Tag Archives: Tibetan

Ancient Books {1} ~ The Tibetan Book Of The Dead

“Have you ever wondered what life after death, or in this case, life between death and rebirth, is like? What type of existence must it be? What would you do and learn? While these questions have been asked by billions of human beings, some cultures have gone the extra mile and written books to assist those who are in between.

One of these intermediate state manuals is The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The book was originally written in the eighth century CE, ostensibly by an ancient Buddhist teacher named Padma Sambhava. The book’s original title is Bardo Thodol, which is translated to ‘liberation by hearing on the after death plane.’ The purpose of the book is to help those who are in the intermediate state to escape the cycle of death and rebirth. This is accomplished by reading aloud the text of the book, thereby assisting the dead individual in their escape from the cycle.

The Bardo Thodol is primarily concerned with helping those who have entered the intermediate state to elevate themselves into a new reality, thereby escaping the life, death, bardo, and rebirth cycle. This is accomplished through the reading of instructions to help the confused, disembodied soul find its way through the bardos, or levels of the dream state the dead enter into following separation from their physical forms. There are three bardos encapsulating various aspects of the afterlife realm, in which the living whisper instructions of comfort, peace, and guidance to the deceased.

The First Bardo is the stage of the afterlife that occurs immediately after death. At the beginning of the First Bardo, instructions are read in an attempt to help the dead accept what is called the Clear Light, which helps the soul understand death as the ultimate existence. If the soul can embrace this truth, it will remain in the Clear Light forever, thus escaping the cycle. If not, the soul will sink into the Secondary Clear Light and then move into the Second Bardo.

The Second Bardo is a two-week period divided in half, in which the soul is met by numerous spiritual beings. In the first week, the Peaceful Deities appear to the soul. Seven deities appear, one for each day of the week, bringing their magnificent glory before the soul. If the soul is able to stand before the first deity, it will reach Nirvana, the aforementioned ultimate existence. If not, the soul descends from one day to the next, passing or failing the tests of each deity. In each case, the soul will be reborn into gradually decreasing states of existence, with the final state being reborn as an animal.

During the second week, the soul is met by seven legions of Wrathful Deities, which are actually just the Peaceful Deities in disguise. The instructions to the soul are to be still and unafraid in their presence. If the soul runs away, it will pass down to the Third Bardo, but if it stands its ground it will be liberated.

The dreaded Lord of Death awaits the soul in the Third Bardo. He judges the soul using a mirror that shows all the good and evil deeds of the soul. If the soul can realize through the instructions being read that the Lord of Death and all his minions are merely imaginations of its own mind, the soul can still be liberated. However, if the soul gives way to fear, it will be reborn once more, trapped again in the cycle.

Translation of the Book
The initial Tibetan writing of the Bardo Thodol and its subsequent translation has an interesting history. The book was originally written in Sanskrit, which is the language of Tibet. However, after writing the Bardo Thodol, legend holds that Padma Sambhava decided the writings would be too spiritually advanced for the Tibetans of the time. Therefore, he hid the writings in the hope one day they would be discovered and interpreted judiciously.

Around 1365 CE, a young man named Karma Lingpa discovered many of the texts hidden on a mountaintop. After his discovery, more texts were found, eventually fulfilling Padma Sambhava’s wish for them to be received with openness.”

Source ~ https://study.com/academy/lesson/the-tibetan-book-of-the-dead-summary-translation-quotes.html

Symbols {30} ~ 8 Auspicious Symbols In Tibetan Buddhism

In Tibetan Buddhism, these symbols are said to be the luckiest and most sacred of all. Frequently seen in combination with one another, each represents a different component of Buddhist philosophy.

The Parasol: Representing protection and shelter, the Parasol shows how Buddha’s teachings will shield us from the “heat” of forces like greed and lust.

The Golden Fish: A symbol of joy and liberation, the Fish represent freedom from samsara, or the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.

The Conch Shell: Used to call individuals to prayer, the Conch’s resounding trumpet represents the influence of dharma and its ability to awaken us from ignorance.

The Lotus: A symbol of enlightenment, the Lotus mirrors human suffering. Growing through muck in order to blossom, the Lotus shows that we too may blossom through Buddha’s wisdom.

The Urn: A symbol of abundance, the Urn is evocative of Buddha’s spiritual wealth, demonstrating that there is no end to his knowledge and wisdom.

The Infinite Knot: With no beginning or end, the Infinite Knot reflects Buddha’s infinite compassion as well as the interconnectedness of all living things.

The Banner: Also known as the Flag, the Banner represents victory over ignorance and the obstacles that block the path to enlightenment.

The Wheel: The Wheel of Law, or Dharmachakra, is a summation of Buddha’s teachings. The eight spokes are Buddha’s Eightfold Path, while the inner hub is the discipline required to follow it.

Spirituality {1} ~ Rainbow Body

“In Tibetan Buddhism, it is said that certain meditation practices can alter the appearance of the body, transforming it into five radiant lights. The name given to this physical fluorescence is “rainbow body.”

In Vajrayana traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, tangible matter is considered to be made up of five elements: space, air, fire, water, and earth. As described in Tibetan literary sources, including The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the elemental energies that make up the cosmos are understood to be undifferentiated from those that make up the human body. Therefore, the body is simultaneously an individual person and the cosmic whole.

Certain Buddhist meditation practices are meant to alter the gravitational field of these five elements that constitute the body, transforming them into the five radiant lights of the color spectrum. The Tibetan name given to this physical fluorescence is jalu, literally meaning, “rainbow body.” Rainbow body is also the name given to the transformation of the ordinary physical body as a result of years of specific disciplined practices.

Reports from inside Tibet of rainbow bodies have emerged sporadically over the past century.

Tibetan traditions have identified signs that indicate when a practitioner has achieved rainbow body. While alive, it is said that the bodies of these beings do not cast a shadow in either lamplight or sunlight. At death, it is said that the physical body dramatically shrinks in size, exuding fragrances and perfumes rather than the odors of decomposition. A common Tibetan metric for the shrunken corpse of a rainbow body is the “length of a forearm.” Other signs are the sudden blooming of exotic plants and flowers anytime of year, as well as rainbows appearing in the sky.

There is also a special kind of rainbow body known as the “great transference into rainbow body,” or jalu powa chemo. This is the complete transference of the material body into radiance so that the only thing left of the body is hair and fingernails. While the historical origins of this phenomena are not well studied, the concept of the rainbow body is associated with the eighth-century Dzogchen meditation master Padmasambhava who, according to legend, achieved great transference and entered into a deathless state of being.

Reports from inside Tibet of rainbow bodies have emerged sporadically over the past century, though there has been an upturn of accounts over the past decades. The best known case is that of Yilungpa Sonam Namgyel, who achieved rainbow body in 1952, as recounted by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche in his memoir, Born in Tibet. There is also the case of Changchub Dorje, a medical doctor and leader of a Dzogchen community in the Nyarong region of eastern Tibet, about whom Chogyal Namkhai Norbu recounts in The Crystal and the Way of Light.”

Source: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lionsroar.com/what-is-rainbow-body/amp/