Sidpa - The bardo of becoming
SIDPA - The bardo of becoming
from about the tenth day onwards they should be reminded again in these words:
O son of noble family, listen well and understand. Hell-beings, gods and the bardo body are born spontaneously. When the peaceful and wrathful deities appeared in the bardo of dharmata you did not recognise them, so you fainted with fear after five and a half days; but when you recovered your consciousness grew clear, and a body like your former one rose up. It is said in the tantra:
With the former and future material body of the body of becoming, complete with all the senses, wandering without obstruction, possessing the power of miracles resulting from karma, seen by the pure eyes of gods with the same nature.
Here ˜former means that you have a body like your former one of flesh and blood because of your memories of it, but it is also radiant and has some marks like a body of the golden age. This is the experience of a mental body, so it is called the mental body of the bardo experience. At this time, if you are going to be born as a god, you will experience the realm of the gods, and whatever you are going to be born as, jealous god, human, animal, hungry ghost or hell-being, you will have that experience. Therefore ˜former means thinking for up to four and a half days that you have a material body of memories of your former one, and ˜future means that after that you will have experiences of wherever you are going to be born later; so they say ˜former and ˜future.
Whatever projections arise at this time, do not follow them or be attracted to them or yearn for them. If you are attracted to them or yearn for them you will wander in the six realms and suffer misery.
Although the projections of the bardo of dharmata appeared until yesterday, you did not recognise them, so you had to wander here. Now, if you are able to meditate undistractedly, rest in the pure, naked mind, luminosity-emptiness, which your guru has shown you, relaxed in a state of non-grasping and non-action. You will attain liberation and not enter a womb.
If you cannot recognise, visualise your yidam or your guru above your head and feel intense devotion very strongly. This is very important. Again and again, do not be distracted.
[…] But under the influence of bad karma it is difficult to recognise, so one should say these words:
O son of noble family, listen with undistracted mind. ˜Complete with all the senses means that even if you were blind, deaf, lame and so on when you were alive, now in the bardo state your eyes sees forms, your ears hear sounds, and all your senses are clear and faultless; so it is said, ˜complete with all the senses. This is a sign that you have died and are wandering in the bardo state, so recognise, remember the instruction.
O son of noble family, ˜without obstruction means that as you are a mental body and your mind is separated from its support, you have no material body, so now you can pass back and forth even through Mount Meru, the king of mountains, or anywhere except your mothers womb and the vajra seat. [The vajra seat is the seat on which Gautama Buddha sat when he attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya.] This is a sign that you are wandering in the bardo of becoming, so remember your gurus teaching and supplicate the Lord of Great Compassion.
O son of noble family, ˜possessing the power of miracles resulting from karma means that now you have miraculous powers resulting from the force of karma in accordance with your actions, not those which come from meditation or virtues. You can circle the four continents and Mount Meru in an instant, and arrive anywhere you want instantaneously as soon as you think of it, or in the time it takes a man to stretch out and draw back his hand. But these various powers are unsuitable; do not think about them. Now you have the ability to display them without hindrance, you can perform everything you think of and there is no action you cannot do, so recognise, and supplicate your guru.
O son of noble family, ˜seen by the pure eyes of gods with the same nature means that those who are going to be born with the same nature will see one another in the bardo state, so those who are going to be born as gods will see each other. In the same way, whichever of the six realms they are going to be born in, those of the same nature will see each other. Do not yearn for them, but meditate on the Lord of Great Compassion. Seen by the pure eyes of gods also means seen by the pure divine eyes of meditators in real Samadhi, and not only that which comes from the merit of the gods. But they do not always see; if they concentrate on seeing they will see, but if not, or if their meditation is disturbed, they do not see.
O son of noble family, with a body like this you will see your home and family as though you were meeting them in a dream, but although you speak to them you will get no reply; and you will see your relatives and family weeping, so you will think, ˜I am dead, what shall I do? and you will feel intense pain like the pain of a fish rolling in hot sand. But now suffering is no use. If you have a guru, supplicate him, or supplicate the yidam, the Lord of Great Compassion. Even though you are attached to your relatives it is no use, so do not be attached. Supplicate the Lord of Great Compassion, and there will be no suffering or fear.
O son of noble family, blown by the mowing wind of karma, your mind, without support, helplessly rides the horse of wind like a feather, swaying and swinging. You will say to the mourners, ˜I am here, do not weep, but they will not receive you, so you will think, ˜I have died, and now you will feel great pain. Do not suffer like that. All the time there will be a grey haze like the grey light of an autumn dawn, neither day nor night. This kind of bardo state will last for one, two, three, five, six or seven weeks, up to forty-nine days. It is said that the suffering in the bardo of becoming generally lasts for twenty-one days, but this is not quite certain because of the influence of karma.
O son of noble family, at this time the great tornado of karma, terrifying, unbearable, whirling fiercely, will drive you from behind. Do not be afraid of it; it is your own confused projection. Dense darkness, terrifying and unbearable, will go before you, with terrible cries of ˜Strike! and ˜Kill! Do not be afraid of them. In the case of others who have done great evil, many flesh-eating demons will appear as a result of their karma, bearing various weapons, yelling warcries, shouting ˜Kill! Strike! and so on. You will feel that you are being chased by various terrifying wild animals and pursued by a great army in snow, rain, storms and darkness. There will be sounds of mountains crumbling, of lakes flooding, of fire spreading, and of fierce winds springing up. In fear you will escape wherever you can, but you will be cut off by three precipices in front of you, white, red and black, deep and dreadful, and you will be on the point of falling down them.
O son of noble family, they are not really precipices, they are aggression, passion and ignorance. Recognise this now to be the bardo of becoming, and call the name of the Lord of Great Compassion: ˜O lord of Great Compassion, my guru, the Three Jewels, do not let me (name), fall into hell. Supplicate fervently like this; do not forget.
In the case of others who have gatered merit and were virtuous and practiced dharma sincerely, all kinds of perfect enjoyment will invite them, and they will experience all kinds of perfect bliss and happiness. In the case of those who were indifferent and ignorant, who did neither good nor evil, they will not experience pleasure or pain, but only ignorance and indifference will appear. Whatever arises like this, O son of noble family, whatever pleasures and objects of desire, do not be attracted to them or yearn for them. Offer them to the guru and the Three Jewels. Give up attachment and longing in your heart. And if the experience of indifference arises without either pleasure or pain, rest your mind in the Great Symbol state of undistracted non-meditation. This is very important.
O son of noble family, at this time bridges, shrines and monasteries, huts, stupas and so onwill shelter you for a moment, but you will not stay there for long. Since your mind is separated from your body you cannot sttle down, you feel angry and cold, and consciousness becomes airy, speeding, swaying and impermanent. Then you will think, ˜Alas, I am dead! What shall I do now? and thinking this your heart will suddenly grow empty and cold, and you will feel intense and boundless pain.
Since you must move on without settling in any one place, do not occupy yourself with all kinds of thoughts, but rest your mind in its basic state.
The time comes when you have no food except that which has been dedicated for you to eat, and there is no certainty of friends. These are signs of the mental body wandering in the bardo of becoming. At this moment pleasure and pain are determined by your karma. You will see your homeland, friends and relatives, and your own corpse, and you will think, ˜Now I am dead, so what should I do? The mental body will be in extreme pain, so you will think, ˜Now why not find a body? and you will experience going everywhere to look for a body. Even if you enter your own corpse up to nine times, winter will have frozen it or summer made it rot, or else your relatives will have burned it or buried it in a grave or given it to the birds and wild animals, for a long time has passed in the bardo of dharmata, so you will find nowhere to enter; you will be in great despair, and have the feeling of being squeezed in between rocks and stones. Suffering like this is the bardo of becoming, even if you look for a body there is nothing but suffering, so cut off your yearning for a body and rest in the state of non-action, undistracted.
By being shown in this way, liberation from the bardo is attained. But if, in spite of being shown like this, it is impossible to recognise because of the power of bad karma, one should call the dead person by name and say these words:
O son of noble family, (name), listen. It is your own karma that you are suffering like this, so you cannot blame anyone else. It is your own karma, so now supplicate the Three Jewels fervently, they will protect you. If you do not supplicate like this, and do not know the Great Symbol meditation, and do not meditate on your yidam, then the good conscience within you will collect all your good actions and count out white pebbles, and the bad conscience within you will collect all your evil actions and count out black pebbles. At this time you will be very frightened and terrified, and you will tremble and lie, saying, ˜I have not sinned. Then the Lord of Death will say, ˜I will look in the mirror of karma, and when he looks in the mirror all your sins and virtues will suddenly appear in it clearly and distinctly, so although you have lied it is no use. Then the Lord of Death will drag you by a rope tied round your neck, and cut off your head, tear out your heart, pull out your entrails, lick your brains, drink your blood, eat your flesh and gnaw your bones; but you cannot die, so even though your body is cut into pieces you will recover.
Being cut again and again causes extreme pain, so do not be afraid when the white pebbles are being counted, do not lie and do not fear the Lord of Death. Since you are a mental body you cannot die even if you are killed and cut up. You are really the natural form of emptiness, so there is no need to fear. The Lords of Death are the natural form of emptiness, your own confused projections, and you are emptiness, a mental body of unconscious tendencies. Emptiness cannot harm emptiness, the uncharacterised cannot harm the uncharacterised. External Lords of Death, gods, evil spirits, the Bull-headed demon and so on, have no reality apart from your own confused projections, so recognise this. At this moment recognise everything as the bardo.
Meditate on the Samadhi of the Great Symbol. If you do not know how to meditate, look closely at the nature of what makes you afraid, and you will see emptiness which has no nature whatever: this is called the dharmakaya. But this emptiness is not negation, its nature is frightening, mind with great awareness and clarity: this is the mind of the sambhogakaya.
The emptiness and the luminosity are not two separate things, but the nature of emptiness is luminosity and the nature of luminosity is emptiness. Now the indivisible emptiness-luminosity, the naked mind, is stripped bare and dwells in its uncreated state: this is the svabhavikakaya. Its own natural energy arises everywhere without obstruction: this is the compassionate nirmanakaya.
O son of noble family, see in this way without distraction. As soon as you recognise, you will attain complete enlightenment in the four kayas. [The four ˜bodies of truth (dharma); absolute buddha nature; enjoyment; creation; the essential body of intrinsic nature] Do not be distracted. This is the dividing line where buddhas and sentient beings are separated. It is said of this moment:
In an instant, they are separated in an instant, complete enlightenment.
Until yesterday you were distracted, so although so much of the bardo state has appeared you have not recognised, and you have so much fear. If you are distracted now, the rope of compassion will be cut off and you will go to a place where there is no liberation, so be careful. By being shown like this, even though he did not recognise before, he will recognise here and attain liberation. If he is a layman who does not know how to meditate like this, one should say these words:
O son of noble family, if you do not know how to meditate like this, remember the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, and the Lord of Great Compassion, and supplicate them. Meditate on all the terrifying projections as the Lord of Great Compassion or as your yidam. Remember your guru and the secret transmission name you had in the human world, and tell it to the Dharma King, the Lord of Death. Even if you fall down the precipie you will not be hurt, so give up fear and terror.
By being shown in these words, even though he was not liberated before he will be liberated here. But because of the possibility that he may not recognise and so not be liberated, it is very important to make another effort, so one should call the dead person by name again and say these words:
These present experiences will throw you into states of joy and sadness alternately at each moment, like a catapult, so now do not create any feeling of passion and aggression.
If you are going to be born in a higher realm, at the time when experiences of the higher realms occur your relatives in the place you have left are sacrificing many animals dedicated for the sake of the dead, so impure thoughts will arise in you and you will feel violent anger, which will cause you to be born as a hell-being. So whatever is done in the place you have left, do not get angry but meditate on kindness.
If you are attached to the possessions you have left behind, or if you feel attached to them through knowing that someone else is owning and enjoying your things, you will get angry with the people you have left behind, and that will certainly cause you to be born as a hell-being or a hungry ghost, even if you were going to reach a higher state. In any case, even if you are attached to the things you have left behind, you cannot get them; it is no use to you, so give up attachment and yearning for your possessions; abandon them, make a firm decision. Whoever is enjoying your things, do not be possessive but let them go. With one-pointed concentration think that you are offering them to your guru and the Three Jewels, and remain in a state of desirelessness.
When  (rituals) are performed for your sake, with the subtle supernatural perception resulting from your karma you will see them being done impurely, sleepily, inattentively and so on, with careless behaviour without observance of the samaya vows, and you will be aware of lack of faith and feelings of disbelief, sinful actions through fear, and impurities in the rituals, and so you will think, ˜Alas, they are deceiving me, surely they are deceiving me! Thinking this you will have great sorrow and despair, and on top of not feeling pure devotion you will disbelieve and loose faith, and that will certainly cause you to go to the lower realms. It is no use but very harmful, so however impurely the rituals are performed by the spiritual friends you have left behind, think with pure faith and devotion, ˜Well! My projections must be impure; how can there be impurity in Buddhas words?
These are caused by my own impure projections, like seeing the faults of my own face reflected in a mirror. As for these people, their body is the Sangha, their speech is the holy Dharma, and their mind is the nature of the Buddha, therefore I take refuge in them. Then whatever is done in the place you have left will help you, so it is very important to have pure thoughts in this way; do not forget.
If you are going to be born in one of the three lower realms, at the time when experiences of them occur your relatives in the place you have left are performing virtuous rituals free from sin, and gurus and teachers are practicing holy dharma with absolute purity of body, speech and mind, so you will feel great joy on seeing them, and that will immediately cause you to be born in a higher realm, even if you were going to fall down into the three lower realms, so it is very helpful. Therefore it is very important not to have impure thoughts but to feel pure devotion without prejudice, so be careful.
O son of noble family, to sum up, now your mind in the bardo state has no support, so it is light and mobile, and whatever thought arises in it, good or bad, is very powerful; so do not think of any evil actions but remember the practice of virtue. If you have no practice, feel devotion and pure thoughts. Supplicate your yidam and the Lord of Great Compassion, and say this inspiration-prayer with intense concentration:
When parted from beloved friends, wandering alone,
my own projections empty forms appear,
may the buddhas send out the power of their compassion
so that the bardos terrors do not come.
When I suffer through the power of evil karma,
may my yidam clear away all suffering;
when the sound of dharmata roars like a thousand thunders,
may it all become the sound of the six syllables.
When I follow my karma, without a refuge,
may the Lord of Great Compassion be my refuge;
when I suffer the karma of unconscious tendencies,
may the Samadhi of bliss and luminosity arise.
Say this prayer fervently; it will certainly lead you on the path. Be absolutely convinced that it is not false, this is very important.
When this is said, he will remember and recognise and so attain liberation. But even though one does this many times, recognition is difficult because of the influence of much evil karma, so it is very helpful to repeat it again many times. Calling the dead person again by name one should say these words:
O son of noble family, if you have not understood what has gone before, from now on the body you had in your past life will grow fainter and your future body will become clearer, so you will feel sad and think, ˜I am suffering like this, so now I shall look for whatever kind of body appears, and you will move about, backwards and forwards, towards anything that appears. The six lights of the six realms of existence will shine, and the one in which you are going to be born because of your karma will shine most brightly.
O son of noble family, listen. If you ask what the six lights are: the soft white light of the gods will shine, and similarly the red light of the jealous gods, the blue light of human beings, the green light of the animals, the yellow light of the hungry ghosts, and the smoke-coloured light of hell-beings; these are the six lights. At that moment your body will also take on the colour of the place where you are going to be born.
O son of noble family, at this time the essential point of the instruction is very important: whatever light shines, meditate on that as the Lord of Great Compassion. Meditate on the thought that when the light appears it is the Lord of Great Compassion. This is the most profound essential point, it is extremely important and prevents birth.
Meditate for a long time on whichever deity is your yidam, as a vision without any real nature of its own, like an illusion. This is called the pure illusory body. Then let the yidam disappear from the edges inwards, and rest for a while in the inconceivable state of emptiness-luminosity which consist in nothing whatever. Meditate again on the yidam, then again on the luminosity. Meditate like this alternately, and after that let your mind too disappear from the edges inwards. Wherever there is space there is mind, and wherever there is mind there is dharmakaya; rest in the state of simplicity and selflessness of the dharmakaya.
In this state birth is prevented and he will become a buddha. But those whose practice was poor and who were not adept in meditation will not understand and still confused will wander to the entrance of a womb, so the instruction for closing the womb-entrance are very important. One should call the dead person by name and say these words:
O son of noble family, if you have not recognised what has gone before, now you will feel that you are moving upwards or across or downwards by the force of karma, so at this moment meditate on the Lord of Great Compassion; remember!
Then you will have the experience, like that which was described before, of whirlwinds, snowstorms and hailstorms, darkness closing round and many men chasing you, and you will escape from them. Those without merit will feel that they are escaping to a place of suffering, but those with merit will feel that they are arriving in a place of joy.
At this time, O son of noble family, all the signs of the country and place where you are going to be born will appear; so now listen without distraction, for there are many very profound essential points of instruction. Although you have not understood these secrets of recognition before, even one whose practice was very poor will get the point here, so listen.
At this time it is very important to take great care with the method of closing the entrance of the womb. There are two methods: stopping the person who is entering, and closing the womb-entrance which is being entered. This is the instruction for stopping the person who is entering:
O son of noble family, (name), clearly visualise whichever deity is your yidam, as a vision with no real nature of its own, like an illusion or the moon in water. If you have no specific yidam it is the Lord of Great Compassion himself; visualise him vividly. Then let the yidam disappear from the edges inwards, and meditate on the luminosity-emptiness without any object of thought. This is the profound secret; it is said that by means of it the womb is not entered, so meditate in this way.
But if this does not stop you and you are just about to enter a womb, there are profound instructions for closing the womb-entrance which is about to be entered, so listen. Repeat after me these words from The Main Verses of the Bardo:
Now when the bardo of becoming dawns upon me,
I will concentrate my mind one-pointedly
and strive to prolong the results of good karma,
close the womb-entrance and think of resistance;
this is the time when perseverance and pure thought are needed,
abandon jealousy, and meditate on the guru with his consort.
Say these words clearly aloud and arouse your memory; it is very important to meditate on their meaning: ˜Now when the bardo of becoming dawns upon me means that now you are wandering in the bardo of becoming. As signs of this, if you look into water you will not see your reflection, and your body has no shadow. Now there is no material body of flesh and blood, but these are signs of the mental body wandering in the bardo of becoming. So now you must concentrate your mind one-pointedly without distraction; just now that one-pointed concentration is the most important thing. It is like controlling a horse with a bridle. Whatever you concentrate on will come about, so do not think of evil actions, but remember the dharma, the teachings, the transmissions, and the authorisations for texts such as this Liberation through Hearing which you receive in the human world, and strive to prolong the results of good karma. It is very important. Do not forget, do not be distracted. Now is the time which is the dividing-line between going up and going down; now is the time when by slipping into laziness even for a moment you will suffer for ever; now is the time when by concentrating one-pointedly you will be happy for ever. Concentrate your mind one-pointedly; strive to prolong the results of good karma.
Closing the womb-entrance
Now the time has come to close the womb-entrance.
It is said:
Close the womb entrance and think of resistance;
this is the time when perseverance and pure thought are needed.
Now that time has come. First the womb-entrance should be closed, and there are five methods of closing it, so understand them well.
The bardo of becoming
O son of noble family, at this time projections of men and women making love will appear. When you see them, do not enter in between them, but remember, and meditate on the man and woman as the guru and his consort. Mentally prostrate yourself and make offerings with deep devotion, and ask for teachings; as soon as you concentrate intensely on this thought the womb-entrance will certainly be closed. 
But if this does not close it and you are just about to enter a womb, here is the third instruction . There are four kinds of birth: birth from an egg, birth from a womb, spontaneous birth and birth from moisture. Of these, birth from an egg and birth from a womb are similar.  If you are going to be born as a male, you will experience yourself as male, and feel violent aggression toward the father and jealousy and desire for the mother. If you are going to be born as a female you will experience yourself as female, and feel intense envy and jealousy of the mother and intense desire and passion for the father. This will cause you to enter the path leading to the womb, and you will experience self-existing bliss in the midst of the meeting of the sperm and ovum. From that blissful state you will lose consciousness, and the embryo will grow round and oblong and so on until the body matures and comes out from the mothers womb. 
Now the instruction for closing the womb-entrance by turning away passion and aggression is given; listen and understand. It is said:
Close the womb-entrance and think of resistance;
this is the time when perseverance and pure thought are needed,
abandon jealousy, and meditate on the guru with his consort.
As above, you will have feelings of jealousy; if you are going to be born as a male you will love the mother and hate the father, and if you are going to be born as a female you will love the father and hate the mother. So at this time there is a profound instruction.
O son of noble family, when passion and aggression arise like this, meditate in this way: ˜Alas! I am a being with such evil karma that I have been wandering like this in samsara until now, through clinging to passion and aggression. If I go on feeling passion and aggression like this, I shall wander in samsara endlessly, and sink into the depths of the ocean of suffering for a long time; so now I will feel no passion or aggression at all. Alas! Now I will never again feel passion and aggression. By concentrating your mind intensely and one-pointedly on this thought, that itself will close the womb-entrance, so the tantras say.
O son of noble family, do not be distracted concentrate your mind one-pointedly. But if, even after doing this, the womb-entrance is not closed and you are about to enter a womb, then it should be closed by the instruction on the unreal and illusory nature of everything. Meditate in this way: ˜Alas! The father and mother, the great storm, the whirlwind, the thunder, the terrifying projections and all these apparent phenomena are illusory in their real nature. However they appear, they are not real. All substances are false and untrue. They are like a mirage, they are not permanent, they are not changeless. What is the use of desire? What is the use of fear? It is regarding the non-existent as existent. All these are projections of my mind, and since the mind itself is illusory and nonexistent from the beginning, from where externally do they arise like this? I did not understand in this way before, and so I believed the nonexistent to exist, the untrue to be true, the illusion to be real, therefore I have wandered in samsara for so long. And if I do not realise that they are illusions, I shall still wander in samsara for a long time and certainly fall into the muddy swamp of suffering. Now they are all like dreams, like illusions, like echoes, like cities of the ghandharvas, like mirages, like images, like optical illusions, like the moon in water; they are not real, even for a moment. Certainly they are not true, but false!
By concentrating one-pointedly on this conviction, belief in their reality is destroyed, and when one is inwardly convinced in such a way, belief in a self is counteracted. If you understand unreality like this from the bottom of your heart, the womb-entrance will certainly be closed.
But if, even after doing this, the belief in reality is not destroyed, and the womb-entrance is not closed, and you are about to enter a womb, there is a profound instruction.
O son of noble family, if even after doing this the womb-entrance is not closed, now it should be closed by the fifth method, meditation on the luminosity, which should be done in this way: ˜All substances are my own mind, and this mind is emptiness, unarisen and unobstructed. Thinking this, keep your mind natural and undiluted, self-contained in its own nature like water poured into water, just as it is, loose, open and relaxed. By letting it rest naturally and loosely you can be sure that the womb-entrance to all four kinds of birth will certainly be closed.
 there are many kinds of people who were not used to doing good actions but were extremely skilled in doing evil actions right from the start, and through the influence of many powerful neurotic veils are not liberated, in spite of being shown and given these objects of meditation so many times above; so now, if the womb-entrance has not been closed before, a profound instruction for choosing the womb-entrance will be taught below. One should call on the buddhas and bodhisattvas for help and repeat the refuge,
The refuge formula of commitment to the budhist path: I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Dharma, I take refuge in the Sangha,.
Then call the dead person by name three times and say these words:
O son of noble family, (name), who is dead, listen. Although you have been shown with the instructions above so many times, you have not understood, so now, if the womb-entrance has not been closed, the time has come to take a body. There are not one but many true and profound instructions for you to choose a womb-entrance, so understand and do not be distracted. Listen well with intense concentration and understand.
O son of noble family, now the signs and characteristics of the continent were you are going to be born will appear, so recognise them. Examine where you are going to be born and choose the continent. If you are going to be born in the eastern continent, Noble Body, you will see a lake adorned with geese and ganders. Think of resistance and do not go there. Although it is full of happiness it is a place where dharma does not flourish, so do not enter it.
If you are going to be born in the southern continent, Rose-Apple Island, you will see luxurious beautiful dwellings. You should enter it if you can. If you are going to be born in the western continent, Enjoyment of Wish-fulfilling Cows, you will see a lake adorned with horses and mares. Do not go there but come back here. Although it has great pleasures it is a place where dharma does not flourish, so do not enter it.
If you are going to be born in the northern continent, Unpleasant Sound, you will see a lake adorned with cattle or with trees. Recognise them as signs of taking birth, and do not enter there. Although it has long life and merits, dharma does not flourish there, so do not enter.
If you are going to be born as a god, you will see beautiful many-storied temples made of various jewels. If you are fit to enter there you should enter. If you are going to be born as a jealous god, you will see beautiful groves, or what seem to be revolving wheels of fire. Do not enter there at all, but think of resistance.
If you are going to be born as an animal, you will see as if through a mist rock-caves and holes in the ground and straw huts. Do not enter there.
If you are going to be born as a hungry ghost, you will see tree-stumps and black shapes sticking up, shallow caves and black patches. If you go there you will be born as a hungry ghost and experience all kinds of suffering through hunger and thirst, so do not go there at all, but think of resistance and perservere strongly.
If you are going to be born as a hell-being, you will hear songs sung by those of evil karma, or you will have to enter helplessly, or you will feel that you have gone into a dark land, with black and red houses, black pits and black roads.
If you go there you will enter hell and experience unbearable suffering through heat and cold from which you will never get out. So do not go into its midst, do not enter at all, but be careful. It is said: Close the womb-entrance and think of resistance; this is needed now.
O son of noble family, even though you wish not to go, you have no power of you own, you are helplessly compelled to go. From behind the avengers of karma pursue you, and in front avengers and murderers drag you along; darkness, hurricanes, violent storms, noises, snow and rain, fierce hailstorms and snowstorms will whirl around you, and you will escape from them. Then in escaping you will look for a refuge, and you will find safety in the luxurious houses described before or in rock shelters or holes in the ground, between trees, or in the round cavities of lotus flowers and so on. Hidden there, you will be afraid to come out, and you will think, ˜I cannot go out of here now, and through fear of leaving you will become very attaced to that place. You are afraid of meeting those terrors of the bardo if you go outside, you feel extreme fear of them; and so you hide inside and take a body, however bad it may be, and will experience all kinds of suffering. That is a sign that demons and evil forces are obstructing you now, and at this time there is a profound instruction, so listen and understand.
At this time of terror when you are helplessly pursued by the avengers, you should immediately visualise with your whole mind the Blessed Supreme Heruka or Hayagriva or Vajrapani, or your yidam if you have one, with a huge body and thick limbs, standing in a terrifying attitude of wrath which crushes all evil forces into dust. Separated from the avengers by his blessing and compassion, you will have the power to choose the entrance of a womb. This is the true profound secret of the instruction, so understand it.
O son of noble family, the gods of meditation and so on are born through the power of Samadhi. A large class of evil spirits such as hungry ghosts and so on have changed their attitude while in the bardo state, then they are able to appear in various illusory forms of hungry ghosts and demons, and are transformed into that mental body itself. The hungry ghosts who dwell in the depths of the sea and the hungry ghosts who fly through space, and all the eighty thousand classes of negative forces and so on, have taken on that mental body by changing their attitude. At this time the best thing is to contemplate the Great Symbol of emptiness, but if you cannot do that, then take part in the play of illusion. If you cannot do that either, at least do not be attached to anything, but meditate on the yidam, the lord of Great Compassion, and you will become a sambhogakaya buddha in the bardo state.
O son of noble family, if you have to enter a womb in this way through force of karma, the instruction for choosing the entrance to a womb will now be taught. Listen! Do not go into whatever womb-entrance appears. If the avengers come and you cannot avoid entering, meditate on Hayagriva. Since you now possess subtle supernatural perception you will know all the places in turn, so make a choice. There are two instructions; for transference to a pure buddha-realm and for choosing an impure samsaric womb-entrance, so act in this way:
Transference to the Pure Realm of Space, of purified faculties, is directed like this: ˜Ah, how sad it is that I still remain in this muddy swamp of samsara even now, after such a long time of countless ages without beginning or end, and while so many others have already become buddhas I have not been liberated. From this moment on I feel sickened at this samsara, I dread it, I am worn out with it. Now it is time to get ready to escape, so I must bring about a spontaneous birth in a lotus flower at the feet of the buddha Amitabha in the western Blissful Realm. With this thought concentrate intensely on the Blissful Realm in the west, it is vital to make this effort. Or else, if you direct intense concentrationy and without distraction, toward whichever realm you wish, the Pure Realm, or Complete Joy, or the Densely Filled or the Realm of Willow Leaves, or the Palm-tree Mountain, or the palace of Lotus Light in Urgyan, you will immediately be born in that realm.
Or if you wish to go into the precense of Lord Maitreya in the Joyful Realm, concentrate on this thought: ˜At this moment in the bardo state the time has come for me to go into the precense of the Dharma King Maitreya in the Joyful Realm, so I will go, and you will be born spontaneously in the heart of a lotus in the precense of Maitreya.
Otherwise, if you cannot do this and wish to enter a womb, or find you have to enter one, there is an instruction for choosing an impure samsaric womb-entrance, so listen. As before, look at the continent you are going to choose with supernatural perception, and enter a place where dharma flourishes.
If you are going to be spontaneously born in a filthy dung-heap, you will perceive that fetid mass as sweet-smelling, and you will feel attracted to it and be born there; so whatever appears, do not trust it, but put an end to the signs of desire and hatred, and choose a womb-entrance.
Again, it is very important to concentrate like this: ˜I will be born as a universal emperor for the good of all sentient beings, or as a brahmana like a great sala tree, or as the son of a siddha, or in a family of a pure lineage of dharma, or in a family where the father and mother have faith; and taking a body with merits which can benefit all sentient beings, I will do good. Concentrating on this thought, the womb should be entered. At this time you should bless the womb you are entering as a palace of the gods, and supplicate the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and the yidams especially the lord of Great Compassion, and enter the womb with the longing of a request for transmission.
It is possible to make a mistake in choosing the entrance of a womb like this, by seeing a good womb-entrance as bad or a bad one as good, under the influence of karma, so now again the essential point of the instruction is very important, so do this: even if a womb-entrance appears good do not trust it, and even if it appears bad do not feel dislike of it. The true, profound, essential secret is to enter into the supreme state of equilibrium in which there is no good or bad, acceptance or rejection, passion or aggression.
But, except for the few who are experienced in this, it is hard to get rid of the disease of bad unconscious tendencies, so to prevent him taking refuge among sinners of the poorest capacities, the lowest of the low, like beasts, if he cannot cut off passion and aggression in this way, one should call the dead person again by name and say these words:
O son of noble family, if you do not know how to choose a womb-entrance and cannot get rid of passion and aggression, whatever of the above experiences may arise, call on the name of the Three Jewels and take refuge in them. Supplicate the Lord of Great Compassion. Go on with your head high. Give up attachment and yearning for the relatives and friends, sons and daughters, you have left behind; they cannot help you. Enter now into the blue light of human beings or the white light of the gods; enter the jewelled palaces and the pleasure-gardens. 
The bardo instruction which liberates human beings, the
profound innermost essence, The Great Liberation through Hearing. This treasure was discovered by the siddha Karma-Lingpa in the mountain of Gampo-dar. May it benefit the dharma and all sentient beings.
The Bardo Prayer
which Protects from Fear
When the journey of my life has reached its end, and since no relatives go with me from this world I wander in the bardo state alone, may the peaceful and wrathful buddhas send out the power of their compassion and clear away the dense darkness of ignorance.
When parted from beloved friends, wandering alone, my own projections empty forms appear, may the buddhas send out the power of their compassion so that the bardos terrors do not come.
When the five luminous lights of wisdom shine, fearlessly may I recognise myself; when the forms of the peaceful and wrathfiul ones appear, fearless and confident may I recognise the bardo.
When I suffer through the power of evil karma, may the peaceful and wrathful buddhas clear away suffering; when the sound of dharmata roars like a thousand thunders, may it be transformed into the sound of Mahayana teaching.
When I follow my karma, without a refuge, may the peaceful and wrathful buddhas be my refuge; when I suffer the karma of unconscious tendencies, may the Samadhi of bliss and luminosity arise.
At the moment of spontaneous birth in the bardo of becoming, may the false teachings of the tempters not arise; when I arrive wherever I wish by supernatural power, may the illusory terrors of evil karma not arise.
When savage beasts of prey are roaring, may it become the sound of dharma, the six syllables; when I am chased by snow, rain, wind and darkness, may I receive the clear, divine eye of wisdom.
May all sentient beings of the same realm in the bardo, free from jealousy, be born in a higher state; when great thirst and hunger are caused by passions ,may the pain of thirst and hunger, heat and cold, not arise.
When I see my future parents in union, may I see the peaceful and wrathful buddhas with their consorts; with power to choose my birthplace for the good of others, may I receive a perfect body adorned with auspicious signs.
Obtaining for myself a perfect human body, may all who see and hear me at once be liberated; may I not follow all my evil karma, but follow and increase what merit I may have.
Wherever I am born, at that very place, may I meet the yidam of this life face to face; knowing how to walk and talk as soon as I am born, may I attain the power of non-forgetfulness and rememberance of past lives.
In all the stages of learning, high, middle and low, may I understand just by hearing, thinking and seeing; wherever I am born, may that land be blessed, so that all sentient beings may be happy.
O peaceful and wrathful buddhas, may I and others become like you yourselves, just as you are, with your forms and your auspicious marks, your retinues, your long life and your realms.
Samantabhadra, the peaceful and wrathful ones, infinite compassion, the power of truth of the pure dharmata, and followers of tantra in one-pointed meditation: may their blessings fulfil this inspiration-prayer.
From Advice on Dying and Living a Better Life
By His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Poem by the first Panchem Lama
Losang Chokyi Gyeltsen
A poem, written in the seventeenth century
Just as the strong current of a waterfall Cannot be reversed,
So the movement of a human life is also irreversible
Wishes for Release from the Perilous Straits of the Intermediate State,
Hero Releasing from Fright by the First Panchen Lama, Losang Chokyi Gyeltsen
I and all beings throughout space and without exception
Go for refuge until the ultimate of enlightenments
To the past, present, and future Buddhas, the Doctrine,
And the Spiritual Community.
May we be released from the frights of this life, the intermediate state, and the next.
May we extract the meaningful essence of this life support
Without being distracted by the senseless affairs of this life,
Since this good foundation hard to gain and easy to disintegrate,
Presents an opportunity of choice between profit and loss,
Comfort and misery.
May we realize that there is no time to waste,
Death being definite but the time of death indefinite.
What has gathered will separate, what has been
Accumulated will be consumed without residue,
At the end of a rising comes descent, the finality of birth is death.
May we be relieved from overwhelming suffering due to the various causes of death.
When in this city of erroneous conceptions of subject and object
The illusory body composed of the four impure elements
And consciousness are about to separate.
May we be relieved from mistaken appearances of non-virtue
When, deceived at the time of need by this body sustained so dearly,
The frightful enemies “ the lords of death “ manifest
And we kill ourselves with the weapons of the three poisons of lust, hatred, and bewilderment.
May we remember instructions for practice
When doctors forsake us and rites are of no avail,
Friends have given up hope for our life,
And we are left with nothing to do.
May we have the confidence of joy and delight
When food and wealth accumulated with miserliness are left behind
And we separate forever from cherished and longed-for friends,
Going alone to a perilous situation.
May we generate a powerful mind of virtue
When the elements “ earth, water, fire, and wind “Dissolve in stages
And physical strength is lost, mouth and nose dry and pucker,
Warmth withdraws, breaths are gasped, and rattling sounds emerge.
May we realize the deathless mode of being
When various mistaken appearances frightful and horrible
And in particular mirage, smoke, and fireflies appear
And the mounts of the eighty indicative conceptions cease.
May we generate strong mindfulness and introspection
When the wind constituent begins to dissolve into consciousness
And the external continuum of breath ceases, coarse dualistic appearances dissolve
And an appearance like a burning butter lamp dawns.
May we know our own nature ourselves
Through the yoga realizing cyclic existence and nirvana as empty
When appearance, increase, and near-attainment dissolve “
The earlier into the latter “
And experiences like pervasive moonlight, sunlight, and darkness dawn.
May the mother and child clear lights meet
When near-attainment dissolves into the all-empty
And the conceptual multiplications cease and an experience
Like an autumn sky free from polluting conditions dawns.
May we be set in one-pointed profound meditation
In the exalted wisdom of joined innate bliss and emptiness
During the four empties upon the melting of the moon-like white constituent
By the fire of the lightening-like Powerful Female.
May we complete in place of the intermediate state
The concentrated meditation of illusion so that upon leaving the clear light
We rise in a Body of Complete Enjoyment blazing with
The glory of a Buddhas marks and beauties
Arisen from the mere wind and mind of the clear light of death.
If, due to karma, an intermediate state is established,
May erroneous appearances be purified
Through immediately analysing and realizing the
absence of inherent existence
Of the sufferings of birth, death, and intermediate state.
May we be born in a pure land
Through yoga transforming the external, internal and secret
When various signs “ four sounds of the reversal of the elements,
Three frightful appearances, and uncertainties “ appear.
May we be reborn with the supreme life support of a
Tantra practitioner using the sky
Or the body of a monastic or lay practitioner possessing the three practices
And may we complete the realizations of the paths of the two stages
Of generation and completion,
Thereby attaining quickly a Buddhas Bodies “ Truth,
Complete enjoyment and Emanation