Hey! Now when the intermediate state of living arises before me,
I will abandon laziness, for which there is no time in this life
Unwavering, enter the path of learning, reflecting, and meditating
and taking perceptual experience and [the nature of consciousness] as the path
I will actualize the Three Bodies of enlightenment!
This once that I have obtained the human body
is not the time to stay on the path of distractions.
Hey! Now when the intermediate state of dreaming between arises before me
I will give up corpse-like, insensitive sleep in delusion
and mindfully enter unwavering the experience of reality.
Cultivating [the experience of] inner radiance,
Through the recognition, emanation, and transformation of dreams,
I must not sleep like an animal,
But I will cherish the experiential cultivation that merges sleep and realization!
Hey! Now when the intermediate state of meditative cognizance arises before me
I will renounce the host of distractions and confusions
I must undistractedly enter a state,
That is devoid of subjective apprehension, and free from the two extremes,
And attain stability in the generation and perfection stages [of Tantra]!
Renouncing activity, having attained one-pointed meditation
I will not surrender to the power of bewildering mental afflictions!
Hey! Now when the intermediate state of the time of death arises before me
I will renounce all attachment, yearning, and subjective apprehension in every respect,
I must undistractedly enter the path, on which the oral teachings are clearly understood,
and project my consciousness into the uncreated expanse of space.
About to lose this compounded body of flesh and blood
I will realize it to be impermanent illusion!
Hey! Now when the intermediate state of reality arises before me
I will renounce the slightest sense of awe, terror, or fear,
I will recognize all that arises to be awareness, manifesting naturally of itself.
Knowing [all that appears] to be visionary phenomena of the intermediate state,
At this moment, at this most critical point,
I will not fear my own visions of deities mild and fierce, which manifest naturally!
Hey! Now when the intermediate state of rebirth arises before me
With willpower I hold my consciousness, one-pointed
And resolutely connect with the powerful force of my previous virtuous actions;
Blocking the womb door, I will recall the methods of reversal.
Now courage and pure perception are imperative;
I will give up all envy, and contemplate all couples
as my Spiritual Mentor, Father and Mother.
From the mouths of accomplished masters came these words:
"Oh, you, with your mind distracted, thinking that death will never come for you,
Entranced by the pointless activities of mundane life,
If you were to return empty-handed now, would not your life's purpose have been utterly confused?
Recognize what you truly need! It is a holy teaching for liberation!
So, should you not practice this divine teaching beginning from this very moment?"
And so it is said,
"If I do not put the teachers instructions to heart,
Am I not the deceiver of myself?"
Excerpted from "Liberation Through Understanding in the Between," otherwise known as Bardo Thodol or the Tibetan Book of the Dead, by the Tibetan Tantric Master Padmasambhava.