Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Tibetan Book of the Dead

  • Renee FordEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_200114


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...

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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
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  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

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rice UniversityHoustonUSA