Manual For Guiding A Person
Through The After Death Experience


Part One: Confronting the Primary Clear Light

Part Two: Experiencing the Reality of the Mind

Part Three: Seeking Rebirth



A Modern Day Interpretation
Based Upon
The Tibetan Book of the Dead


 This Guide is dedicated to all persons
who have kept and copied the original so
accurately since 846 A.D.



This interpretation is based upon the Bardo Thodol, translated by Lama Kazi Dawa-Samdup, as edited by W. Y. Evans-Wentz. The purpose of this book is to provide a manual for guiding newly deceased persons through the after death experience in terms familiar to the Western world. There has been no attempt made to carry over the beauty of the original translation. Instead its beauty has been sacrificed for clarity. Great liberty has been taken by the interpreter based party on his own subjective reality on after death experiences. The responsibility for this interpretation lies on the interpreter.

The attitude of the person who does the reading of this manual and guides the just dead person should be one of dedication to helping the deceased. Persons who are familiar with this Guide before dying will experience self-liberation more easily than those not familiar with it. However, persons of usual ability, even though unfamiliar with the work, will benefit greatly even if they do not completely achieve the state of self-liberation.

When death has occurred, the reading of this Guide will contribute greatly to the spiritual advancement of all those who have not already taken complete responsibility for their minds.



Instructions to the Reader

A person who is familiar with this Guide and who is a friend of the deceased would be the best reader to help the newly deceased. However, if there is no one familiar with this Guide or no friend, any person willing to help the newly decease may do so by reading the Guide with intention. If there is no body, then the bed or an accustomed seat of the deceased should be occupied by the reader. He should conceive of the spirit of the deceased as present and listening. If the body is present, the reader should sit to the right of it and read the Guide directly to the spirit of the deceased via his body. During the reading of this Guide no relative or interested person should be allowed to weep or be highly concerned. The reading should take place at least three times, preferably seven or as many times as the reader can willingly tolerate the duplication of the reading. The entire Guide is to be read, even though it may be thought that the deceased has reached liberation during an earlier part.

There are three parts to the Guide. First, confronting the phenomena of death as they occur during the moments of death; second, reminding the person to confront and be responsible for the reality of the mind while in the intermediate state; and third, methods of controlling desires when seeking rebirth.



The Confronting of the
Primary Clear Light

Or the Willingness
To Be Responsible for
the State of Knowing

When the breathing has ceased the person will experience a state of no location in time or space and will have no consciousness as to his own identity. This state varies in length from one second to about twenty minutes depending upon the state of being of the person. The reader should read the following when the breathing of the person is about to cease, calling him by name and saying,

The time has arrived for you to begin to understand the reality of the universe. You are about to experience a state wherein all things will be clear and certain. At this moment you will know yourself. Continue in that state.

The reader should read the following with the intention of keeping the deceased's attention from wandering even for a moment.


Repeat the above distinctly at least three, preferably seven or more, times. If the person understands the state he is experiencing his liberation is certain.

The Confronting of the
Secondary Clear Light

Or the Willingness To Be
Responsible for
the State of Looking

Assuming that the person may not have recognized his basic state of being, proceed as follows. The person will assume a location exterior from the body and wonder whether he is dead or not. He will view his surroundings as they are. During this period the reader is to read the following to the newly deceased:

Repeat this many times to the deceased with the intention that he shall achieve the state of enlightenment. During this period the person will assume different locations in space in the vicinity of his body and the immediate surroundings. The ability of the person while in the state of the primary or secondary clear light is five to ten times as great as it is when he is living in his body.Thus it is possible to achieve more easily the state of enlightenment immediately after death and the reader can take advantage of this ability.



Experiencing the Reality
of the Mind

Or the Willingness To Be
Responsible for
the States of Emotion

Assuming that the person may not have achieved liberation through Part I, then proceed as follows. This part of the Guide is important and has much power, and should be read to the deceased carefully and with intention.

While in the state of exteriorization from the body, the person does not have a body to help him confront the incoming light and sound. He becomes awed, frightened and terrified from the impact of light and sound and eventually becomes fatigued. Thus he begins to interpose easier-to-confront mental images between himself and the incoming light and sound. Not being sufficiently inventive, he brings into play mental images from his past experiences and therefore begins to re-experience his own past. Calling the person by name, clearly and distinctly explain to him as follows:

Listen to what I am saying with full attention. There are six states of life, three of which you experience after death. The first of these three you experienced at the moment of death. Now you are going to experience the other two which are the reality of the mind and rebirth. Pay undistracted attention to me as I read this to you. Death has now come and you are departing from this world, but you are not the only one, as death comes to all people on earth. Be willing to release any connections with the life you have been living and release the people with whom you have associated. No matter what fear or terror might come during the experiencing of the reality of the mind, keep the following in your consciousness and go forward.

“Visions may appear to my consciousness, may I recognize them as creations of my own. May I know that these are natural apparitions of the mind and come from my previous lack of responsibility for my states of being. May I not fear the beingnesses which appear in my consciousness, but recognize them as thought forms of my own previous states of being."


Repeat these instructions many times to the person and then further explain to him as follows:

The body which you now have is called the thought body of habit and automatic desires. Since you do not have a material body of flesh and blood, light and sound cannot harm you; and you are incapable of dying. Recognize that any mental image which occurs is of your own creation. Maintain that recognition and you will achieve liberation.

Assuming that the deceased may have been unwilling to take responsibility for the mental images of his past, he will, in his mind, superimpose a series of other mental images from his earliest times in this universe moving forward to the present; however, he will only be conscious of those pictures of past experiences which he is able to confront. Generally speaking the earlier the experience, the greater the intensity of the experience and the more difficult it is to confront. Thus some people will be in an unconsciousness state until pictures of experiences they are capable of confronting appear in their minds.

To help give every person at any level of ability the opportunity to better confront pictures of past experiences and to ultimately achieve the state of liberation, understand what follows. The order in which the person will first experience his past is as follows: He will view the various beingnesses which he has been.

First, the beingness of Wisdom which will appear as a blue light which was lost through weakness. Second, the beingness of Happiness, which will appear as a white light and was lost through anger. Third, the beingness of Equality which appears as a yellow light and was lost through covetousness and egotism. Fourth, the beingness of Discrimination which appears as a red light and was lost through jealousy. Fifth, the beingness of Performance or Action which appears as a green light and was lost through fear. diagram

Repeat each of the following three to seven times, with a separation of time between each repetition. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:


Even though you may have been in a state of unconsciousness for a period of time, when you recover from this state you will think, "What has happened?" Act so that you will recognize that you are confronting the reality of your past experiences. The phenomenon which you will see will be a complete field of deep blue in which will appear a blue light with a radiance so bright that you will scarcely be able to look at it. Along with it will also appear a dull white light. The blue light is associated with your past beingness when you were wise. However, associated with the tremendous radiance of the blue light will be fear and terror so that you will desire to look at the dull white light instead. The fear and terror are caused by what you experienced in the past when you abandoned the beingness of Wisdom. Do not be awed by the blue light which appears shining, dazzling and glorious; but hold firm and conceive that this light is of your own past beingness, and the light will merge into you with a halo of rainbow light and you will achieve liberation.

If, through weakness, the person is unable to confront the beingness of the blue light, then a white light will appear to him. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:

Listen to me undistractedly. The white light will begin to appear. This is the beingness which you had when you were happy with the ability to create life forms. This light will shine a bright radiant white with such dazzling brilliance and transparency that you will scarcely be able to look at it. It will strike against you. Alongside the white light will be a gray-black light. The emotion of anger will make you afraid and you will be startled by the dazzling white light and wish to flee from it. You will desire the gray-black light. Confront the bright, dazzling, transparent white light and know it to be a state of being which you once had as the ability to create order. The attracting beams which shine forth from this light were your own past efforts in helping others. If you should experience the power of violent anger, ignore it al1 and confront the brilliant and dazzling white light. Thus the white light will merge into you in a rainbow light and you will achieve the state of happiness and liberation.


If, through lack of responsibility for the emotion of anger, the person is unable to confront the beingness of the white light, then a yellow light will appear to him. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:

A yellow light will begin to appear. This is the beingness which you had when you had a tolerance of your fellow beings. This light will shine a bright, radiant yellow with such dazzling brilliance and transparency that you will scarcely be able to look at it. It will strike against you. Along side the yellow light will appear a dull greenish light which represents how a human being acts. The power of egotism will make you afraid. You will be startled by the dazzling yellow light. It will make you fearful and you will desire to look at the dull greenish light. Confront the dazzling yellow transparent light and know it to be the wisdom of equality. Know that your fears are the fears that you had when you lost the ability of tolerance for your fellow beings. Know that the radiance and the fears are of your own creation. Thus, confront the beingness of the brilliant yellow light. It will then merge into you in a rainbow of light; and you will achieve the state of happiness and liberation.

If, due to egotism and the inability to be tolerant of others, the person is unable to confront the beingness of the yellow light, he will flee from it. Then a red light will appear to him. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:

Listen to me undistractedly. Next a red light of the all-discriminating beingness will appear to you. It is glittering red, glorified with orbs, bright, transparent, glorious and dazzling. It will strike against you so radiantly that you will scarcely be able to confront it. Along with it a dull red light will appear and, through the influence of the desire to possess physical things, you will become terrified by the dazzling red light and will fear it. You will desire to look at the dull red light instead. Know that the glorious, transparent and radiant red light is your former beingness as a discriminating person. Recognize that your fear of the red light is the fear you felt when you lost the ability to discriminate clearly. Confront the bright red light and know it to be a creation of your own. Thus, in a rainbow of light, you will attain the ability to discriminate and liberation.


If, due to a desire for physical things, the person is unable to confront the red light, he will be unable to maintain his separation from bodies and will have to seek liberation through rebirth. Then a green light will appear to the person. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:

Listen to me with full attention. A green light will now begin to appear. This is the beingness you had when you were able to successfully perform good actions. This light will shine bright radiant-green; it will be glorious and terrifying, beautified with orbs of green. It will strike against you so brilliantly that you will scarcely be able to confront it. Know that the radiant power from the green light is your ability to perform actions. Along with the green light, a dull green colored light will appear produced by the feeling of jealousy. 1gnore the dull green light. Confront the dazzling, glorious green light. The terror that you feel is from the influence of the intense jealousy that you felt when you lost the ability to perform good actions. The hook rays from the glorious green light are from your past willingness to work. Accept them and know that the brilliant green light is your own past ability to act. Know that the brilliant green light is your own creation. Confronting it and the green light will merge into you in a rainbow of light; and you will attain the state of willingness to work and liberation.


If the person has been able to confront any of the various stages of the beingnesses of the mind successfully, he is freed from the rest of the mental phenomena of the mind. However, even though he has been instructed repeatedly, the hook rays of his own past good deeds may not have been sufficient to help him through confronting the lights. This is due to his long tendency to become attached to physical things, his lack of familiarity with the spiritual aspects of life, and by the power of his own irresponsibilities. He will now make all the states appear simultaneously in his mind and the blue, white, yellow, red and green lights will appear. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:

Listen to me undistractedly. Five dazzling bright lights have appeared in your mind one by one. You have attempted to confront them but were terrified by them and have remained here. This was owing to your lack of willingness to be responsible for those states of being. Now the lights of all five of these former beingnesses will reach out for you simultaneously and strike against you. Accompanying these beingnesses will be other former beingnesses that you had when you looked after plants and animals, when you were responsible for mankind, when you were a mediator of your fellow beings, when you were a teacher and when you were a warrior.

In all, many past beingnesses of yours will appear. You are now creating these beingnesses to help you confront the various lights and to help you confront the environment about you. You are bringing up past beingnesses of your own. With these you confronted the various lights and the environment about you in the past when you were able to be them. Know that you are now creating these beingnesses; Confront them with all their radiance and power until they merge into you; and you will re-attain these beingnesses.

If' the person is unable to take responsibility for his past beingnesses and has been unable to confront the senior and junior beingnesses which were capable of knowing, he will begin to make appear in his mind beingnesses of varying degrees of knowledge proceeding from the more knowing to the less knowing beingnessess resulting finally in mystery. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:


The knowledge-holding beingness will appear in front of the radiant lights. The beingness of curiosity along with the desire to know about human life and an intolerance of death mixed with a refusal of help will appear in the forms you had when you demonstrated those traits.

This beingness or these beingnesses will generate confusion which will be very difficult to tolerate. From behind that confusion will shine forth the five radiant lights of wisdom and recognition. You will feel a desire to look at the confusion rather than the brilliant lights of recognition. You will be tempted to be stupid instead of knowing. You will be driven by a desire to kill rather than to understand. Know that these confusions and these lights and these desires are of your own creation and cannot injure you. Reach out for the rays extending from the five lights. Holding the thought that you are capable of knowing; and you will draw the lights toward you. They will merge into you; and you will regain the ability to know.

This ends the appearance in the mind of the constructive aspects of the past able beingnesses which the person has had. Most persons of a spiritual or understanding nature will have attained some degree of liberation by confronting the mind and taking responsibility for its existence. However, the vast majority will remain unliberated from the mind and will proceed to bring up further aspects of the mind which they conceive to be easier to be responsible for and easier to confront.

What takes place is a recapitulation of the foregoing beingnesses in their reactionary aspects. The person goes through a series of unconscious periods between the appearance of the various beingnesses. Even though a person may have a great deal of religious and metaphysical training, the experiences which he undergoes are usually beyond his capacity to understand and he fails to successfully handle them and guide himself through them. This is because it is not knowledge or data which one needs to successfully handle these experiences. It is to be willing and knowing cause over the phenomena which appear in the mind.


Persons who are practiced in mental visualization and who have also become totally responsible for those visualizations have little difficulty in obtaining liberation upon hearing these instructions read to them. However, because of this Guide's exact description of the phenomena of the after death experience and the correct assigning of responsibility to the person himself, the reading can bring about an instantaneous enlightenment through the hearing of it alone. Calling the person by name, read to him thus:

Listen to me undistractedly. You have not been able to recognize the constructive aspects of your former beingnesses, and have obscured them through confusion. The destructive aspects of your past beingnesses will begin to appear in order to obscure your consciousness. These beingnesses, while less powerful and therefore easier to confront, have more repulsive and more disgusting aspects. Thus you will wish to turn away from them. But recognize them as your own past beingnesses and know that you are now creating them in your mind. This recognition will cause them to merge into you; and thus you will obtain the ability to tolerate irresponsibility.

Several of these beingnesses will appear. Recognize that you may not be injured or affected by the fearsomeness and repulsiveness of these beings in any way. Recognizing them to be of your own creation, and you will regain the abilities of the beingnesses contained therein. You will experience many body forms made of light, performing many acts which are frightening and disgusting. Recognize that your fright and disgust was the fright and disgust that you felt when, being such a being yourself, you were opposed by another such being and were overwhelmed. Know that you are now creating the acts and emotions and thoughts the same as when you were overwhelmed and lost your tolerance for such beingnesses. Thus knowing, all fear and disgust is dissipated; and you will regain your lost ability to tolerate fear and fright.


It is possible that any person, no matter how evil or unknowing or stupid, may be able to obtain liberation if he would but recognize the truth of the foregoing. However, those still not recognizing the truth will bring upon themselves the third phase of the after death experience.



Seeking Rebirth

Or the Willingness To Be
Responsible for Effort

This part of the after death experience is concerned with curiosity about, desire for, enforcement of, and inhibition from bodies. The deceased, not having recognized, or having been unwilling to be responsible for the mental phenomena that have appeared to him in his mind, begins to undergo mental phenomena having directly to do with human body forms.

First, explain the after death body to the deceased as follows: Calling the person by name, read to him thus:

Listen to me well. There is the phenomenon of supernormal birth. Indeed, when you were experiencing the radiances of the constructive and then destructive aspects of your former beingnesses, you were unable to confront them and so would pass into a state of unconsciousness. And now, having recovered from that state, you find yourself with a body made of light, resembling your former body and having the same facilities of sense, but endowed with the ability to move at will. You are visible to beings who are exterior from their bodies but not to beings who are in bodies. This body is originally the result of your curiosity about it, so that you created a thought­-form image of it. From your desire to have it, you have caused it to persist.

You will begin to have visions of your future place of birth. Instead of being attracted to the vision of your place of rebirth, rest your mind undistractedly in a nothing-to-do, nothing-to-hold-on-to condition. Leave your mind in an unformed void and you will be freed from having to have a body to which your past experiences would attract you.



Read this over many times, so as to keep the person in a state of no-thought during the period of desiring a body. However, since the person may not be able to maintain his mind so, call him by name and read to him thus:

Listen to me carefully. Even if while living, your body was blind, or deaf, or lame, or impaired in some fashion, the body that you have now will have all its sense organs unimpaired and be very keen and complete. Take this as an indication that you are deceased and wandering in the mental phenomena of the mind. Keep this in mind: “You have a body seemingly fleshy, resembling the former, endowed with all sense faculties and the power of unimpeded motion, possessing miraculous mental powers, visible to pure celestial eyes of beings of like nature. This is a description of your present state. "Unimpeded motion" implies that your present body, being a desire body, is not a body of gross matter and that you have the power to go through any wall, hill, or any physical barrier without being impeded, except a baby body about to be born or the brain of an unoccupied body.

You are empowered with the ability for miraculous actions. You can in a moment travel to any spot on earth. You can exercise the ability to make appear to you anything which you may desire. "Visible to pure celestial eyes of like nature" implies that only beings who are in a similar state as yourself will be able to see your body. Instead of being concerned with them, ignore them and keep your attention upon the state of clear thought. You will perceive many places which you may have desired to see on Earth, and people, as if you were seeing them in a dream. You will see your relatives and friends and speak to them, but you will receive no reply. You will think, "I am dead. What shall I do?" and, having experienced this loss, you will feel very miserable. But feeling miserable will achieve nothing now. Be not attached to your relatives and friends or your possessions; but fix your attention upon the state of clear thought.


There will be a gray, dim light both night and day. This is the natural light of all things and is diffused everywhere.

You will continue in this state for from one to seven weeks or more, depending upon your past actions. You will experience during this time all of the hard-to-endure, confusing mental phenomena. Do not be afraid of what you see. It is your own attention wandering through the mind. Great masses of blackness will appear in front of you and tremendous shouts of "Kill!" and "Destroy!" will come from the darkness.

People who have done many evil things will re-experience all their evil acts coming back at them. They will see wild animals attacking them, bitter cold and fierce winds striking them, and visions of being pursued by many people. Persons of this type will be terrified of these awesome sights and sounds and will flee from them not caring which direction they take.

There will be three awesome precipices which will block their way. These are actually anger, lust and stupidity, but appear as white, black and red precipices. The feeling of falling over these precipices is actually the feeling of falling into the womb to be reborn. If you are one of these people, keep the thought in mind, “I shall be born into a happy world." Act so as not to forget this.


Others who have done many good acts in their past will experience delightful pleasures and happiness during the experiencing of the mind. And those who have neither merits nor evil deeds will experience neither pain nor pleasure, but will experience a colorless state of boredom. No matter which state you experience, fear not the terrors and desire not the pleasures, but think, “I am responsible for all I see and all I create." Keep this in mind without thinking that you are thinking it.

You will find yourself having short periods of rest and reprieve from the mind; but again your mind will carry you off to more wanderings. Because of your inability to maintain control over your thoughts, you will often times feel perturbed and even panic-stricken, and you will become incoherent at times. In this state this thought will occur to you, “Alas, I am dead. What shall I do?" Because of this thought, that which is basically you, that which is conscious, will be sad and experience a feeling of great loss and infinite misery. Since you cannot rest in one place, you will feel impelled to go on. But don't think of these things; instead allow your mind to be in an unformed state.


You will think of your home. You will be there again and you will see your relatives and your own dead body; and you will think:"Now I am dead. What shall I do?" Being oppressed with intense sorrow, the thought will occur to you, “Oh, what would I not give to possess a body!" With this thought in mind you will wander about seeking a body.

Even though you could re-enter your own dead body many times over, it will be useless to you. Finding no place to enter into, you will be dissatisfied and have the sensation of being squeezed into cracks and crevices amidst rocks and boulders. Even though you seek a body, you will get nothing but trouble for your actions. Put aside the desire for a body and maintain the mind in an unformed state; and so maintaining, you will obtain liberation.



Even so, it may be possible that because of the inability to confront his mind and control his attention, the deceased will not have recognized his state. Therefore, call the deceased by name and read to him as follows:

What you are suffering from comes from your own past deeds for which you have not been willing to be responsible. It is not due to anyone else. Keep in mind that your own basic goodness is with you through what is about to transpire.

Now will begin the reviewing of all of your good deeds and comparing of them to all of your evil deeds. When your evil deeds are brought up you will attempt to lie and say, "I have not committed any evil deed." Then that past beingness of yours which has been keeping track of all of your evil actions will bring up your own memory and show you what you have done. Lying will be of no use to you now. Then one of your past beingnesses of evil actions will torture your present body in horrible, excruciatingly painful ways. Your body will be eaten and hacked to pieces; but you are incapable of dying. Your body will revive and the tortures will be repeated over and over.

Fear these things not. Your body, being a mental body and incapable of dying, is in reality a formed-up nothingness of your own creation. Voidness cannot injure the voidness of your body. Keep conscious of what is happening.

Now listen to me undistractedly. In the state that you are now experiencing, the true state of the mind is an empty state of willingness to know and of knowingness uninterrupted by knowledge. Conceiving and understanding this state is what separates enlightened beings from all others. Be not distracted now; for in this moment of time you can achieve enlightenment.

Up until now you may not have recognized the true state of mind; but by doing so now, you will obtain self liberation.



If the deceased is an uneducated person and is apparently totally unable to control his attention, read the following to him:

Think of the most able and admirable person that you have ever known and hold onto your thought of him through all the experiencing of the mind. Even though you may be born again, you will not be hurt.


Although you have given previous instructions to the deceased to confront and be responsible for his mind, it is possible that he has not achieved liberation. It could be that he has not recognized the truth from your instructions. Therefore, yet again set about to liberate the deceased by calling him by name and speaking to him as follows:

There will appear to you six different colored lights: dull white, dull green, dull yellow, dull blue, dull red, and black. These different lights will attempt to attract you to different kinds of rebirths. Ignore them all and conceive the highest level of beingness that you can think of. Think of this for awhile and let it melt away until nothing remains but the clearness of the mind. And by maintaining the mind so, automatic rebirth into a body will not occur and enlightenment will be attained.


The Process of Rebirth

Or the Willingness To Be
Responsible for Human Bodies

Herein follows several methods of keeping from being born into a body which would be a member of an undesirable family. Therefore the following instructions become very important. Call the deceased by name and read:


The various methods given above for staying out of undesirable bodies are powerful. Through use of them, people of the most average or lowest abilities should be liberated. You might ask why this is so. First, it is because in the after death state the deceased possesses supernormal powers of perception. Whatever is said to him is apprehended immediately. Second, although the deceased may have been impaired in some of his physical faculties, in the after death state all faculties are perfect. Third, because of the tremendous necessity to be released from the awesomeness of the mind, the deceased will think, "What's the best thing to do?" and will be very attentive to what you have to say. And since he is unimpeded, he will go immediately to whatever place that you direct him. Fourth, the deceased is ten times more lucid than before. Even though stupid before death, at this time his intellect is exceedingly clear and he is capable of holding thoughts exceedingly well.

For these reasons many opportunities are given for the desceased to take advantage of while in the after death state. There are nevertheless many people who, even though reminded and instructed, are not liberated by the foregoing. Once more, call the deceased by name and read to him as follows:

When it becomes certain to you that you are going to be born, choose the continent and country of your place of birth. Desire to be born into a country of spiritual advancement. In fleeing from the mind, you will feel the driving compulsion to enter into a body. However, ignore such compulsive desires; and you will attain the power to select the body of your choice.

There are two ways to choose: One, hold in mind the thought of being with spiritually minded people of wise understanding. Two, conceive of the type of person you would like to be and hold this thought in mind.

 Enter only into a body for which you feel no repulsion or attraction and can have a mood of complete impartiality.

 Special Instruction :

If it is not possible for you to rid yourself of attractions or repulsions, or desires to be good or desires to be evil, conceive of the most able being that you can imagine and hold your thought on this identity.



Read this entire Guide carefully and with intention at least three times. You will have helped your fellow being on his road to self-liberation.

Part One:
Confronting the Primary Clear Light

Part Two:
Experiencing the Reality of the Mind

Part Three: Seeking Rebirth

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