Tibetan Book of the Dead | Part 16


[Instructions to the Officiant]:

Say that; for by such set­ting-face-to-face, despite the previous non-liberation, libera­tion ought surely to be obtained here.

Possibly, [however,] liberation may not be obtained even after that setting-face- to-face; and earnest and continued application being essential, again calling the deceased by name, speak as follows:

O nobly-born, thy immediate experiences will be of momen­tary joys followed by momentary sorrows, of great intensity, like the [taut and relaxed] mechanical actions of catapults. Be not in the least attached [to the joys] nor displeased [by the sorrows] of that.

If thou art to be born on a higher plane, the vision of that higher plane will be dawning upon thee.

Thy living relatives may—by way of dedication for the benefit of thee deceased—be sacrificing many animals, and performing religious ceremonies, and giving alms.

Thou, because of thy vision not being purified, may be inclined to grow very angry at their actions and bring about, at this moment, thy birth in Hell:

whatever those left behind thee may be doing, act thou so that no angry thought can arise in thee, and meditate upon love for them.

Furthermore, even if thou feel attached to the worldly goods thou have left behind, or, because of seeing such worldly goods of thine in the possession of other people and being enjoyed by them,

thou should feel attached to them through weakness, or feel angry with thy successors, that feeling will affect the psychological moment in such a way that, even though thou were destined to be born on higher and happier planes, thou will be obliged to be born in Hell, or in the world of pretas [or unhappy ghosts].

On the other hand, even if thou art attached to worldly goods left behind, thou will not be able to possess them, and they will be of no use to thee.

Therefore, abandon weakness and attachment for them; cast them away wholly; renounce them from thy heart. No matter who may be enjoying thy worldly goods, have no feeling of miserliness, but be prepared to renounce them willingly.

Think that thou art offering them to the Precious Trinity and to thy guru, and abide in the feeling of unattachment, devoid of weakness [of desire].

Again, when any recitation of the Kamkanī Mantra is being made on thy behalf as a funeral rite, or when any rite for the absolving of bad karma liable to bring about thy birth in lower regions is being performed for thee,

the sight of their being conducted in an incorrect way, mixed up with sleep and distraction and non-observance of the vows and lack of purity [on the part of any officiant], and such things indicating levity —

all of which thou will be able to see because thou art endowed with limited karmic power of prescience—thou may feel lack of faith and entire dis­belief [in thy religion].

Thou will be able to apprehend any fear and fright, any black actions, irreligious conduct, and incorrectly recited rituals.

In thy mind thou may think, “Alas! they are, indeed, playing me false”. Thinking thus, thou will be extremely depressed, and, through great resentment, thou will acquire disbelief and loss of faith, instead of affection and humble trustfulness.

This affecting the psychological moment, thou will be certain to be born in one of the miserable states. Such [thought] will not only be of no use to thee, but will do thee great harm.

However incorrect the ritual and im­proper the conduct of the priests performing thy funeral rites, [think]:

What! mine own thoughts must be impure! How can it be possible that the words of the Buddha should be incorrect? It is like the reflection of the blemishes on mine own face which I see in a mirror; mine own thoughts must [indeed] be impure.

As for these [i. e. the priests], the Sangha is their body, the Dharma their utterance, and in their mind they are the Buddha in reality: I will take refuge in them”.

Thus thinking, put thy trust in them and exercise sincere love towards them. Then whatever is done for thee [by those] left behind will truly tend to thy benefit. Therefore the exercise of that love is of much importance; do not forget this.

Again, even if thou were to be born in one of the miserable states and the light of that miserable state shone upon thee,

yet by thy successors and relatives performing white religious rites unmixed with evil actions, and the abbots and learned priests devoting themselves, body, speech, and mind, to the performance of the correct meritorious rituals,

the delight from thy feeling greatly cheered at seeing them will, by its own virtue, so affect the psychological moment that, even though thou deserve a birth in the unhappy states, there will be brought about thy birth on a higher and happier plane.

[Therefore] thou should not create impious thoughts, but exercise pure affection and humble faith towards all impartially. This is highly important. Hence be extremely careful.

O nobly-born, to sum up:

thy present intellect in the Inter­mediate State having no firm object whereon to depend, being of little weight and continuously in motion, whatever thought occurs to thee now—be it pious or impious—will wield great power;

therefore think not in thy mind of im­pious things, but recall any devotional exercises; or, if thou were unaccustomed to any such exercises, [show forth] pure affection and humble faith;

pray to the Compassionate One, or to thy tutelary deities; with full resolve, utter this prayer:

“Alas! while wandering alone, separated from loving friends,
When the vacuous, reflected body of mine own mental ideas dawns upon me,
May the Buddhas, vouchsafing their power of compassion,
Grant that there shall be no fear, awe, or terror in the Bardo.
When experiencing miseries, through the power of evil karma,
May the tutelary deities dispel the miseries.
When the thousand thunders of the Sound of Reality re¬verberate,
May they all be sounds of the Six Syllables.
When Karma follows, without there being any protector,
May the Compassionate One protect me, I pray.
When experiencing the sorrows of karmic propensities here,
May the radiance of the happy clear light of Samādhi shine upon me.”

Earnest prayer in this form will be sure to guide thee along; thou may rest assured that thou will not be deceived. Of great importance is this: through that being recited, again recollection comes; and recognition and liberation will be achieved.