Sunday, January 2, 2011
The Tibetan Book of the Dead
The Bardo Thodol of Tibetan Buddhism, commonly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead, was passed down orally for centuries before being adapted to written form. According to Tibetan tradition, this funerary text, sometimes translated as Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State, is recited at the time of death to act as a guide for the dead during the state between death and the next rebirth which is known in Tibetan Buddhism as the “bardo.” Composed in the 8th century by the famous spiritual leader Guru Padmasambhava, it is said to have been buried in the Gampo hills in central Tibet and then subsequently discovered by a Tibetan “terton” in the 12th century. Often drawing parallels to the Egyptian Book of the Dead (also a funerary text), the Tibetan Book of the Dead includes chapters on the signs of death, and rituals to undertake when death is closing in or has already taken place. It is the most internationally famous and widespread work of Tibetan Nyingma literature. Read more . . .