The Tibetan Book of the Dead Read by Actor Richard Gere
"The Tibetan Book of the Dead" is a classic text of liberation and the practice of preparing for death as a path to recognize the true nature of the mind. This translation by Chögyam Trungpa and Francesca Fremantle is read by actor Richard Gere. Following is a powerful excerpt from this recording.
Homage to the Gurus, the three Kayas: Amitabha, Infinite Light, the Dharmakaya, Peaceful and Wrathfull Lotus Deities, the Sambhogakaya, Padsamambhava, Protector of Beings, the Nirmanakaya.
This “Great Liberation through Hearing,” the means of liberation in the bardo for yogins of average capacities, is in three parts: the introduction, the main subject-matter, and the conclusion. Firstly the introduction -- the means of liberating human beings. First of all, one should have studied the instructions, which should certainly liberate those of the highest capacities. But if they do not, one should practice the ejection of consciousness, which liberates spontaneously as soon as it is thought of, in the bardo of the moment before death. This should certainly liberate yogins of average capacities, but if it does not one should strive in this “Great Liberation through Hearing” in the bardo of dharmata. Therefore the yogin should first examine the sequence of signs of death according to the “Spontaneous Liberation of the Signs of Death,” and when they are definitely completed he should effect the ejection of consciousness, which liberates spontaneously as soon as it is thought of. If ejection is affected there is no need to read the “Liberation Through Hearing,” but if not it should be read clearly and precisely, close to the dead body. If the body is not present, one should sit on the dead person’s bed or seat, and proclaiming the power of truth call on his consciousness and read, imagining him sitting in front listening.
At this time sounds of crying and weeping are not good, so his relatives should be shut out. If the body is present, then during the interval between the ceasing of the breath and the ceasing of pulsation in the arteries, his guru or a dharma brother or sister whom he loved and trusted should read this “Great Liberation through Hearing” close to his ear. The teaching of the “Liberation through Hearing.” An elaborate offering should be made to the Three Jewels if the materials are available, but if they are not available one should set out whatever there is and visualize the rest without limit. One should say the “Inspiration-Prayer Calling on the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas for Rescue” seven or three times, then loudly recite the “Inspiration-Prayer for the Deliverance from the Dangerous Pathway of the Bardo” and the “Main Verses of the Bardo.” Then read “The Great Liberation through Hearing” seven or three times. It is in three parts: showing the luminosity in the bardo of the movement before death, the great reminder of showing in the bardo of dharmata, and the instructions for closing the entrance to the womb of becoming.
First, showing the luminosity in the bardo of the moment before death. By having this read to them all kinds of ordinary people, who have received teachings but have not recognized although they are intelligent, or who have recognized but have practiced little, will recognize the basic luminosity and bypass the bardo experience to reach the unoriginated dharmakaya. The method of instruction: It is best if his principal guru from whom he requested teaching can be present, but otherwise a dharma brother or sister with whom he has taken the samaya vow or a spiritual friend in the same lineage. If none of these are to be found, then someone who can ready aloud clearly and precisely should read it several times. This will remind him of what his guru has shown him and he will immediately recognize the basic luminosity and be liberated, there is no doubt.
- Michelle Wesley