In Tibet they have a lot of interesting beliefs and rituals regarding death and the world beyond. There is even a ritual exclamation which a lama who officiates makes near the body of the deceased in order to release the spirit from the body through a small crack, which the magicsyllable produces, on the top of the head.
Hik! and Phet!
The magic syllables in this regard are Hik! and Phet!. Such a Hik! sound can only be uttered by a lama who was instructed by a master in the past. In this way, the respective lama can have the correct intonation and the physical strength which are needed for a successful operation. The sound Phet! can be uttered after Hik! only when the lama is officiating near a dead body. If the lama is only practicing the ritual, then he must never add Phet! after Hik! because the combination of these two syllables determines the inevitable separation between the body and the soul. Therefore, should a lama pronounce the two sounds at once, he would die immediately. Such a danger does not exist in the context of a ritual. In the context of a ritual, the lama magically represents the deceased to whom he lends his voice. Therefore, in this regard, the effect of the two magic words is felt by the deceased and not by the lama.
First, a competent master offers his disciples the psychic power of drawing the spirit out of the body. After this, the disciples must practice the pronunciation of the Hik! sound in a correct voice. They have reached their goad when a straw can be placed in their hair in a straight standing position without falling. The straw must stay there for as long as the disciple wants it to. The explanation lies in the fact that, by correctly pronouncing the Hik! sound, a small opening appears on the top of the head. The straw is actually inserted in this small crack. In the case of a deceased individual, the respective crack is much larger as sometimes one can place a finger in it.
Buddhism about Death
In Buddhism, the energy resulting from the mental and physical activity of an individual results in the appearance of new mental and physical processes after death. It is obvious that the ideas preached by philosophers are only understood by an elite. Still, the masses repeat the following creed: “All aggregates are ephemeral, there is no “I” in person”. Despite of this, the masses have a much simpler belief. They believe in an entity which cannot be defined, but which journeys from one world to another in various forms.
The lamas state the fact that the time between death and rebirth can be either long or short. After this, the individual can be reborn as one of the six species of living beings known to Tibetans. The respective species are: the gods; the non-gods – a type of titans; humans; non-humans – including here the jinn, spirits, fairies and other such entities, some of which are good and some of which are evil; animals; the yidags – monstrous beings which are always hungry and thirsty and the inhabitants of the various purgatories who are always suffering in their worlds.
It is said that none of these states is eternal. Death can come for all, for the gods, as well as for those lying in the purgatories in torment. Every death is followed by a rebirth. This rebirth can be either in the same category of beings or in another.
Popular Beliefs and the “Method”
The popular belief states the fact that the deceased can be reborn in a happier or in a less happy state depending on his or her good deeds. According to the lamas, beings, through their thoughts and actions, can develop various affinities which lead to a certain condition of existence. Another theory states that, through the mental processes and actions, a human or any other being can alter the nature of the substance of which it is made. In this way, the being actually transforms itself in a god or in a damned soul.
In Tibet, there is the following saying: “Those who know how will live comfortably even in Hell”. This saying refers to the opinions on lamas regarding what is known as “thabs” meaning “the method”. In this regard, lamas believe that the deceased individual who knows how to act and think can modify his post mortem fate and be reborn in a condition as good as possible .
Still, ordinary people are not aware of this fact. However, the lama preaches to them that which they had not had the chance to learn during their lifetimes while they are sick and even after they are dead. In this way, the lama explains the nature of that which they get to see in the afterlife, and he indicates the appropriate road which must be followed.
Entering the Afterlife
The first thing which a lama must do to help a dying person is to do his best so that the respective person does not fall asleep or enter a coma. The lama will then explain how the different types of consciousness leave the individual. These are the consciousnesses that animate the senses. Once the body becomes insensitive, thought must be as active as ever and highly attentive at the happening phenomenon. Then, the moment comes for the spirit to be made to spring out of the body through the top of the head. In order to escape compromising its future welfare, the spirit must not leave the body through any other way.
The extraction of the spirit is made by the lama when he pronounces the ritual sounds Hik! and Phet!. At first, the lama must meditate and identify himself with the deceased. Then, he must make the effort needed in order to make the spirit climb in the top of the head and escape through the crack which is thus produced.