Tagdrol (བཏགས་གྲོལ་) is one of the five methods that lead to liberation without the need for serious meditation and practice.
The five methods are:
1. thongdrol (མཐོང་གྲོལ་) or liberation through seeing,
2. thodrol (ཐོས་གྲོལ་) liberation through hearing,
3. myongdrol (མྱོང་གྲོལ་) or
4. liberation through taste, drendrol (དྲན་གྲོལ་) or liberation through recollection and
5. takdrol (བཏགས་གྲོལ་) or liberation through wearing or holding.
The takdrol is normally something one can wear as an amulet or sacred ornament. Numerous kinds of takdrol exists but most are mantras written in diagrams or protective circles or srung khor. They are mostly related to tantric Buddhism although there are also some non-tantric mantras for protection.
Many of the treasures cycles known in Bhutan and Tibet contain these diagrams and charts of mantras and charts which are used as takdrol.
The takdrol can form part of a more detailed tantric 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.
In Bhutan and the Himalayas, people carry takdrol in very ornate receptacles. When someone goes on a long journey or when a soldiers go to war, the takdrol amulets are used for protection.
Takdrols are also placed on a deceased person's body after death, and also buried or burned with the body in order to help alleviate their suffering during the bardo intermediate period.
Phub Dorji Wang is a freelance writer on Bhutanese religion and culture and frequently write on facebook to educate Bhutanese public. Edited and improved by Dr. Karma Phuntsho.
Note: This article was hoisted at the data base of University of Virgina by Dr. Karma Phuentsho.