were encouraged to practice together and to say, as much as

possible, a mantra such as: OM MANI PADME HUM. This is

something that everyone in Tibet could do and knew would

definitely help the dead person, and which inspired them all

to an act of fervent communal prayer.

The clairvoyance of the dead person in the bardo of becoming

is also what makes the practice done by a master or experienced

spiritual practitioner on his or her behalf of such exceptional


What a master does is to rest in the primordial state of

Rigpa, the nature of mind, and invoke the mental body of the

dead person roaming in the bardo of becoming. When the

mental body comes into the master's presence, through the

power of meditation, he or she can point out the essential

nature of Rigpa. Through the power of its clairvoyance, the

bardo being then can see directly into the master's wisdom

mind, and so there and then be introduced to the nature of

mind and be liberated.

Whatever practice an ordinary practitioner can do as well

for a close friend who has died can, for the same reason, be of

enormous help. You might do the practice, for example, of the

Hundred Peaceful and Wrathful Deities associated with the

Tibetan Book of the Dead, or you might simply rest in a steady

state of compassion; especially if you then invoke the dead

person and invite him or her into the heart-core of your practice,

it can be of immense benefit.

Whenever Buddhist practitioners die we inform their master,

all their spiritual teachers, and their spiritual friends, so they can

immediately start practicing for them. Usually I collect the

names of people who have died, and send them to great masters

I know in India and the Himalayas. Every few weeks they

will include them in a purification practice, and once a year in a

ten-day intensive group practice in the monasteries. 3


1. The Tibetan Book of the Dead

In Tibet, once the phowa practice has been done for the

dying person, the Tibetan Book of the Dead is read repeatedly

and the practices associated with it are done. In eastern Tibet

we used to have a tradition of reading the Tibetan Book of the

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