Secret Doctrines of the Tibetan Books of the Dead

Detlef Ingo Lauf

Language: English

Pages: 254

ISBN: 0877731039

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Tibetan Books of the Dead are a diverse collection of Buddhist scriptures that yield valuable insight into the psychology of death and dying and suggest the importance of meditative practice and knowledge as tools for self-understanding. This in-depth study of this rich body of Buddhist literature details the Tibetan Buddhist belief in the bardos, of intermediate states, and serves as an illuminating companion volume to The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Using original texts from both the Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Tibetan religious traditions, this book presents a detailed portrayal of the teachings and the iconography that play a major role in the Tibetan understanding of death and dying. The peaceful and wrathful deities, the mandala principle, the five Buddha families, and the six realms of experience are among the doctrines examined in this volume. A psychological commentary and the illustrations and diagrams in the book illuminate the Tibetan path from death, through the after-death state, to transformation and rebirth. A comparison with Western investigations of consciousness, death, and dying, as well as views of death in India, Egypt, and other ancient cultures, enables the reader to see how the Tibetan Buddhist perspective on death relates to the spiritual and psychological beliefs of other societies.

The Different Paths of Buddhism: A Narrative-Historical Introduction

Buddhism Plain and Simple

Buddhism in India: Challenging Brahmanism and Caste

Silence: The Power of Quiet in a World Full of Noise














'khor-lo). This is the verbal plane of mantras and invocations to the transcendent buddhas. The topmost lotus center has 32 petals and is the plane of intellectual experience and of discriminating thought and is characterized as the focus of the great bliss of the svabhavikakaya (T. bDe-chen-gyi 'khor-lo). This system w i l l have to be supplemented later by another cakra, but this four-fold division w i l l afford us a solid foundation for the initiation-schema of Vajrayana Buddhism, which is

sect. So we have in this picture the whole trikaya structure symbolized in the deities: Buddha Amitabha as the dharmakaya, Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara as the sambhogakaya, and the-six Buddhas as incarnations on the level of the nirmanakaya in the form of saviors in the six worlds. Plate 10. A red-brown, demonic Mahakala as the powerful and temporal aspects of the great wisdom holds the bhavacakra (T. Srid-pa'i 'khor-lo) with representations of the six worlds of incarnation and the twelve

in the ancient Bon religion. On the six initiation cards we see, in the upper row, dSang-ba ngang-ring, LCe-rgyal par-ti, and Lha'i thub-pa, who are the three Buddhas as gShen-rab-emanations for the worlds of hells, of titans, and of gods. Just as the Bon-po Books of the Dead talk of six Buddhas of the Srid-pa'i 'khor-lo, they similarly know a kind of "bodhisattva," here called Ye-gshen gyung-drung semsdpa'. The lower pictures show three of these. The symbols and colors of these deities are

TRISMEGISTUS cycle of bardo deities begins dramatically on the eighth day of the visions and lasts another seven days. From the depths of the abyss which opens up before the awareness-principle arise the wrathful deities. Yet this abyss is not to be found outside, but is rather a part of the human psyche itself, for according to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the terrifying deities appear as emanations of the intellect from the four directions of one's own head (T. Klad-pa dung-khang). They are

differences go back to the ancient Indian teachings of Buddhist Yoga, as handed down by the siddhas. They teach that there are three nadis, or subtle channels of psychic energy, which run inside the length of the spine, and these are the moon-nadi, the sunenergy nadi, and the central avadhuti nadi. The joining of the sunand moon-energies in the central avadhuti by means of physical and psychical yoga-techniques is said to lead to an intensification of awareness and enlightenment. The three nadis

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