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The Tibetan Book of the Dead Quotes

21 of the best book quotes from The Tibetan Book of the Dead
  1. #1
    “Are you oblivious to the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death? There is no guarantee that you will survive, even past this very day! The time has come [for you] to develop perseverance in [your] practice. For, at this singular opportunity, you could attain the everlasting bliss [of nirvāṇa]. So now is [certainly] not the time to sit idly, But, starting with [the reflection on] death, you should bring your practice to completion! The moments of our life are not expendable, And the [possible] circumstances of death are beyond imagination. If you do not achieve an undaunted confident security now, What point is there in your being alive, O living creature?”
  2. #2
    “Death holds up an all-seeing mirror, ‘the mirror of past actions’, to our eyes, in which the consequences of all our negative and positive actions are clearly seen and there is a weighing of our past actions in the light of their consequences, the balance of which will determine the kind of existence or mental state we are being driven to enter.”
  3. #3
    “How very remorseful are you, who have accumulated evil! On this dangerous red passageway traversed by all, When you are brought to trial by the executors of Yama’s rites, even though you may have been once very powerful, here, it will be of no avail! Now is the time for the hearts and lungs of all great wrongdoers to be torn apart! Since you have practiced non-virtue, this reckoning of your past actions will be quicker and more powerful than lightning, so by fleeing you will not escape, and by showing remorse, this will be of no help! How pitiful are the human beings of Jambudvlpa who do not strive to practice the [sacred] teachings!”
  4. #4
    “Please guide all beings from this swamp of cyclic existence!”
  5. #5
    “In modern science the methods of analysis are principally applied to investigating the nature of material entities. Thus, the ultimate nature of matter is sought through a reductive process and the macroscopic world is reduced to the microscopic world of particles. Yet, when the nature of these particles is further examined, we find that ultimately their very existence as objects is called into question.”
  6. #6
    “But, nevertheless, if there is even the slightest recognition, liberation is easy. Should you ask why this is so—it is because once the awesome, terrifying and fearful appearances arise, the awareness does not have the luxury of distraction. The awareness is one-pointedly concentrated.”
  7. #7
    “If, upon looking outwards towards the external expanse of the sky, There are no projections emanated by the mind, and if, on looking inwards at one’s own mind, There is no projectionist who projects [thoughts] by thinking them, Then, one’s own mind, completely free from conceptual projections, will become luminously clear.”
  1. #8
    “There is no reason for a sound faith to be irrational. A useful faith should not be blind, but should be well aware of its grounds. A sound faith should be able to use scientific investigation to strengthen itself. it should be open to the spirit not to lock itself up in the letter. A nourishing, useful, healthful faith should be no obstacle to developing a science of death.”
  2. #9
    “Abandon your notions of the past, without attributing a temporal sequence! Cut off your mental associations regarding the future, without anticipation! Rest in a spacious modality, without clinging to [the thoughts of] the present. Do not meditate at all, since there is nothing upon which to meditate. Instead, revelation will come through undistracted mindfulness — Since there is nothing by which you can be distracted.”
  3. #10
    “It is undeniably the case that in our society we do not easily accept that death is a natural part of life, which results in a perpetual sense of insecurity and fear, and many are confused at the time of the death of a loved one, not knowing what they can do to help the one that has passed away or how to address their own grief. Exploring ways of overcoming our fear of death and adopting a creative approach at the time of bereavement, that is, focusing one’s energy on supporting the one that has passed away, are both extraordinary benefits of the insights and practices that are so beautifully expressed in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. When I think of these things I often remember the Dalai Lama saying: ‘When we look at life and death from a broader perspective, then dying is just like changing our clothes! When this body becomes old and useless, we die and take on a new body, which is fresh, healthy and full of energy! This need not be so bad!’”
  4. #11
    “O, [you], with your mind far away, thinking that death will not come, Entranced by the pointless activities of this life, If you were to return empty-handed now, would not your [life’s] purpose have been [utterly] confused? Recognize what it is that you truly need! It is a sacred teaching [for liberation]! So, should you not practice this divine [sacred] teaching, beginning from this very moment?”
  5. #12
    “May we become exactly like you, glorious spiritual teacher! Exactly resembling you in body, retinue, lifespan, fields, and in your supreme and excellent major marks.”
  6. #13
    “Seeing the mind as extraneous to oneself is indeed bewildering, yet bewilderment and non-bewilderment are of a single essence.”
  7. #14
    “May all sentient beings be endowed with happiness! May they all be separated from suffering and its causes! May they be endowed with joy, free from suffering! May they abide in equanimity, free from attachment or aversion!”

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  1. #15
    “The ocean of mundane cyclic existence is like an illusion.”
  2. #16
    “Be certain that the nature of mind is empty and without foundation. One’s own mind is insubstantial, like an empty sky. Look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not. Divorced from views which constructedly determine [the nature of] emptiness, be certain that pristine cognition, naturally originating, is primordially radiant- just like the nucleus of the sun, which is itself naturally originating. Look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not!”
  3. #17
    “You will never understand the meaning of actual reality.”
  4. #18
    “I bow down to and take refuge in the sacred teachings, including the doctrines of the ultimate truth, quiescent and desireless, the irreversible path of the three vehicles, and the transmissions, esoteric instructions, and treatises of the transmitted precepts and treasures.”
  5. #19
    “All phenomena are [ultimately] selfless, empty, and free from conceptual elaboration.”
  6. #20
    “The nature of the mind, which is all-knowing, aware of everything, empty and radiant, is established to be the manifestly radiant and self-originating pristine cognition, present from the beginning, just like the sky...”
  7. #21
    “When I was six I decided that my only chance of having a life half as exciting as Grandpa Portman’s was to become an explorer.”
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