El libro tibetano de los muertos

In September 1979, at Padmaloka Retreat Centre, Bhante taught a seminar on Trungpa Rimpoche’s introduction to Francesca Fremantle’s translation of the text. The seminar was focused on Trungpa’s presentation, thereby giving Bhante the opportunity to point out the many dangers of reducing the Dharma to psychological terms, however well-meaning the attempt to make it more accessible. Nonetheless, those present got a very thorough grounding in the structure and import of the text itself. In addition, Bhante has dealt with topics arising from the Book of the Dead in a number of lectures and writings. It seems that it had a very important place in his own spiritual life, reflecting his firm conviction in the Buddha’s own teaching of ‘again becoming’ or rebirth.

This retreat will explore the principal themes of the text, in the light of Bhante’s presentation, both through exposition and discussion and through meditation and ritual. In this way, we hope that everyone attending will have the opportunity to enter into the spiritual world of the text and to see its relevance in their present experience and to their perspective on life and death.

Retreat Resources at bottom of page.

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Day 1

dedication ceremony

The retreat begins with a few words of introduction, then a dedication ceremony, mantra and meditation.

Day 2


An introduction to the text, discussing its historic, literary and dharmic context as well as Bhante’s distinctive approach to texts in general.

introducing the bardo of dying

A talk on the bardo of dying followed by an adapted 6-element practice.


A puja, including readings, invocations and mantras.

Day 3

entering The bardo of dying

Ritually moving through the bardo of dying and into the bardo of Dharmata.

the bardos and the trikaya

A talk investigating the bardos and their relation to the Trikaya.

six-element practice and ritual

Revisiting the inspiration verses of the five Jinas through recitation and mantra.

Day 4

entering the bardo of dharmata

Recitation of the text with mantras and offerings.

awareness through the bardos

This talk continues from yesterday, describing the oscillations in awareness through the bardos.

six-element practice and ritual

An unled meditation followed by recitation of today’s text with mantras.

Day 5

entering the bardo of rebirth

Further ritual recitation of the text with accompanying mantras.

three fundamentals

A talk from Subhuti continuing to unpack the journey through the bardos, drawing out three fundamental aspects of the text.

six-element practise and ritual

An unled six-element practise followed by a ritual evoking Vajrasattva and Amitabha.

Day 6

the bardo of rebirth

Further ritual recitation of the text with mantras and offerings.

reflections and friendship

A further talk drawing out the theme of community and friendship, as well as Subhuti’s personal reflections on the text.

six-element practise and ritual

An unguided six-element practise followed by a ritual recitation of the text, mantras and dismantling of the mandala shrine.

Day 7

concluding talk and meditation

A concluding talk from Subhuti on the text as a whole, followed by a period of meditation to assimilate the text.

closing ritual

The retreat concludes with thankyous and a puja to Vajrasattva.

retreat Resources | Click here

Seminar on the Tibetan Book of the Dead with Sangharakshita

For readings and rituals: ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Awakening Upon Dying’
Elio Guarisco, Nancy Simmons
ISBN 10: 1583945555 / ISBN 13: 9781583945551