THE BARDO PACKAGE
Sacred elements & instructions to assist one at the time of death & on the journey within the “Interval of Possibility” (The Bardo)

It is taught that there are six possible ways for attaining liberation in the bardo: through hearing, wearing, seeing, recollection, tasting, and touching.

These methods provide the base for this extremely rare and precious Bardo Package prepared under the direction of Venerable Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, Abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra, the North American seat of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje.

Rinpoche personally consecrated the various elements and gave specific instructions on how to use them. If used as directed, the items in The Bardo Package will bring definite benefit at the time of death (see more details about the history of this packet below).

The Five Elements of The Bardo Package

The following is an overview of the contents; see the bottom of this page for more details and descriptions on how each element is to be used; printed instructions & illustrations are included in each package:

  • Liberation CD: Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche recites the text Liberation Through Hearing, with mantras and aspiration prayers to be played for the dying person.
  • Amrita Pill: Khenpo Karthar personally prepared the blessing pill to be given to the dying person 2 or 3 days before death.
  • Small Mandala: A small mandala in a plastic pouch to be worn like a necklace.
  • Bardo Blanket: The silk bardo blanket imprinted with the mandala of 100 Peaceful and Wrathful Deities to be placed on the vital points of the deceased’s body.
  • Liberating Sand: The blessed sand to be placed on the top center of the deceased’s head.

How to Obtain the Bardo Package

Packages are available for a donation of $108 + shipping & handling. A choice of U.S. domestic & international shipping options are available below. Please select the mailing option you prefer and click on the button to make your online payment.

Shipping Options
Packages will ship within 5-7 days; Please email us at friendsofktd@gmail.com with any urgent requests or questions or if you would prefer to pay for your packet with a check.
USPS priority regular (3 days delivery): $15 + $108; TOTAL CHARGE = $123
USPS priority express (overnight where available): $25 + $108; TOTAL CHARGE = $133
International: USPS international regular: $35 + $108; TOTAL CHARGE = $143
International: USPS international express: $50 + $108; TOTAL CHARGE= $158

MORE ABOUT THIS TRADITION

As is written in the sutras, the end of birth is death. Departing from this world is a fact that all living beings have to face one day. If we are not prepared, death can be a confusing and terrifying experience. But if we are ready, the interim between death and rebirth (bardo) can become an opportunity for attaining higher rebirth and liberation.

Tai Situ Rinpoche writes in Primordial Essence Manifests,

“…once mind exits the body then it is into the universe and if we recognize it, if we are able to be in control of it, if we are able to be aware of it, to master it, then we are truly experiencing the relative limitlessness of the ultimate mind…. So in this state, if you are mature and if you master it, you have absolute freedom. Otherwise it will be the most terrifying thing because there is no limitation and no reference point. For example, you can’t close the window, the door or shut the curtains or lie down, you can’t do anything; it is all out there….we don’t have a body that can hold onto something if we are blown by the wind. Therefore, we are totally out of control and there is no limitation to all the sounds, all the light, all the feelings and everything, so that state is a very scary thing if we do not master it, if we are not aware of it. If we are aware of it then it is truly revealing the truth of the universe, the truth of everything, limitless.”

Given that ordinary people have very little control over the appearances that arise in the bardo, it makes sense that we would want to make use of every possible method for liberation at the time of death. And fortunately, thanks to sacred terma teachings discovered hundreds of years ago, we do have access to precise instructions on navigating the otherwise terrifying bardo state. There are six ways the consciousness can attain liberation in the bardo: liberation through hearing, liberation through wearing, liberation through seeing, liberation through remembering, liberation through tasting, and liberation through touching. These methods were taught by Padmasambhava and handed down through the centuries in an unbroken lineage.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche writes:

“The Bardo Thödröl (bar-do’i-thos’grol) is one of a series of instructions on six types of liberation….They were composed by Padmasambhava and written down by his wife, Yeshe Tsogyal along with the sadhana of the two mandalas of forty-two peaceful and fifty-eight wrathful deities.

Padmasambhava buried these texts in the Gampo hills in Central Tibet, where later the great teacher Gampopa established his monastery. Many other texts and sacred objects were buried in this way in different places throughout Tibet, and are know as terma, “hidden treasures.” Padmasambhava gave the transmission of power to discover the termas to his twenty-five chief disciples. The bardo texts were later discovered by Karma Lingpa, who was an incarnation of one of these disciples.

Liberation, in this case, means that whoever comes into contact with this teaching—even in the form of doubt, or with an open mind—receives a sudden glimpse of enlightenment through the power of the transmission contained in these treasures.

Karma Lingpa belonged to the Nyingma tradition but his students were all of the Kagyu tradition. He gave the first transmission of the six liberation teachings to Dödul Dorje, the thirteenth Karmapa, who in turn gave it to Gyurme Tenphel, the eight Trungpa. This transmission was kept alive in the Surmang monasteries of the Trungpa lineage, and from there it spread back into the Nyingma tradition.—Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo

MORE ABOUT THE BARDO PACKAGE

The Bardo Package is an extremely rare collection of sacred items that have been produced with great care under the direct supervision of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche, Abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD) in Woodstock, New York, the Western Seat of the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Rinpoche made sure that the traditional rituals for the dying as prescribed by Padmasambhava are rendered accurately, while distilling the profound instructions into a set of procedures easily accessible to anyone. Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche personally consecrated the various items in the package and gave specific instructions on how to use each one.

The Bardo Package will bring benefit when the moment of death requires immediate action, and will enable us to take control of the death situation without fear or confusion. If we can apply what we have learned from Buddhist teachings regarding dying, death, and the bardo, and also have The Bardo Package at our disposal, it will give us a greater opportunity for attaining higher rebirth and liberation. Thus, The Bardo Package is one of the most important items that we can have in this life.

The Contents of The Bardo Package
(Detailed printed instructions & illustrations are included in each package)

  • Liberation CD (liberation through hearing)—If the dying person is religious and does not mind listening, you should play the CD. But if the person is not open to it, then you should not play the CD until they pass away. The CD can be played until the body is cremated. Individuals who wish to listen to the CD can play it at all times and it will greatly benefit the listener.
  • Amrita PillS (liberating through tasting)—The pills should be given before the person passes away, approximately 2 to 3 days before death. If the person has already died, you should grind the pills and mix it with the Liberating Sand to apply on the top center of the deceased’s head. Enclosed is a yellow booklet listing the samaya substances contained in the Amrita Pills.
  • Liberating Sand (liberating through touching)—It is best to have a Lama or three-year-retreatant put the sand on the top center of the deceased’s head after they pass away. But if you cannot find a Lama to do this, then a family member can place the sand on the head of the deceased. The sand does not have to stick or stay on the head; it just needs to touch the top center of the deceased’s head. If there is a Lama performing Phowa for the deceased, the sand should be placed on the head before Phowa is performed.
  • The 100 Peaceful and Wrathful Deities Mandala (liberation through touching)—This large mandala (Bardo Blanket) should be placed on the deceased’s body. (Please note: do not place the Bardo Blanket on the person if they are still alive because everyone wants to live until the last possible second. It is important to be extremely sensitive to the dying person during this time). After the dying person passes away, one must make sure the Bardo Blanket is placed on the vital points of the body as indicated in the enclosed diagram. The Bardo Blanket will be buried or cremated with the remains of the deceased.
  • The Small Mandala amulet (liberation through wearing)—This amulet contains a smaller version of the mandala of the 100 Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. It is in a plastic pouch and should be worn like a necklace at all times.

Additional Resources

A 5-CD set of Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche’s concise teachings on Dying, Death and the Bardo is available at www.namsebangdzo.com or www.vajraechoes.com.

Rinpoche’s book, Bardo Interval of Possibility (KTD Publications 2007) is available from www.namsebangdzo.com. A Chinese translation is available by emailing us at: friendsofktd@gmail.com


THE BARDO PACKAGE FAQs

As people start to use and practice the instructions in The Bardo Package, the need for clarification on certain points will naturally arise. Please see the frequently asked questions below and if you have a question related to use of The Bardo Package that is not covered here, please feel free to submit it to friendsofktd@gmail.com.

Q: I have opened the Bardo package and found a small amulet inside that the instructions say should be worn.  Does this mean it should be worn by the deceased? Should it be taken out of its plastic pouch and placed on the deceased?

A: The amulet mandala may be worn by people while still alive--anytime, even if they are not dying. But at the time of death, it should be taken out of the plastic pouch, unfolded and placed on the deceased heart center. This will bring benefit.

Q: As a practitioner, but not a master of Phowa, is it still suggested that I do this practice for the deceased?

A: If a practitioner has experienced the Phowa signs themselves, then it will be beneficial to do Phowa for the deceased. But if someone is merely practicing Phowa without having experienced the signs himself or herself, then it won’t really benefit the deceased and in that case it is better to practice Amitabha or Chenrezik for the deceased rather than Phowa.