5. See Chapter 21. In this passage, I am most grateful for the kind

suggestions of Dr. Gyurme Dorje, whose translation of The Tibetan

Book of the Dead, edited by himself and Graham Coleman, was scheduled

to be published by Penguin in 1993.


1. Kalu Rinpoche, The Dharma (Albany: State Univ. of New York

Press, 1986), 18.

2. It is said that there are only two places the mental body cannot

go: the womb of its future mother and Vajrasana, the place where all

the buddhas become enlightened. These two places represent the

entrance to samsata and nirvana. In other words, to be reborn or gain

enlightenment would bring an end to its life in this bardo.

3. There exist accounts of masters who were able to perceive

bardo beings, or even travel to the bardo realm.

4. Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche, The Bardo Guidebook (Kathmandu:

Rangjung Yeshe, 1991), 14.

5. This scene occurs in Tibetan folk dramas and operas, and is also

reported by the "déloks" (see Chapter 20, "The Near-Death Experience:

A Staircase to Heaven?").

6. Raymond A. Moody, Jr., Reflections on Life After Life (New York:

Bantam, 1977), 32.

7. Kenneth Ring, Heading Towards Omega: In Search of the Meaning

of the Near-Death Experience (New York: Quill, 1985), 70.

8. It is said that whenever a couple make love, crowds of bardo

beings gather, hoping to have the karmic connection to be reborn.

One succeeds and the others die of despair; this can occur as the

weekly experience of death in the bardo.

9. Fremantle and Trungpa, Tibetan Book of the Dead, 86.

10. Vajrasattva is the central deity of the Hundred Peaceful and

Wrathful Deities. See Chapter 19, "Helping after Death."


1. See Appendix 4 for an explanation of this mantra.

2. Yet, in the case of a spiritual practitioner who has died, and

who sees friends and relatives grasping and insincere after his death,

it is possible that instead of being hurt and angry, he might be able to

realize that all their behavior is simply the nature of samsara. From

this he might generate a deep sense of renunciation and compassion,

which could be of great benefit to him in the bardo of becoming.

3. When we ask a master to practice and pray for a dead person,

it is a custom to send a donation of money, however small it might

be. The donation establishes a tangible connection between the dead

person and the master, who will always use this money exclusively

to pay for the rituals for the dead, or make offerings at holy shrines,

or dedicate it in their name to his or her work.

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