The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

312 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING5. CremationGenerally in many Eastern traditions, cremation is the wayof disposing of the corpse. In Tibetan Buddhism, there are alsospecific practices for cremation. The crematorium or funeralpyre is visualized as the mandala of Vajrasattva, or the HundredPeaceful and Wrathful Deities, and the deities arestrongly visualized and their presence is invoked. The deadperson's corpse is seen as actually representing all his or hernegative karma and obscurations. As the corpse burns, theseare consumed by the deities as a great feast and transmutedand transformed by them into their wisdom nature. Rays oflight are imagined streaming out from the deities; the corpse isvisualized dissolving completely into light, as all the impuritiesof the dead person are purified in the blazing flames of wisdom.As you visualize this, you can recite the hundred-syllableor six-syllable mantra of Vajrasattva. This simple practice for acremation was transmitted and inspired by Dudjom Rinpocheand Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.The ashes of the body, and the tsenjang, can then be mixedwith clay to make little images called tsatsa. These are blessedand dedicated on behalf of the dead person, so creating auspiciousconditions for a future good rebirth.6. The Weekly PracticesIn a Tibetan environment practices and rituals happen regularlyevery seventh day after death, or if the family can afford it,for each of the forty-nine days. Monks are invited to do practice,especially the Lamas who are close to the family and had alink with the dead person. Lights are offered and prayers saidcontinuously, especially until the time the body is taken out ofthe house. Offerings are made to masters and to shrines, andalms are given to the poor in the name of the dead person.These "weekly" practices on behalf of the dead person areconsidered essential, since the mental body in the bardo ofbecoming undergoes every week, on the same day, the experienceof death. If the dead person has enough merit as a resultof positive actions in the past, then the benefit of these practicescan give him or her the impetus to transfer to a purerealm. Strictly speaking, if a person passed away on a Wednesdaybefore noon, the first week's practice day would fall onthe following Tuesday. If the person died after noon, it wouldfall on the following Wednesday.Tibetans regard the fourth week after death as especiallysignificant, because some say that most ordinary beings do not

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