What does the Tibetan Book of Dead say about the lights, at death?

Is it true, as some people say, to avoid all lights and not walk to them? And that "clear light" means "not a white light"?

Non-Buddhist people too speak about "the white light trap".

1 Answer 1


In Tibetan Buddhism, "clear light" (Tibetan: འོད་གསལ་, Wylie: 'od gsal, THL: ö-sel; Sanskrit: prabhāsvara) stands for the mind's innate (object-less and subject-less) awareness or luminosity - not the literal light nor the mental experience of seeing a light.

Other lights described in TBoD are various visions, both good and bad, attractive and repulsive, kind and evil, that distract the person's attention away from the clear light and to various rebirths.

In this case "the white light" would be an image of goodness and holiness which drives one to good rebirths but rebirths nevertheless (complete with eventual deaths). That's in contrast with the "clear light" which is not tied to any particular characteristic such as being good or being pure and therefore has no boundary conditions and thus no beginning nor end.

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