Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Tibetan Book of the Dead

  • Renee Ford
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_200114-1


The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States (bar do thos grol chen mo) or most commonly known in the West as The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a guiding instruction for a dying person who moves through the three states of living, dying, and intermediate states (bardo). These instructions are read so that the dying focuses on particular events that do not cause further suffering but lead the dying to either a good rebirth or Buddhahood. The text also offers ways to practice in daily life, prepare for the process of dying and afterlife states, and help those who are dying (Coleman and Jinpa 2007).

Padmasambhava introduced these teachings in Tibet during the eighth century and established these teachings as “treasure teachings” (gter-chos) so that the literature would be preserved for future generations. In the fourteenth century, Karma Lingpa (b. 1326) discovered The Profound Dharma of Self-liberated Wisdom Mind (kar gling zhi khro dgongs pa rang grol), a...


Intermediate State Future Generation Psychological State Transformative Process Qualitative Difference 
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  1. Coleman, G., & Jinpa, T. (Eds.). (2007). The Tibetan book of the dead, first complete translation. New York: Penguin.Google Scholar
  2. Evans-Wentz, W. Y. (1960). The Tibetan book of the dead (3rd ed.). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Fremantle, F. (2001). Luminous emptiness: Understanding the Tibetan book of the dead. Boston: Shambhala Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Gimian, C. R. (Ed.). (2004) The Tibetan book of the dead commentary. In The collected works of Chögyam Trungpa, volume six. Boston: Shambhala Publications.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA