First revealed by a Tibetan monk in the 14th century, Bardo Thodol (“Great Liberation upon Hearing in the Intermediate State”) – known more commonly as The Tibetan Book of the Dead – describes the experience of human consciousness in the bardo, the interval between death and the next rebirth in the cycle of death and rebirth. The teachings are designed to help the dying regain clarity of awareness at the moment of death, and by doing so achieve enlightened liberation. Popular throughout the world since the 1960s and overwhelmingly the best-known Buddhist text in the West, this classic translation by Kazi Dawa Samdup is divided into 21 chapters, with sections on the chikhai bardo, or the clear light seen at the moment of death; choenyid bardo, or karmic apparitions; the wisdom of peaceful deities, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; the 58 flame-enhaloed, wrathful, blood-drinking deities; the judgement of those who the dying has known in life through the “mirror of karma”; and the process of rebirth.
The text also includes chapters on the signs of death and rituals to undertake for the dying. Presented in a high-quality Chinese-bound format with accompanying illustrations, The Tibetan Book of the Dead is an ideal resource of ancient wisdom for anyone interested in Tibetan Buddhist notions of death and the path to enlightenment.