Tibetan Book of the Dead

Death is not the end
of pain and pleasure.
The Great Gristmill grinds fine
pebble deeds and boulder
misdeeds.

When YOU, heaving beast,
hear your last breath,
a change will come.
Reality may flash—there’s an instant
of Clear Light.
Eternity,
its silent thunder hums
the mighty Hymn of Paradise.

You float for a moment,
calm ocean of sky,
then drag Heaven down─
Karmic undertow!

Earth sinks into water,
water into fire,
fire into air.

O momentary swoons!
Slumber of ignorance,
you awaken
to crying friends and relatives.
Not having dawned on you,
dearly dead,
that you have departed, you call
“I am here!”
But they don’t see.
So you go away, floating
through walls, displeased.

And then the dreams come—
terrifying and tantalizing phantasms.
Demons and deities dance down
upon the mind stage of propensities.
Realize, Noble Dreamer,
apparitions are aspects
of temporal mind.
Recognize, and liberation is won!

But should you fail to recognize
visions,
mating couples will come,
and you will slip
into another realm.
Go to your womb!

Nine months solitary,
birth and puberty—O God!
Four more years of high school.

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