Tibetan Book of the Dead | Part 7



Being thus set face to face at various stages, however weak one’s karmic connexions may be, one should have recognized in one or the other of them; and where one has recognized in any of them it is impossible not to be liberated.

Yet, although set face to face so very often in that manner, one long habituated to strong propensities and lacking in familiarity with, and pure affection for Wisdom, may be led backwards by the power of one’s own evil inclinations despite these many introductions.

The hook-rays of the light of grace may not be able to catch hold of one: one may still wander downwards because of one’s begetting the feeling of awe and terror of the lights and rays.

Thereupon all the Divine Fathers-Mothers of the Five Orders [of Dhyani Buddhas] with their attendants will come to shine upon one simultaneously.

At the same time, the lights proceeding from the Six Lokas will likewise come to shine upon one simultaneously.

The setting-face-to-face for that is, calling the deceased by name, thus:

O nobly-born, until yesterday each of the Five Orders of Deities had shone upon thee, one by one; and thou had been set face to face, but, owing to the influence of thine evil propensities, thou were awed and terrified by them and have remained here till now.

If thou hadst recognized the radiances of the Five Orders of Wisdom to be the emanations from thine own thought- forms, ere this thou would have obtained Buddhahood in the Sambhogakaya, through having been absorbed into the halo of rainbow light in one or another of the Five Orders of Buddhas.

But now look on undistractedly. Now the lights of all Five Orders, called the Lights of the Union of Four Wisdoms, will come to receive thee. Act so as to know them.

O nobly-born, on this the Sixth Day, the four colours of the primal states of the four elements [water, earth, fire, air] will shine upon thee simultaneously.

At that time, from the Central Realm of the Spreading Forth of Seed, the Buddha Vairochana, the Divine Father-Mother, with the attendant [deities], will come to shine upon thee.

From the Eastern Realm of Pre-eminent Happiness, the Buddha Vajrasattva, the Divine Father-Mother, with the attendant [deities] will come to shine upon thee.

From the Southern Realm endowed with Glory, the Buddha Ratna-Sambhava, the Divine Father-Mother, with the attendant [deities] will come to shine upon thee.

From the Happy Western Realm of Heaped-up Lotuses, the Buddha Amitabha, the Divine Father-Mother, along with the attendant [deities] will come to shine upon thee.

From the Northern Realm of Perfected Good Deeds, the Buddha Amoghasiddhi, the Divine Father-Mother, along with the attendants will come, amidst a halo of rainbow light, to shine upon | thee at this very moment.

O nobly-born, on the outer circle of these five pair of Dhyani Buddhas,

the [four] Door-Keepers, the Wrathful [Ones]: the Victorious One, the Destroyer of the Lord of Death, the Horse-necked King, the Urn of Nectar;

with the four female Door-keepers: the Goad-Bearer, the Noose-Bearer, the Chain-Bearer, and the Bell-Bearer;

along with the Buddha of the Devas, named the One of Supreme Power, the Buddha of the Asuras, named [He of] Strong Texture, the Buddha of Mankind, named the Lion of the Shakyas,

the Buddha of the brute kingdom, named the Unshakable Lion, the Buddha of the Pretas, named the One of Flaming Mouth, and the Buddha of the Lower World, named the King of Truth:

—[these], the Eight Father- Mother Door-keepers and the Six Teachers, the Victorious Ones—will come to shine, too.

The All-Good Father, and the All-Good Mother, the Great Ancestors of all the Buddhas: Samantabhadra [and Samantabhadra], the Divine Father and the Divine Mother— these two, also will come to shine.

These forty-two perfectly endowed deities, issuing from within thy heart, being the product of thine own pure love, will come to shine. Know them.

O nobly-born, these realms are not coming from somewhere outside [thyself]. They come from within the four divisions of thy heart, which, including its centre, make the five direc­tions. They issue from within there, and shine upon thee.

The deities, too, are not coming from somewhere else: they exist from eternity within the faculties of thine own intellect. Know them to be of that nature.

O nobly-born, the size of all these deities is not large, not small, [but] proportionate. [They have] their ornaments, their colours, their sitting postures, their thrones, and the emblems that each holds.

These deities are formed into groups of five pairs, each group of five being surrounded by a fivefold circle of radiances, the male Bodhisattvas partaking of the nature of the Divine Fathers, and the female Bodhisattvas par­taking of the nature of the Divine Mothers.

All these divine conclaves will come to shine upon thee in one com­plete conclave. They are thine own tutelary deities. Know them to be such.

O nobly-born, from the hearts of the Divine Fathers and Mothers of the Five Orders, the rays of light of the Four Wisdoms united, extremely clear and fine, like the rays of the sun spun into threads, will come and shine upon thee and strike against thy heart.

On that path of radiance there will come to shine glorious orbs of light, blue in colour, emitting rays, the Dharma- Dhātu Wisdom [itself], each appearing like an inverted turquoise cup,

surrounded by similar orbs, smaller in size, glorious and dazzling, radiant and transparent, each made more glorious with five yet smaller [satellite] orbs dotted round about with five starry spots of light of the same nature,

leaving neither the centre nor the borders [of the blue light-path] unglorified by the orbs and the smaller [satellite] orbs.

From the heart of Vajrasattva, the white light-path of the Mirror-like Wisdom, white and transparent, glorious and dazzling, glorious and terrifying, made more glorious with orbs surrounded by smaller orbs of transparent and radiant light upon it, each like an inverted mirror, will come to shine.

From the heart of Ratna-Sambhava, the yellow light-path of the Wisdom of Equality, [glorified] with yellow orbs [of radiance], each like an inverted gold cup, surrounded by smaller orbs, and these with yet smaller orbs, will come to shine.

From the heart of Amitabha, the transparent, bright red light-path of the Discriminating Wisdom, upon which are orbs, like inverted coral cups, emitting rays of Wisdom, extremely bright and dazzling, each glorified with five [satellite] orbs of the same nature,

—leaving neither the centre nor the borders [of the red light-path] unglorified with orbs and smaller satellite orbs,—will come to shine.

These will come to shine against thy heart simultaneously.

O nobly-born, all those are the radiances of thine own intellectual faculties coming to shine. They have not come from any other place.

Be not attracted towards them; be not weak; be not terrified ; but abide in the mood of non- thought- formation. In that state all the forms and radiances will merge into thyself, and Buddhahood will be obtained.

The green light-path of the Wisdom of Perfected Actions will not shine upon thee, because the Wisdom-faculty of thine intellect has not been perfectly developed.

O nobly-born, those are called the Lights of the Four Wisdoms United, [whence proceeds that] which is called the Inner Path through Vajra-Sattva.

At that time, thou must remember the teachings of the setting-face-to-face which thou have had from thy guru.

If thou have remembered the purport of the settings-face- to-face, thou would have recognized all these lights which have shone upon thee, as being the reflection of thine own inner light,

and, having recognized them as intimate friends, thou would have believed in them and have understood [them at] the meeting, as a son understands his mother.

And believing in the unchanging nature of the pure and holy Truth, thou wilt have had produced in thee the tranquil-flowing Samādhi;

and, having merged into the body of the perfectly evolved intellect, thou wilt have obtained Buddhahood in the Sambhogakaya, whence there is no return.

O nobly-born, along with the radiances of Wisdom, the impure illusory lights of the Six Lokas will also come to shine.

If it be asked, “What are they?”

[they are] a dull white light from the devas, a dull green light from the asuras, a dull yellow light from human beings, a dull blue light from the brutes, a dull reddish light from the pretas, and a dull smoke-coloured light from Hell.

These six thus will come to shine, along with the six radiances of Wisdom; whereupon, be not afraid of nor be attracted towards any, but allow thy­self to rest in the non-thought condition.

If thou art frightened by the pure radiances of Wisdom and attracted by the impure lights of the Six Lokas, then thou wilt assume a body in any of the Six Lokas and suffer samsaric miseries;

and thou wilt never be emancipated from the Ocean of Samsara, wherein thou wilt be whirled round and round and made to taste of the sufferings thereof.

O nobly-born, if thou art one who has not obtained the select words of the guru, thou wilt have fear of the pure radiances of Wisdom and of the deities thereof. Being thus frightened, thou wilt be attracted towards the impure samsaric objects. Act not so.

Humbly trust in the dazzling pure radiances of Wisdom. Frame thy mind to faith, and think: “The compassionate radiances of Wisdom of the Five Orders of Buddhas have come to take hold of me out of compassion; I take refuge in them.”

Not yielding to attraction towards the illusory lights of the Six Lokas, but devoting thy whole mind one-pointedly towards the Divine Fathers and Mothers, the Buddhas of the Five Orders, pray thus:

“Alas! when wandering in the Samsara through the power of the five virulent poisons,
On the bright radiance-path of the Four Wisdoms united,
May [I] be led by the Five Victorious Conquerors,
May the Five Orders of Divine Mothers be [my] rear¬-guard;
May [I] be rescued from the impure light-paths of the Six Lokas;
And, being saved from the ambuscades of the dread Bardo,
May [I] be placed within the five pure Divine Realms.”

By thus praying, one recognizes one’s own inner light; and, merging one’s self therein, in atonement, Buddhahood is attained:

through humble faith, the ordinary devotee cometh to know himself, and obtains Liberation;

even the most lowly, by the power of the pure prayer, can close the doors of the Six Lokas, and, in understanding the real meaning of the Four Wisdoms united, obtain Buddhahood by the hollow path­way through Vajra-Sattva.

Thus by being set face to face in that detailed manner, those who are destined to be liberated will come to recognize [the Truth]; thereby many will attain Liberation.

The worst of the worst, [those] of heavy evil karma, having not the least predilection for any religion—and some who have failed in their vows—through the power of karmic illusions, not recognizing, although set face to face [with Truth], will stray downwards.