Takdrol (བཏགས་གྲོལ་) is one of the “five methods that lead to liberation without the need for meditation”. These are sometimes given as:
· liberation through seeing (chakras) (Tib. tongdrol);
· liberation on hearing (mantras and dharanis) (Tib. tödrol);
· liberation by tasting (amrita) (Tib. nyongdrol);
· liberation by touch (1) (mudra) (Tib. takdrol); and
· liberation by recollection or thinking (which includes the practice of phowa) (Tib. drendrol) (2)
Numerous kinds of takdrol exist: many are mantras in diagrams (Tib. sung khor) related to the Dzogchen teachings, and others belong to the tantras.
The takdrol can form part of a more detailed empowerment, or it can be given independently as a simple empowerment on its own.
Sometimes a text of a tantra is used as a takdrol and worn, for example, in a locket on the top of the head. (3)
Takdrols can also be placed on a deceased person's body after death—and either buried or burned with the body—in order to help alleviate their suffering during the bardo. (4)
1: for 'wearing'
2: Also called liberation through meditation (Tib. gomdrol)
3: Source: Endnotes to Dzogchen: The Heart Essence of the Great Perfection, by The Dalai Lama, page 231—Information kindly given by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche.
4: Source: Songtsen: Kyabje Kangyur Rinpoche’s Tagdröl yantra.
Note: One should not wear Takdral when alive.