Tibetan Book of the Dead | Part 21

[THE APPENDIX]

[In our Manuscript (but not in the Block-Print), directly following the text of the Bardo Thödol, there are thirteen folios of rituals and prayers (lit., “paths of good wishes”), which all professional readers of the Bardo Thödol must know, usually from memory, and apply as needed and they are here rendered into English as follows:]

[I: THE INVOCATION OF THE BUDDHAS AND BODHISATTVAS]

[Instructions to the Officiant]:

The invoking of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for assistance, when [any one is] dying, is [thus]:

Offer up to the Trinity whatever actual offerings can be offered [by the dying person, or by his family], together with mentally-created offerings; and, holding in the hand sweet-smelling incense, repeat, with great fervency, the following:

O ye Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, abiding in the Ten Directions, endowed with great compassion, endowed with foreknowledge, endowed with the divine eye, endowed with love, affording protection to sentient beings,

condescend through the power of your great compassion to come hither; condescend to accept these offerings actually laid out and mentally created.

O ye Compassionate Ones, ye possess the wisdom of understanding, the love of compassion, the power of [doing] divine deeds and of protecting, in incomprehensible measure.

Ye Compassionate Ones, (such-and-such a person) is passing from this world to the world beyond. He is leaving this world. He is taking a great leap.

No friends [has he]. Misery is great. [He is without] defenders, without protectors, without forces and kinsmen. The light of this world has set. He goes to another place.

He enters thick darkness. He falls down a steep precipice. He enters into a jungle solitude. He is pursued by Karmic Forces. He goes into the Vast Silence. He is borne away by the Great Ocean.

He is wafted on the Wind of Karma. He goes in the direction where stability exists not. He is caught by the Great Conflict. He is obsessed by the Great Afflicting Spirit. He is awed and terrified by the Messengers of the Lord of Death.

Existing Karma putts him into repeated existence. No strength has he. He has come upon a time when he has to go alone.

O ye Compassionate Ones, defend (so-and-so) who is defenceless. Protect him who is unprotected. Be his forces and his kinsmen. Protect [him] from the great gloom of the Bardo.

Turn him from the red [or storm] wind of Karma. Turn him from the great awe and terror of the Lords of Death. Save him from the long narrow passage-way of the Bardo.

O ye Compassionate Ones, let not the force of your compassion be weak; but aid him. Let him not go into misery [or the miserable states of existence]. Forget not your ancient vows; and let not the force of your compassion be weak.

O ye Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, let not the might of the method of your compassion be weak towards this one. Catch hold of him with [the hook of] your grace. Let not the sentient being fall under the power of evil karma.

O ye Trinity, protect him from the miseries of the Bardo.

Saying this with great humility and faith, let thyself and [all] others [present] repeat it thrice.

[II:] “THE PATH OF GOOD WISHES FOR SAVING FROM THE DANGEROUS NARROW PASSAGEWAY OF THE BARDO”
is [as follows]:

[1]

O ye Conquerors and your Sons, abiding in the Ten Directions,
O ye ocean-like Congregation of the All-Good Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful,
O ye Gurus and Devas, and ye Dakinis, the Faithful Ones,
Hearken now out of [your] great love and compassion:
Obeisance, O ye assemblage of Gurus and Dakinis;
Out of your great love, lead us along the Path.

[2]

When, through illusion, I and others are wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of undistracted listening, reflection, and meditation,
May the Gurus of the Inspired Line lead us,
May the bands of Mothers be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[3]

When, through violent anger, [we are] wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of the Mirror-like Wisdom,
May the Bhagavan Vajrasattva lead us,
May the Mother Māmakī be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[4]

When, through intense pride, [we are] wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of the Wisdom of Equality,
May the Bhagavan Ratnasambhava lead us,
May the Mother, She-of-the-Buddha-Eye, be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[5]

When, through great attachment, [we are] wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of the Discriminating Wisdom,
May the Bhagavan Amitabha lead us,
May the Mother, [She]-of-White-Raiment, be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[6]

When, through intense jealousy, [we are] wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of the All-Performing Wisdom,
May the Bhagavan Amoghasiddhi lead us,
May the Mother, the Faithful Tara, be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[7]

When, through intense stupidity, [we are] wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of the Wisdom of Reality,
May the Bhagavan Vairochana lead us,
May the Mother of Great Space be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[8]

When, through intense illusion, [we are] wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of the abandonment of hallucinatory fear, awe, and terror,
May the bands of the Bhagavāns of the Wrathful Ones lead us,
May the bands of the Wrathful Goddesses Rich-in-Space be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed In the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[9]

When, through intense propensities, [we are] wandering in the Samsara,
Along the bright light-path of the Simultaneously-born Wisdom,
May the heroic Knowledge-Holders lead us,
May the bands of the Mothers, the Dakinis, be our rear-guard,
May we be saved from the fearful narrow passage-way of the Bardo,
May we be placed in the state of the perfect Buddhahood.

[10]

May the ethereal elements not rise up as enemies;
May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Blue Buddha.
May the watery elements not rise up as enemies;
May it come that we shall see the Realm of the White Buddha.
May the earthy elements not rise up as enemies;
May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Yellow Buddha.
May the fiery elements not rise up as enemies;
May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Red Buddha.
May the airy elements not rise up as enemies;
May it come that we shall see the Realm of the Green Buddha.
May the elements of the rainbow colours not rise up as enemies;
May it come that all the Realms of the Buddhas will be seen. May it come that all the Sounds [in the Bardo] will be known as one’s own sounds;
May it come that all the Radiances will be known as one’s own radiances;
May it come that the Tri-Kaya will be realized in the Bardo.

[III:] Here begins
“THE ROOT VERSES OF THE SIX BARDOS”:

[1]

O now, when the Birthplace Bardo upon me is dawning!
Abandoning idleness—there being no idleness in [a devotee’s] life—
Entering into the Reality undistractedly, listening, reflecting, and meditating,
Carrying on to the Path [knowledge of the true nature of] appearances and of mind, may the Tri-Kaya be realized:
Once that the human form has been attained,
May there be no time [or opportunity] in which to idle it [or human life] away.

[2]

O now, when the Dream Bardo upon, me is dawning!
Abandoning the inordinate corpse-like sleeping of the sleep of stupidity,
May the consciousness undistractedly be kept in its natural state;
Grasping the [true nature of] dreams, [may I] train [myself] in the Clear Light of Miraculous Transformation:
Acting not like the brutes in slothfulness,
May the blending of the practising of the sleep [state] and actual [or waking] experience be highly valued [by me].

[3]

O now, when the Dhyāna Bardo upon me is dawning!
Abandoning the whole mass of distractions and illusions,
May [the mind] be kept in the mood of endless undistracted Samādhi,
May firmness both in the visualizing and in the perfected [stages] be obtained:
At this time, when meditating one-pointedly, with [all other] actions put aside,
May I not fall under the power of misleading, stupefying passions.

[4]

O now, when the Bardo of the Moment of Death upon me is dawning!
Abandoning attraction and craving, and weakness for all [worldly things],
May I be undistracted in the space of the bright [enlightening] teachings,
May I [be able to] transfuse myself into the heavenly space of the Unborn:
The hour has come to part with this body composed of flesh and blood;
May I know the body to be impermanent and illusory.

[5]

O now, when the Bardo of the Reality upon me is dawning,
Abandoning all awe, fear, and terror of all [phenomena],
May I recognize whatever appears as being mine own thought-forms,
May I know them to be apparitions in the Intermediate State;
[It has been said], “There arrives a time when the chief turning-point is reached;
Fear not the bands of the Peaceful and Wrathful, Who are thine own thought-forms”.

[6]

O now, when the Bardo of [taking] Rebirth upon me is dawning!
One-pointedly holding fast to a single wish,
[May I be able to] continue the course of good deeds through repeated efforts;
May the womb-door be closed and the revulsion recollected:
The hour has come when energy and pure love are needed;
[May I] cast off jealousy and meditate upon the Guru, the Father-Mother.

[7]

[“O] procrastinating one, who thinks not of the coming of death,
Devoting thyself to the useless doings of this life,
Improvident art thou in dissipating thy great opportunity;
Mistaken, indeed, will thy purpose be now if thou return empty-handed [from this life]:
Since the Holy Dharma is known to be thy true need,
Will thou not devote [thyself] to the Holy Dharma even now?”

[Epilogue]

Thus say the Great Adepts in devotion.
If the chosen teaching of the guru be not borne in mind,
Will thou not [O śiṣya] be acting even as a traitor to thyself?
It is of great importance that these Root Words be known.

[IV:] Here begins
“THE PATH OF GOOD WISHES WHICH PRO- TECTETH FROM FEAR IN THE BARDO”:

[1]

When the cast [of the dice] of my life has become exhausted,
The relatives in this world avail me not;
When I wander alone by myself in the Bardo,
[O] ye Conquerors, Peaceful and Wrathful, exercising the power of your compassion,
Let it come that the Gloom of Ignorance be dispelled.

[2]

When wandering alone, parted from loving friends,
When the shapes of mine empty thought-forms dawn upon me here,
[May the] Buddhas, exerting the power of their divine compassion,
Cause it to come that there be neither awe nor terror in the Bardo.

[3]

When the bright radiances of the Five Wisdoms shine upon me now,
Let it come that I, neither awed nor terrified, may recognize them to be of myself;
When the apparitions of the Peaceful and Wrathful forms are dawning upon me here,
Let it come that I, obtaining the assurance of fearlessness, may recognize the Bardo.

[4]

When experiencing miseries, because of the force of evil karma,
Let it come that the Conquerors, the Peaceful and Wrathful, may dispel the miseries;
When the self-existing Sound of Reality reverberates [like] a thousand thunders,
Let it come that they be transmuted into the sounds of the Mahayana Doctrines.

[5]

When [I am] unprotected, [and] karmic influences have to be followed here,
I beseech the Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful, to protect me;
When suffering miseries, because of the karmic influence of propensities,
Let it come that the blissful Samādhi of the Clear Light may dawn [upon me].

[6]

When assuming supernormal rebirth in the Sidpa Bardo,
Let it come that the perverting revelations of Mara occur not therein;
When I arrive wheresoever I wish to,
Let it come that I experience not the illusory fright and awe from evil karma.

[7]

When the roaring of savage beasts are uttered,
Let it come that they be changed into the sacred sounds of the Six Syllables;
When pursued by snow, rain, wind, and darkness,
Let it come that I see with the celestial eyes of bright Wisdom.

[8]

Let it come that all sentient beings of the same harmonious order in the Bardo,
Without jealousy [towards one another], obtain birth on the higher planes;
When [destined to] suffering from intense miseries of hunger and thirst,
Let it come that I experience not the pangs of hunger and thirst, heat and cold.

[9]

When I behold the future parents in union,
Let it come that I behold them as the [Divine] Pair, the Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful Father and Mother;
Obtaining the power of being born anywhere, for the good of others,
Let it come that I obtain the perfect body, adorned with the signs and the graces.

[10]

Obtaining for myself the body of a male [which is] the better,
Let it come that I liberate all who see or hear me;
Allowing not the evil karma to follow me,
Let it come that whatever merits [be mine] follow me and be multiplied.

[11]

Wherever I be born, there and then,
Let it come that I meet the Conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful Deities;
Being able to walk and to talk as soon as [I am] born,
Let it come that I obtain the non-forgetting intellect and remember my past life [or lives].

 [12]

In all the various lores, great, small, and intermediate,
Let it come that I be able to obtain mastery merely upon hearing, reflecting, and seeing;
In whatever place I be born, let it be auspicious;
Let it come that all sentient beings be endowed with happiness.

[13]

Ye Conquerors, Peaceful and Wrathful, in likeness to your bodies,
[Number of your] followers, duration of your life-period, limit of your realms,
And [in likeness to the] goodness of your divine name,
Let it come that I, and others, equal your very selves in all these.

[14]

By the divine grace of the innumerable All-Good Peaceful and Wrathful [Ones],
And by the gift-waves of the wholly pure Reality,
[And] by the gift-waves of the one-pointed devotion of the mystic devotees,
Let it come that whatsoever be wished for be fulfilled here and now.

“The Path of Good Wishes Affording Protection from Fears in the Bardo” is finished.

THE CONCLUDING SEVEN VERSES

[V: THE COLOPHON]

[The Manuscript concludes with the following seven verses by the Lama or scribe who compiled it, but he—faithful to the old Lamaism teaching that the human personality should be self-abased and the Scriptures alone exalted before the gaze of sentient creatures—has not recorded his name:]

Through the perfectly pure intention of mine
In the making of this, through the root of the merits thereof,
[May] those protectorless sentient beings, Mothers,
[Be] placed in the State of the Buddha:
Let the radiant glory of auspiciousness come to illuminate the world;
Let this Book be auspicious;
Let virtue and goodness be perfected in every way.

[Here ends the Manuscript of the Bardo Thödol.]