INTRINSIC RADIANCE 287 At exactly the same time, together with the light of wisdom, a dull blue light representing the human realm will come toward you and fierce your heart. Then, driven by pride, you will flee in terror from the intensity of the yellow light, but delight in the dim blue light of the human realm, and so become attached to it. At this moment do not be afraid of the piercing yellow light, in all its dazzling radiance, but recognize it as wisdom. Let your Rigpa rest in it, relaxed, at ease, in a state free of any activity. And have confidence in it; have devotion and longing towards it. If you recognize it as the natural radiance of your own Rigpa, even though you do not have devotion and have not said the necessary prayer of inspiration, all the buddha bodies and rays of light will merge inseparably with you, and you will attain buddhahood. If you do not recognize it as the natural radiance of your own Rigpa, then pray to it with devotion, thinking, "This is the light of the compassionate energy of Buddha Ratnasambhava. I take refuge in it." Since it is in fact the Buddha Ratnasambhava coming to guide you amid the terrors of the bardo, and it is the light-ray hook of his compassionate energy, so fill your heart with devotion to it. Do not delight in the dim blue light of the human realm. This is the seductive path of habitual tendencies which you have accumulated through intense pride. If you are attached to it you will fall into the human realm, where you will experience the suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death, and you will miss the chance to emerge from the swamp of samsara. This (dull blue light) is an obstacle blocking the path to liberation, so do not look at it, but abandon pride! Abandon its habitual tendencies! Do not be attached (to the dull blue light)! Do not yearn for it! Feel devotion and longing for the dazzling, radiant yellow light, focus with total attention on the Buddha Ratnasmabhava, and say this prayer: Alas! When through intense pride I wander in samsara, May the Buddha Ratnasambhava lead the way On the radiant path of light which is the "equalizing wisdom," May the supreme female consort Mamaki walk behind me; May they help me through the dangerous pathway of the bardo, And bring me to the perfect buddha state. By saying this prayer of inspiration with deep devotion, you will dissolve into rainbow light in the heart of the Buddha Ratnasambhava and his consort and become a Sambhogakaya Buddha 5 in the southern buddha-field known as "The Glorious."
288 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING This description of the appearance of the Buddha Ratnasambhava concludes by explaining that through this "showing" by the master or spiritual friend, liberation is certain, however weak the dead person's capacities may be. Yet, even after being "shown" many times, the TibetanBookof the Dead says, there are those who, because of negative karma, will not recognize and gain liberation. Disturbed by desire and obscurations and terrified by the different sounds and lights, they will flee. So, on the following "day," the next buddha, Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light, with his mandala of deities, will appear in all the splendor of his dazzling red light, manifesting together with the dim, seductive, yellow light-path of the hungry ghosts, which is created out of desire and meanness. And so the TibetanBookof the Dead introduces the appearance of each of the peaceful and wrathful deities in turn in a similar way. I am often asked: "Will the deities appear to a Western person? And if so, will it be in familiar, Western forms?" The manifestations of the bardo of dharmata are called "spontaneously present." This means that they are inherent and unconditioned, and exist in us all. Their arising is not dependent on any spiritual realization we may have; only the recognition of them is. They are not unique to Tibetans; they are a universal and fundamental experience, but the way they are perceived depends on our conditioning. Since they are by nature limitless, they have the freedom then to manifest in any form. Therefore the deities can take on forms we are most familiar with in our lives. For example, for Christian practitioners, the deities might take the form of Christ or the Virgin Mary. Generally, the whole purpose of the enlightened manifestation of the buddhas is to help us, so they may take on whatever form is most appropriate and beneficial for us. But in whatever form the deities appear, it is important to recognize that there is definitely no difference whatsoever in their fundamental nature. RECOGNITION In Dzogchen it is explained that just as a person will not recognize the Ground Luminosity without a true realization of the nature of mind and a stable experience of Trekchö prac-