Tag Archives: what to do for a dying person

Helpful Bardo Prayers


I wanted to compose something beneficial for those people that have a loved one that has died or is in the process of dying.  Since it is never easy to find what you need at the last minute, I figured it would be proper to put all the texts and information in one place.

This yantra (image at right) is depicted in the classic text called the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  It was also passed down from Yogi C. M. Chen to his disciples.  It belongs to a class of blessing objects called “Liberation through Touch”, meaning that one will gain liberation merely by wearing it.

The central deity is Adi Buddha or Samantabhadra Buddha the supreme dharmakaya buddha.  He is surrounded by all the 100 peaceful and wrathful deities.  The surrounding mantras are associated with the deities in the mandala and the buddhas of the six realms at the outermost circle.

Click here to receive instructions on how to fold it and place it properly on the dying family member’s body: Adi Buddha Mandala Mantra Sheet

The Bardo Teachings:

The following info was prepared by Buz & Joanie Overbeck:

Many westerners, having received teachings on the Bardo states, wonder how these might be applied at the time of their death or the death of others.  Basically, the teachings say that, rather than fearing death, one should approach the Bardo states as opportunities for enlightenment and, in order to be open to these opportunities, one should have prepared through practice during one’s lifetime.

“However, even with no experience whatsoever, if one can die a ‘conscious death’ — calmly and openly with no fear, anger, or attachment—one can still create the conditions for enlightenment or a fortunate rebirth.”

These notes were compiled to help all practitioners attain that goal.

Click here: Bardo Information

Bardo Prayers:

These are the actual root verses that a Tibetan Lama would recite next to the bedside of a dying person.  This is a very important text.  It is called Bardo Thodal or “Liberation upon Hearing” in the Bardo.

This text has four sections:

  1. Prayer requesting assistance from the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas
  2. Root verses of the Bardo Thodal
  3. Prayer for the deliverance from the Bardo’s narrow passage
  4. The prayer that protects from fears in the bardos

Click here to download: Bardo Prayers

Five Powerful Mantras:

These mantras are chanted at the time of death.  This text was arranged by Lama Zopa Rinpoche.  These mantras can be chanted for the dying person so that they receive blessings.  It doesn’t matter how close or far away you are.  You can still direct energy and transfer merits to them in this skillful way.

Fortunately, there is one bonus within this text.  There is a special Tibetan script which you can print and then cut out.  Once you have it, then you can place it on the body of the one who is dying.  It will benefit them tremendously so they will have a peaceful death and a higher rebirth in the next life.

Click here to download – Five Powerful Mantras

The Medicine Buddha:

The Medicine Buddha mantra is an excellent way to help your loved one who is in the process of dying or after they have passed.  Lama Zopa Rinpoche explains the following to help us understand the value of the Medicine Buddha practice:

“The Medicine Buddha encompasses all the buddhas.  This means that when we practice the seven-limb prayer and make offerings with the seven limbs, we receive the same merit as we would if we had made offerings to all the buddhas.  Similarly, when we recite the mantra of Medicine Buddha, we collect unbelievable merit just as when we offer the seven-limb practice to Medicine Buddha.”

Guru Shakyamuni Buddha said in the sutra entitled Medicine Guru Beams of Lapis Lazuli:

“Kungawo, do you believe my explanation of the qualities of that tathagata [Medicine Buddha]?”

Kungawo replied to the Bhagavan: “I do not have a two-pointed mind with regard to the teachings of you, the celibate Bhagavan.  Why?  Because the actions of the tathagata’s holy body, holy speech, and holy mind are always pure, without a single mistake.”

Then Guru Shakyamuni Buddha gave this advice:

“Kungawo, whoever hears the holy name of that tathagata will not fall into the evil realms of the suffering transmigratory beings.”

Therefore, at the time of death, it is excellent to recite both Tathagata Medicine Buddha’s holy name and his mantra in the ear of the dying person.

It is extremely beneficial to recite the mantra and blow it upon meat that you are eating, or even on old bones or the dead bodies of animals or humans.  This action purifies the karmic obscurations of those sentient beings.  It can cause someone who has been reborn in the suffering lower realms to immediately pass away and be reborn in a pure realm or amongst happy transmigrators.  At the very least, it will shorten the duration of their suffering in the lower realms.

Medicine Buddha Sadhana:

For forty-nine days after someone’s death, it is a Buddhist tradition that prayers are done for your loved one.  For each seven day period, within the Bardo (intermediate state), there is a significant transition that occurs for the deceased.  To help them wake up and become more lucid at this time, prayers and mantras can be done to assist them.

“These special prayers are done on the day before the weekly anniversary of his death because there is the idea that each week, he passes through a transformation in Bardo and the prayers assist with peaceful transitions in the Bardo state.” — Losang Samten

For example, if someone dies on a Wednesday, it is especially important to do sadhana practice on each Tuesday.

In a general way, the following texts can be recited by anyone.  Just print it out and make it into a precious text for yourself.   The booklet form, however, is a little harder to put together.  I would suggest this short four-page text would be easiest to perform:

  1. Medicine Prayers (booklet form)
  2. Medicine Prayers2 (normal version)

Remember that reciting the Medicine Buddha mantra definitely brings inconceivable merits for you and your loved ones.

many blessings!
Neo

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