Phowa: A Guided Meditation for Time of Death




Above the crown of your head, on a lotus with a moon and sun throne, sits Guru Buddha Amitabha in the Vajra pose. His holy body is radiant and ruby red, and he is wearing the saffron robes of a pure monk.  He has one face, and his two hands resting in his lap hold a bowl filled with the elixir of immortality, 
(Reader can substitute the appropriate deity’s name and description as above,  and an appropriate invocation prayer instead of the following one.  For example, “the glorious risen Jesus Christ surrounded by angels” and the Our Father.)

Repeat Invocation [or recite preferred invocation]

Guru, invincible one beyond all evil, endowed with all virtues,Tathagata, Foe Destroyer, Fully complete and perfect Buddha, 

Magnificent King, Guru Amitabha of boundless light,
I prostrate to and take refuge in you.

Please bestow upon me your countless blessings.

Now do this visualization:

In heartfelt devotion, concentrate single-pointedly on Guru Amitabha (or your preferred deity).  From his holy body five-colored nectar-light streams down through your central channel.  From there it flows through all the other channels of your body completely filling it with blissful nectar-light.  All hindrances, such as illness, guilt, fear are completely purified. All negative forces utterly disappear, especially the grasping at mundane existence.  The power to be successful in transferring consciousness and taking rebirth in the pristine realm of Amitabha Buddha (or Heaven) is granted.  Your body becomes crystal clear and translucent like a rainbow.

PRAYER FOR TIME OF DEATH [reader can help the dying person]. 
At the moment the messenger of death arrives
Please come instantaneously from your pristine realm.Advise me to give up grasping at mundane existenceAnd invite me to come to your pristine realm.

When earth sinks into water

And the mirage-like appearance is perceived,

And my mouth becomes dry and foul-tasting,

Please come and tell me not to be afraid and inspire me with true courage.

 When water sinks into fire

And the smoke-like appearance is perceived,

And my tongue gets thick and my speech is lost,

Please show me your shining face and give me solace and peaceful joy.

 When fire sinks into air

And the firefly-like appearance is perceived,

And my body heat and the light of my eyes rapidly fade away,

Please come and fill my mind with the sound of Dharma wisdom.

When air sinks into consciousness

And the burning like a butter lamp appearance is perceived,

And my body becomes like the earth and my breathing altogether ceases,

Please draw me to your pristine realm with the radiant light of your shining face.

 And then, may the radiant red hook

Emanating from your pristine heart

Enter my crown, then descend my central channel,

Hook my very subtle clear light mind, and bring it to your pristine realm.


Yet if I must go into the intermediate state by the force of my negative karma,

May all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas rescue me with the power of Dharma

And inspire me with the pure view that sees all beings as utterly pure,

Hears all sounds as Dharma teaching, and sees all places as a pristine realm.

Now visualise:

From Guru Amitabha’s (or Jesus Christ’s or other deity) heart a reed [or stem] of radiant white light descends to your crown and forms there an indestructible and cohesive bond.  There is now an unobstructed passageway between your very subtle mind, the white-red clear light energy-drop in the center of your heart, and the clear mirror-like heart of Guru Amitabha (Jesus).  Then suddenly a radiant hook of red light emanates from Guru Amitabha’s (Jesus) heart, descends through the passageway, and securely hooks the delicate and pure clear light energy-drop in your heart.

See the energy-drop as the traveler, the white light reed as the path, and Guru Amitabha’s (Jesus) heart as the destination. Your consciousness as the blissful energy-drop, by the force of your devotion, flies like an arrow to meet and mingle with the clear, non-dual, and radiant wisdom of Guru Amitabha’s (Jesus’) heart.  Or you can visualise that the Guru’s heart draws the energy-drop upward just as a magnet attracts iron filings.

COMPLETION PRAYER [by reader]Guru Buddha Amitabha [Glorious Jesus, etc.,] essence of the perfect truth of the Triple Gem, courageous one who liberates all sentient beings from the bondage of mundane existence and delivers them to the supremely blissful realm of Infinite Light, Victorious One, please release (name ————-) and all others from the difficulties and fears of the death process and the intermediate state of the after-death plane. Easily guide (—–) to your wisdom heart by inspiring (——) to thoroughly renounce the grasping at mundane existence and to achieve success in transferring (his/her) consciousness. You are liberator of all beings. Please with great compassion take (——) to your pristine realm.
DEDICATION [by reader]Through the merits of these virtuous actionsMay I quickly attain the enlightened state of Amitabha

And lead all living beings, without exception,

Into that enlightened state.


~ Edited from &  Christine Longaker <>


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