The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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''Root Verses of the Bardo''
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From the Tibetan Book of the Dead translated by Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup and edited by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, © 1960 by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, pp 197 - 209
The invocation of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
Oh Buddhas and Bodhisattvas abiding in the ten directions, endowed with great compassion, endowed with pre-knowledge, endowed with impeccable vision, endowed with love, affording protection to sentient beings, consend through the power of your great compassion to accept these offerings actually laid out and mentally created.
Oh you compassionate ones possessing the wisdom of understanding, the love of compassion, the power of acting, and of protecting in incomprehensible measure, one is passing through this world and leaving it behind. No friends does (s)he have, (s)he is without defenders, without protectors and kinsmen. The light of this world has set. (s)he goes from place to place, (s)he enters darkness, (s)he falls down a steep precipice, (s)he enters a jungle of solitude, (s)he is pursued by karmic forces, (s)he goes into a vast silence, (s)he is borne away on the great ocean, (s)he is wafted on the wind of karma, (s)he goes where there is no certainty, (s)he is caught in the great conflict, (s)he is obsessed by the great affecting spirit, (s)he is awed and terrified by the messengers of death. Existing karma has put hir into repeated existence and no strength does (s)he have although the time has come to go alone.
Oh you compassionate ones, defend who is defenseless, protect who is unprotected, be his kinsman, protect hir from the suffering in the depression of the Bardo, turn hir from the storm wind of karma, turn hir from the great awe and terror of the Lords of Death, liberate hir from the long narrow way of the Bardo.
Oh compassionate ones who do not allow the force of your compassion to be weakened in assistance, who do not allow one to be in the miserable states of existence, forget not your ancient vows, you who do not allow sentient being to be influenced by habit, and protect from the misery of the Bardo.
Oh conquerors and your offspring abiding in the ten directions, Oh ocean congregation of the peaceful and the wrathful, Oh gurus and devas, you dakinis and faithful ones, Hearken now out of your great love and compassion, Obeisance to you, oh assemblage of gurus and dakinis, Out of your great love, lead us along the path.
When through illusion, I and others are wandering in samsara, Along the bright light path of undistracted listening, reflecting and meditating, May the gurus of the inspired line lead us, May the bands of mothers be our protectors, May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
When through violent anger one is wandering in samsara, Along the bright light path of the wisdom of reflection, May the Bhagavan, Vajra-Sattva lead us, May the Mother Mamaki be our protector, May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
When through intense pride one is wandering in samsara, Along the bright light path of the wisdom of equality, May the Bhagavan Ratna-Sambhava lead us, May the Mother of She-who-is-the-Buddha-Eye be our protector, May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
When, through great attachment one is wandering in samsara, Along the bright light path of discriminating wisdom, May the Bhagavan Amitabha lead us May the Mother, She-of-white-raiment be our protector May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
When, through intense jealousy one is wandering in samsara, Along the bright light path of perfected action, May the Bhagavan Amogha Siddhi lead us May the Mother, the faithful Tara be our protector May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
When, through intense stupidity one is wandering in 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 protector May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
When, through intense illusion one is wandering in samsara, Along the bright light path of abandoning hallucinations of fear, awe, and terror, May the Bands of the Bhagavans of the Wrathful Ones lead us May the Bands of Wrathful Goddesses, Rich in Space, be our protectors, May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
When, through intense conditioning one is wandering in samsara, Along the bright light path of Simultaneously-born Wisdom, May the heroic knowledge- holding deities lead us May the Bands of the Mothers, the Dakinis, be our protectors May we be liberated from the fearful narrow passage of the Bardo, May we be placed in the state of perfect enlightenment.
May the ethereal elements not rise up as enemies; May we come to see the realm of the white Buddha. May the watery elements not rise up as enemies; May we come to see the realm of the Blue Buddha. May the earthy elements not rise up as enemies; May we come to see the realm of the Yellow Buddha. May the fiery elements not rise up as enemies; May we come to see the realm of the Red Buddha. May the airy elements not rise up as enemies; May we come to see the realm of the Green Buddha. May the elements of these rainbow colors 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, And may it come that the Tri-Kaya be realized in the Bardo.
Here begins the Root Verses of the Six Bardos:
O now when the Birthplace Bardo is dawning in one's mind Abandoning idleness as there is none in a devotee's life Entering into reality undistractedly listening, reflecting and meditating, Carrying on to the path knowing the true nature of appearances of mind, May the Tri-Kaya be realized: Once that the human form is accomplished, May there be no time as opportunity in which to idle it away.
O now when the dream bardo is dawning in one's mind Abandoning the inordinate corpse-like sleeping of the sleep of stupidity, May the mind undistractedly remain in it's natural state In understanding the actual nature of dreams Practice in the clear light of miraculous transformation Acting not like brutes in slothfulness May the blending of sleep and actual waking experience be of value.
O now when the Dhyana bardo is dawning in one's mind Abandoning the whole mass of distractions and illusions May the mind remain in the mood of timeless undistracted Samadhi May there be accomplishment in visualization and perfection At this time, one-pointedly with all other actions put aside May one not fall under the power of if misleading stupefying passions.
O now when the bardo of the moment of death is dawning in one's mind Abandoning all awe, fear and terror of all phenomena May one recognize that whatever appears as being one's own thought forms May one know them as apparitions of the intermediate state It is said, there comes a time when a turning point is reached. Fear not the forms of the peaceful and wrathful who are one's own thought forms.
O now when the bardo of rebirth is dawning in one's mind With one single wish, join with the results of meritious acts May the door of the womb be closed and the revulsion recollected The time has come when energy and pure love are needed May one cast off jealousy and meditate upon the father-mother
O procrastinating one, who thinks not of the coming of death Devoting oneself to the useless doings of this life, Improvident one is in dissipating ones opportunity Mistaken indeed would ones purpose be now if one returns empty handed Since Dharma is one's need, would one not devote oneself to the Dharma even now?
Thus say the Great Adepts in devotion If the chosen teaching of the guru not be borne in mind Would one not be acting as a traitor to oneself? It is of great importance that these root words be heard.
Here begins "The Path of Good Wishes Which Protects from Fear in the Bardo":
When the cast of chance of one's life is exhausted The relatives of the world avail one not When wandering alone by oneself in the bardo O you conquerors, peaceful and wrathful, exercising the power of your compassion Let it come that the gloom of ignorance is dispelled
When wandering alone, parted from loving friends When the shapes of one's empty thought-forms dawn upon one here May the Buddhas, exercising the power of their divine compassion That there be neither awe nor terror in the bardo
When the bright radiances of the five wisdoms shines upon one now May one, neither awed or terrified recognize them to be of oneself When the apparitions of the Peaceful and the Wrathful forms are dawning upon ones mind Let it be that with the assurance of fearlessness that one recognizes the bardo
When experiencing miseries because of the results of one's actions Let it be that the conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful dispel the miseries When the self-originating sound of reality reverberates like a thousand thunders Let it be that they are transmuted into the sounds of the Mahayana.
When one is unprotected and habitual influences have been followed here Beseech the conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful for their protection When suffering miseries because of habitual propensities Let it be the blissful Samadhi of clear light dawning upon ones mind
When assuming supernormal rebirth in the Sidpa Bardo Let it be that the perverting revelations of Mara do not occur within When ones mind arrives wheresoever one wishes Let it be that one not experience the illusory fright and awe from karma.
When the roarings of savage beasts are uttered Let it be that they are transformed into the Six Syllables (the mantra of the jewel in the lotus) When pursued by snow, rain, wind and darkness Let it be that one sees with the celestial eyes of bright wisdom
Let it be that all sentient beings of the same harmonious order in the bardo Without jealousy obtain re-birth in the Buddhalands When suffering from intense miseries of hunger and thirst Let it be that one not experience the pangs of hunger and thirst, heat and cold.
When beholding one's parents in union Let it be that one see them as the divine pair, The conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful, Father and Mother. With the ability of being born anywhere for the benefit of others May one be endowed with signs and graces
Obtaining for oneself a body, Let it be one that liberates all Without allowing karma to follow Let it be the merits which follow and be multiplied
Wherever one is born, there and then Let it be that one meets the conquerors, the Peaceful and the Wrathful. With the ability to walk and talk at birth, May it come that one accomplishes the non-forgetting intellect And remember all ones past lives.
In all the various lores, great, small and intermediate Let it be that one masters hearing, reflecting and seeing In whatever place one is born let it be auspicious And may all sentient beings be endowed with happiness
O you conquerors, Peaceful and Wrathful, in likeness to your bodies, The number of your followers, duration of your life period, limits of your realms. And in the likeness of ones divine nature Let it be that all others equal you in every way
By the gift-waves if the innumerable Peaceful and Wrathful deities And by the gift-waves of the wholly pure reality And by the gift-waves of the one- pointed devotion of the mystics Let it be that whatever is wished for be fulfilled here and now.
Through perfectly pure intention In the making of this, through the roots of the merits thereof May the protectorless sentient beings, Mothers, Be placed in the state of the Buddha Let the radiant glory illuminate Jambudvipa (this world) Let this treatise be auspicious And let goodness and virtue be perfected in every way.
(credited to the precious guru, Padma Sambhava)
The Path of Liberation Through Hearing, Reflecting, and Seeing in the Bardo
Throughout the six realms of samsaric existence this teaching is known as "Liberation Through Hearing and Reflecting". It is not necessary to understand what this teaching means, but rather in simply listening to the words and letting one's own interpretations do the rest. The title means just what it says, particularly the use of the word "through". These teachings are the "Root Verses of the Bardo Thodol", the transition, state of change, life flux, basis of duality, between birth and death; a description of conditioned arising. The deities mentioned are representative of the different aspects of consciousness in one's own mind, and do not represent some external divine being. They form a mandala, a recognizable pattern of archetypal conscious thought forms. Psychologically, they are known to the individual minds of samsaric beings as expressions of egocentricism, namely: (1)ignorance,(2)jealousy, (3)desire, (4)pride, and (5)hatred, as well as the corresponding collective alternatives as
The attributes 2 through 4 constitute the first(1). This teaching is important because of the changes in consciousness, and is not meant to be understood as an intellectual truth or conclusion. It is applicable to uprooting the habitual tendencies of conditioning in one's own mind, but it has no utility otherwise. This teaching is tantric in nature, utilizing duality as a vehicle of skillful means for expounding this dharma and penetrates to the deepest layers of collective unconsciousness. I post it not as an effort of self-aggrandizement, but only to offer it to you without any expectations of reward or condemnation, that all sentient beings realize enlightenment.