Tibetan Book of the Dead | Part 3



Thus the primary Clear Light is recognized and Liberation attained.

But if it be feared that the primary Clear Light has not been recognized, then [it can certainly be assumed] there is dawning [upon the deceased] that called the secondary Clear Light, which dawns in somewhat more than a meal­time period after that the expiration has ceased.

According to one’s good or bad karma, the vital-force flows down into either the right or left nerve and goes out through any of the apertures [of the body].

Then comes a lucid condition of the mind.

To say that the state [of the primary Clear Light] endures for a meal-time period [would depend upon] the good or bad condition of the nerves and also whether there has been previous practice or not [in the setting-face-to-face].

When the consciousness-principle gets outside [the body, it says to itself], “Am I dead, or am I not dead?“ It cannot determine.

It sees its relatives and connexions as it had been used to seeing them before. It even hears the wailings.

The terrifying karmic illusions have not yet dawned. Nor have the frightful apparitions or experiences caused by the Lords of Death yet come.

During this interval, the directions are to be applied [by the lama or reader]:

There are those [devotees] of the perfected stage and of the visualizing stage:

If it be one who was in the perfected stage, then call him thrice by name and repeat over and over again the above instructions of setting-face-to-face with the Clear Light.

If it be one who was in the visualizing stage, then read out to him the introductory descriptions and the text of the Meditation on his tutelary deity, and then say:

O thou of noble-birth, meditate upon thine own tutelary deity.—[Here the deity’s name is to be mentioned by the reader.] Do not be distracted.

Earnestly concentrate thy mind upon thy tutelary deity. Meditate upon him as if he were the reflection of the moon in water, apparent yet in- existent [in itself]. Meditate upon him as if he were a being with a physical body.

So saying, [the reader will] impress it.

If [the deceased be] of the common folk, say:

Meditate upon the Great Compassionate Lord.

By thus being set-face-to-face even those who would not be expected to recognize the Bardo [unaided] are undoubtedly certain to recognize it.

Persons who while living had been set face to face [with the Reality] by a guru, yet who have not made themselves familiar with it, will not be able to recognize the Bardo clearly by themselves.

Either a guru or a brother in the Faith will have to impress vividly such persons.

There may be even those who have made themselves familiar with the teachings, yet who, because of the violence of the disease causing death, may be mentally unable to withstand illusions. For such, also, this instruction is abso­lutely necessary.

Again [there are those] who, although previously familiar with the teachings, have become liable to pass into the miserable states of existence, owing to breach of vows or failure to perform essential obligations honestly. To them, this [instruction] is indispensable.

If the first stage of the Bardo has been taken by the forelock, that is best. But if not, by application of this distinct recalling [to the deceased], while in the second stage of the Bardo, his intellect is awakened and attains liberation.

While on the second stage of the Bardo, one’s body is of the nature of that called the shining illusory-body.

Not knowing whether [he be] dead or not, [a state of] lucidity comes [to the deceased].

If the instructions be successfully applied to the deceased while he is in that state, then, by the meeting of the Mother-Reality and the Offspring- Reality, karma controls not.

Like the sun’s rays, for example, dispelling the darkness, the Clear Light on the Path dispels the power of karma.

That which is called the second stage of the Bardo dawns upon the thought-body. The Knower hovers within those places to which its activities had been limited.

If at this time this special teaching be applied efficiently, then the purpose will be fulfilled; for the karmic illusions will not have come yet, and, therefore, he [the deceased] cannot be turned hither and thither [from his aim of achieving En­lightenment].