also issuing from within thine own brain, will come to shine upon thee.

Again recognize:

From the east [quarter] of thy brain will come to shine the White Tiger-Headed Goad-Holding Goddess, bearing a blood-filled skull- bowl in her left [hand];

from the south, the Yellow Sow­-Headed Noose-Holding Goddess; from the west, the Red Lion-Headed Iron-Chain-Holding Goddess; and from the north, the Green Serpent-Headed Bell-Holding Goddess.

Thus issue the Four Female Door-Keepers also from within thine own brain and come to shine upon thee; as tutelary deities, recognize them.

O nobly-born, on the outer Circle of these thirty wrathful deities, Herukas, the twenty-eight various-headed mighty goddesses, bearing various weapons, issuing from within thine own brain, will come to shine upon thee. Fear that not.

Recognize whatever shines to be the thought-forms of thine own intellectual faculties. At this vitally important time, recollect the select teachings of the guru.

O nobly-born, [there will dawn] from the east the Dark- Brown Yak-Headed Rākṣasī-Goddess, holding a dorje and a skull; and the Reddish-Yellow Serpent-Headed Brahma- Goddess, holding a lotus in her hand;

and the Greenish- Black Leopard-Headed Great-Goddess, holding a trident in her hand; and the Blue Monkey-Headed Goddess of In­quisitiveness, holding a wheel;

and the Red Snow-Bear-Headed Virgin-Goddess, bearing a short spear in the hand; and the White Bear-Headed Indra-Goddess, holding an intestine-noose in the hand: [these],

the Six Yoginīs of the East, issuing from within the [eastern quarter of thine own] brain, will come to shine upon thee; fear that not.

O nobly-born, from the south [will dawn] the Yellow Bat-­Headed Delight-Goddess, holding a shaving-knife in the hand ; and the Red Makara-Headed Peaceful-[Goddess], holding an urn in the hand;

and the Red Scorpion-Headed Amritā-Goddess, holding a lotus in the hand; and the White Kite-Headed Moon- Goddess, holding a dorje in the hand;

and the Dark-Green Fox-Headed Baton-Goddess, flourishing a club in the hand; and the Yellowish-Black Tiger-Headed Rākṣasī, holding a blood-filled skull-bowl in the hand:

[these] the Six Yoginīs of the South, issuing from within the [southern quarter of thine own] brain, will come to shine upon thee; fear that not.

O nobly-born, from the west [will dawn] the Greenish- Black Vulture-Headed Eater-Goddess, holding a baton in the hand; and the Red Horse-Headed Delight-Goddess, holding a huge trunk of a corpse;

and the White Eagle-­Headed Mighty-Goddess, holding a club in the hand; and the Yellow Dog-Headed Rākṣasī, holding a dorje in the hand and a shaving-knife and cutting [with this];

and the Red Hoopoe-Headed Desire-Goddess, holding a bow and arrow in the hand aimed; and the Green Stag-Headed Wealth-Guardian Goddess, holding an urn in the hand:

[these], the Six Yoginīs of the West, issuing from within the [western quarter of thine own] brain, will come to shine upon thee; fear that not.

O nobly-born, from the north [will dawn] the Blue Wolf-­Headed Wind-Goddess, waving a pennant in the hand; and the Red Ibex-Headed Woman-Goddess, holding a pointed stake in the hand;

and the Black Sow-Headed Sow-Goddess, holding a noose of fangs in the hand; and the Red Crow-­Headed Thunderbolt-Goddess, holding an infant corpse in the hand;

and the Greenish-Black Elephant-Headed Big-Nosed Goddess, holding in the hand a big corpse and drinking blood from a skull; and the Blue Serpent-Headed Water-Goddess, holding in the hand a serpent noose:

[these], the Six Yoginīs of the North, issuing from within [the northern quarter of] thine own brain, will come to shine upon thee; fear that not.

O nobly-born, the Four Yoginīs of the Door, issuing from within the brain, will come to shine upon thee:

from the east, the Black Cuckoo-Headed Mystic Goddess, holding an iron hook in the hand; from the south, the Yellow Goat-Headed Mystic Goddess, holding a noose in the hand;

from the west, the Red Lion-Headed Mystic Goddess, holding an iron chain in the hand; and from the north, the Greenish-Black Serpent-­Headed Mystic Goddess:

[these], the Four Door-Keeping Yoginīs, issuing from within the brain, will come to shine upon thee.

Since these Twenty-eight Mighty Goddesses emanate from the bodily powers of Ratna-Sambhava, [He] of the Six Heruka Deities, recognize them.

O nobly-born, the Peaceful Deities emanate from the Void­ness of the Dharmakaya; recognize them. From the Radiance of the Dharmakaya emanate the Wrathful Deities; recognize them.

At this time when the Fifty-eight Blood-Drinking Deities emanating from thine own brain come to shine upon thee, if thou know them to be the radiances of thine own intellect, thou will merge, in the state of atonement, into the body of the Blood-Drinking Ones there and then, and obtain Buddhahood.

O nobly-born, by not recognizing now, and by fleeing from the deities out of fear, again sufferings will come to overpower thee.

If this be not known, fear being begotten of the Blood- Drinking Deities, [one is] awed and terrified and faints away: one’s own thought-forms turn into illusory appearances, and one wanders into the Samsara; if one be not awed and terrified, one will not wander into the Samsara.

Furthermore, the bodies of the largest of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities are equal [in vastness] to the limits of the heavens; the intermediate, as big as Mt. Meru; the smallest, equal to eighteen bodies such as thine own body, set one upon another.

Be not terrified at that; be not awed.

If all existing phenomena shining forth as divine shapes and radiances be recognized to be the emanations of one’s own intellect, Buddhahood will be obtained at that very instant of recognition.

The saying, “Buddhahood will be obtained in a moment [of time]” is that which applies now. Bearing this in mind, one will obtain Buddhahood by merging, in atonement, into the Radiances and the Kayas.

O nobly-born, whatever fearful and terrifying visions thou may see, recognize them to be thine own thought-forms.

O nobly-born, if thou recognize not, and be frightened, then all the Peaceful Deities will shine forth in the shape of Maha-Kāla; and all the Wrathful Deities will shine [forth] in the form of Dharma-Rāja, the Lord of Death;

and thine own thought-forms becoming Illusions [or Maras], thou will wander into the Samsara.

O nobly-born, if one recognize not one’s own thought- forms, however learned one may be in the Scriptures—both Sūtras and Tantras—although practising religion for a kalpa, one obtains not Buddhahood.

If one recognize one’s own thought-forms, by one important art and by one word, Buddha­hood is obtained.

If one’s thought-forms be not recognized as soon as one dies, the shapes of Dharma-Rāja, the Lord of Death, will shine forth on the Chönyid Bardo.

The largest of the bodies of Dharma-Rāja, the Lord of Death, equalling the heavens [in vastness]; the intermediate, Mt. Meru; the smallest, eighteen times one’s own body, will come filling the world-systems.

They will come having their upper teeth biting the nether lip; their eyes glassy; their hairs tied up on the top of the head; big-bellied, narrow-waisted;

holding a [karmic] record-board in the hand; giving utterance from their mouth to sounds of 'Strike! Slay!’, licking [human] brain, drinking blood, tearing heads from corpses, tearing out [the] hearts: thus will [they] come, filling the worlds.

O nobly-born, when such thought-forms emanate, be thou not afraid, nor terrified; the body which now thou possess being a mental-body of [karmic] propensities, though slain and chopped [to bits], cannot die.

Because thy body is, in reality, one of voidness, thou need not fear.

The [bodies of the] Lord of Death, too, are emanations from the radiances of thine own intellect; they are not constituted of matter; voidness cannot injure voidness.

Beyond the emanations of thine own intellectual faculties, externally, the Peaceful and the Wrathful Ones, the Blood-Drinking Ones, the Various-Headed Ones, the rainbow lights, the terrifying forms of the Lord of Death, exist not in reality: of this, there is no doubt.

Thus, knowing this, all the fear and terror is self-dissipated; and, merging in the state of atonement, Buddhahood is obtained.

If thou recognize in that manner, exerting thy faith and affection towards the tutelary deities and believing that they have come to receive thee amidst the ambuscades of the Bardo,

think, “[I] take refuge [in them]”; and remember the Precious Trinity, exerting towards them [the Trinity] fondness and faith.

Whosoever thine own tutelary deity may be, recollect now; [and] calling him by name, pray thus:

“Alas I], wandering am I in the Bardo; run to my rescue;
Uphold me by thy grace, O Precious Tutelary!”

Calling upon the name of thine own guru, pray thus:

“[Alas!] wandering am I in the Bardo; rescue me!
[O] let not thy grace forsake me I”

Have faith in the Blood-Drinking Deities, too, and offer up this prayer:

“Alas! when [I am] wandering in the Samsara, through force of overpowering illusions,
On the light-path of the abandonment of fright, fear, and awe,
May the bands of the Bhagavāns, the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones, lead [me];
May the bands of the Wrathful Goddesses Rich in Space be [my] rear-guard,
And save me from the fearful ambuscades of the Bardo,
And place me in the state of the Perfectly-Enlightened Buddhas.
When wandering alone, separated from dear friends,
When the void forms of one’s own thoughts are shining here,
May the Buddhas, exerting the force of their grace,
Cause not to come the fear, awe, and terror in the Bardo.
When the five bright Wisdom-Lights are shining here,
May recognition come without dread and without awe;
When the divine bodies of the Peaceful and the Wrathful are shining here,
May the assurance of fearlessness be obtained and the Bardo be recognized.
When, by the power of evil karma, misery is being tasted,
May the tutelary deities dissipate the misery;
When the natural sound of Reality is reverberating [like] a thousand thunders,
May they be transmuted into the sounds of the Six Syllables.
When unprotected, karma having to be followed here,
I beseech the Gracious Compassionate [One] to protect me;
When suffering miseries of karmic propensities here,
May the blissfulness of the Clear Light dawn;
May the Five Elements not rise up as enemies;
But may I behold the realms of the Five Orders of the Enlightened Ones.”

Thus, in earnest faith and humility, offer up the prayer; whereby all fears will vanish and Buddhahood in the Sambhogakaya will undoubtedly be won: important is this.

Being undistracted, repeat it in that manner, three or [even] seven times.

However heavy the evil karma may be and however weak the remaining karma may be, it is not possible that libera­tion will not be obtained [if one but recognize].

If, never­theless, despite everything done in these [stages of the Bardo], recognition is still not brought about, then—there being danger of one’s wandering further, into the third Bardo, called the Sidpa Bardo

—the setting-face-to-face for that will be shown in detail hereinafter.