Tibetan Book of the Dead | Part 14
[CHARACTERISTICS OF EXISTENCE IN THE INTERMEDIATE STATE]
O nobly-born, the possessor of that sort of body will see places [familiarly known on the earth-plane] and relatives [there] as one sees another in dreams.
Thou see thy relatives and connexions and speak to them, but receive no reply.
Then, seeing them and thy family weeping, thou think, “I am dead! What shall I do?” and feel great misery, just like a fish cast out [of water] on red-hot embers. Such misery thou will be experiencing at present.
But feeling miserable will avail thee nothing now. If thou hast a divine guru, pray to him. Pray to the Tutelary Deity, the Compassionate One.
Even though thou feel attachment for thy relatives and connexions, it will do thee no good. So be not attached. Pray to the Compassionate Lord; thou shall have nought of sorrow, or of terror, or of awe.
O nobly-born, when thou art driven [hither and thither] by the ever-moving wind of karma, thine intellect, having no object upon which to rest, will be like a feather tossed about by the wind, riding on the horse of breath.
Ceaselessly and involuntarily will thou be wandering about.
To all those who are weeping [thou will say], “Here I am; weep not.” But they not hearing thee, thou will think, “I am dead!” And again, at that time, thou will be feeling very miserable. Be not miserable in that way.
There will be a grey twilight-like light, both by night and by day, and at all times.
In that kind of Intermediate State thou will be either for one, two, three, four, five, six, or seven weeks, until the forty-ninth day.
It has been said that ordinarily the miseries of the Sidpa Bardo are experienced for about twenty-two days; but, because of the determining influence of karma, a fixed period is not assured.
O nobly-born, at about that time, the fierce wind of karma, terrific and hard to endure, will drive thee [onwards], from behind, in dreadful gusts.
Fear it not. That is thine own illusion. Thick awesome darkness will appear in front of thee continually, from the midst of which there will come such terror-producing utterances as ”Strike! Slay!” and similar threats. Fear these not.
In other cases, of persons of much evil karma, karmically- produced flesh-eating Rākṣasas [or demons] bearing various weapons will utter, “Strike! Slay!“ and so on, making a frightful tumult.
They will come upon one as if competing amongst themselves as to which [of them] should get hold of one. Apparitional illusions, too, of being pursued by various terrible beasts of prey will dawn.
Snow, rain, darkness, fierce blasts [of wind], and hallucinations of being pursued by many people likewise will come; [and] sounds as of mountains crumbling down, and of angry overflowing seas, and of the roaring of fire, and of fierce winds springing up.
When these sounds come, one, being terrified by them, will flee before them in every direction, not caring whither one flees.
But the way will be obstructed by three awful precipices—white, and black, and red. They will be terror- inspiring and deep, and one will feel as if one were about to fall down them.
O nobly-born, they are not really precipices; they are Anger, Lust, and Stupidity.
Know at that time that it is the Sidpa Bardo [in which thou art].
Invoking, by name, the Compassionate One, pray earnestly, thus:
“O Compassionate Lord, and my Guru, and the Precious Trinity, suffer it not that I (so-and-so by name) fall into the unhappy worlds.”
Act so as to forget this not.
Others who have accumulated merit, and devoted themselves sincerely to religion, will experience various delightful pleasures and happiness and ease in full measure.
But that class of neutral beings who have neither earned merit nor created bad karma will experience neither pleasure nor pain, but a sort of colourless stupidity of indifference.
O nobly- born, whatever comes in that manner—whatever delightful pleasures thou may experience—be not attracted by them; dote not [on them]:
think, “May the Guru and the Trinity be worshipped [with these merit-given delights]”. Abandon all doting and hankerings.
Even though thou do not experience pleasure, or pain, but only indifference, keep thine intellect in the undistracted state of the [meditation upon the] Great Symbol, without thinking that thou art meditating. This is of vast importance.
O nobly-born, at that time, at bridge-heads, in temples, by stupas of eight kinds, thou will rest a little while, but thou will not be able to remain there very long, for thine intellect has been separated from thine [earth-plane] body.
Because of this inability to loiter, thou oft-times will feel perturbed and vexed and panic-stricken. At times, thy Knower will be dim; at times, fleeting and incoherent.
Thereupon this thought will occur to thee, “Alas! I am dead! What shall I do?” and because of such thought the Knower will become saddened and the heart chilled, and thou will experience infinite misery of sorrow.
Since thou cannot rest in any one place, and feel impelled to go on, think not of various things, but allow the intellect to abide in its own [unmodified] state.
As to food, only that which has been dedicated to thee can be partaken of by thee, and no other food. As to friends at this time, there will be no certainty.
These are the indications of the wandering about on the Sidpa Bardo of the mental-body. At the time, happiness and misery will depend upon karma.
Thou will see thine own home, the attendants, relatives, and the corpse, and think, “Now I am dead! What shall I do?” and being oppressed with intense sorrow, the thought will occur to thee, “O what would I not give to possess a body!”
And so thinking, thou will be wandering hither and thither seeking a body.
Even though thou could enter thy dead body nine times over—owing to the long interval which thou hast passed in the Chönyid Bardo—
it will have been frozen if in winter, been decomposed if in summer, or, otherwise, thy relatives will have cremated it, or interred it, or thrown it into the water, or given it to the birds and beasts of prey.
Wherefore finding no place for thyself to enter into, thou will be dissatisfied and have the sensation of being squeezed into cracks and crevices amidst rocks and boulders.
The experiencing of this sort of misery occurs in the Intermediate State when seeking rebirth.
Even though thou seek a body, thou will gain nothing but trouble. Put aside the desire for a body; and permit thy mind to abide in the state of resignation, and act so as to abide therein.
By thus being set face to face, one obtains liberation from the Bardo.