For centuries The Tibetan Book Of The Dead was kept secret in an isolated land known as the ”forbidden kingdom”.
In the early years of the 20th century, a loan American went on a spiritual quest, his name was Walter Evans Wentz, an Oxford educated folklorist, in search of ancient wisdom, he travelled alone through Europe, Arabia, India and eventually came to the boarders of Tibet in the Himalayan mountains, and there in a small Monastery he became the first westerner to read the book that claim to know the mystery of life after death. The book is a profound spiritual text but it’s also challenging spiritually, it’s not only scientific but it also has a philosophical orientation to it.
Evan Waltz spent three years helping to translate the text, which he published in English in 1927. Today this extraordinary book can be bought in any major book shop.
Written in the 8th Century, The Tibetan book of the dead is a precise description of what each individual will endure in the afterlife, an experience the Tibetans call The Bardo.
Intriguingly, stories of the book seem to reflect the modern descriptions of those pronounced clinically dead on the operating table, so called near death experiences. The similarity is spine tingling, almost everyone talks about this blinding light, in the book they talk about the white light, it’s very clear and very alluring. The text in the book describes the light in precision.
To understand the power of the book, one must understand it’s roots. Tibetans perform a form of Buddhism, one of the great religions of Asia, it began 500 years before the birth of Jesus, with the teachings of an Indian Holy man, known to his followers as ”The Buddha”. The basic belief of Buddhism is a simple but profound truth, life is full of suffering, according to Buddhists, suffering is caused by desire and ignorance. but suffering can be illuminated through meditation, study and through compassion.
With compassion and Wisdom it is said that one is already on the path of enlightenment. A concept central to Buddhism is reincarnation. The goal of Buddhism is to step off the wheel of karma and thus be liberated from suffering. The tibetan book of the dead promises a short cut to liberation.
When a person passes over in Tibet the common practice is for Buddhist monks to sit beside the deceased and read the text from the book to the soul of the deceased person, this is to re assure the soul and guide the soul through the different realms, which can be scary. Often souls have been known to hover around their loved ones because of the fear of taking steps in to the other realms of the afterlife but – Author of Buddha Warriors Mikel Dunham says, ”it’s important to re assure the soul that everything is going to be ok, you have important business to do, so go and do it”.
The creation of the book ”The Tibetan book of the dead” is as mysterious and bewildering as it’s description of the afterlife. It begins with a mysterious figure with supposed magical powers who travelled to Tibet from India, even their true name is unknown and through the centuries his only been known as ”Padmasambhava” which means – ”The Lotus Born”.
His first task was to defeat demons of Tibet by challenging magical combat. He apparently didn’t just destroy the demons, he converted them too. Those demons now are said to be protectors of of Buddhism.
Padmasambhava’s greatest challenge however, was to defeat death itself around the year 800, the Indian Saint wrote down specific instructions relating to the process of death and re birth, he called it ”Bardo” or ”the book of liberation upon hearing in he afterlife”. It was unlike any other buddhist scripture. It’s guidance was classed as so important, that the Buddhist saint actually decided it was dangerous. He felt that the Tibetan’s weren’t ready for that teaching and they might of misunderstood it some way and perhaps misuse it.
Padmasambhava died around 800, his accomplishments were remarkable, he had converted the entire nation of Tibet from a military empire into the most spiritual society on earth.