Hey Mattin my book i compare the tibetan book of the dead with a computer game
The Tibetan Book of the Dead takes the form of a recitation of instructions to a recently deceased person — a corpse. “O, Child of Buddha Nature, (call the name of the dying person), the time has come for you to seek a path.” Then, almost exactly like a computer game, the guide describes a series of levels, of obstacles, that the soul must guide itself past. The goal is at all costs to avoid reincarnation in this samsara — our world of suffering. In all the various scenarios we encounter the injunction to seek “the bright and dazzling radiances of pure pristine cognition” and to avoid the “bewildering” or “dull” lights. Focusing on the most negative outcome, however, the recently deceased keeps roaming downwards stumbling over each hurdle. Facepalm.
There are many glorious descriptions of these encounters amid the mandala, but the following is particularly awesome: “Encircling these awareness holders, there will be inestimable crowds of dakinis [sacred female spirits]: the dakinis of the eight charnel grounds, dakinis of the four enlightened families, dakinis of the three abodes, dakinis of the ten directions, dakinis of the twenty-four powerplaces, spiritual heroes and heroines, faithful retainers, and protectors of the sacred teachings — all wearing six kinds of bone ornaments, playing drums, thigh-bone trumpets, and skull drums and waving banners made of the hide of ‘ritually liberated’ beings, canopies and streamers of human hide, the entire display pervaded by an incense cloud of burning human flesh, reverberating with the sound of countless and diverse musical instruments, the sound permeating all world systems, causing them to vibrate, tremble and quake.” To the trippers of the counterculture this imagery was manna from heaven.
A warning comes at “Obstruction of the Womb Entrances”: “O, Child of Buddha Nature, if you have not taken to heart the introduction which has gone before, from now on, the body of your past life will grow more faint and the body of your next life will grow more vivid.” Before finally we have the equivalent of “Game Over”: “Previously having been a human being, you will now have become a dog. So consequently, you will suffer in a dog-kennel, or similarly in a pigsty… There is no way back. You will experience all manner of sufferings in a state of great obscurity and delusion… There is nothing more awesome or frightening than this! Oh dear!” Oh dear, indeed.
This thread is reminding me of Enter the Void as well - overlong and indulgent but has some fantastic depictions of the Bardos. I particularly like the in-between realm depicted as a love hotel! Speaks to the eternal arising of desire in all incarnate beings.
yes! that's right. the leary book (garbage!) is a "translation" of the evans-wentz translation of itHey Matt
Something I didn't know 'til a few years ago is that Leary's translation is effectively just a chapter of a much longer book. Penguin did a much longer edition first published in 2005 with involvement from Tibetan religious community which is a much longer, and more authentic full translation. I've had it for bloody years and managed not to read it. One for book club!?
Just as a for instance the title - rather than Tibetan Book of the Dead - translates as The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States. Not as catchy but kinda deep.