February 10, 2007 at 11:19 pm #21004
Nice video on tibetan book of the dead, enjoy!
Some quick info:
The Bardo Thodol, known popularly as the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is a text which appeared in fourteenth century Tibet. However, its authorship is attributed to Padmasambhava, an Indian master, who is said to have brought Buddhism to Tibet in the eighth century CE.
The text is read to a dying person as a means of preparing them for the experiences they will encounter in the after-death state. It is believed that by understanding what is happening in this state – and not losing consciousness – the deceased will win ultimate liberation and free themselves from the cycle of birth and death. Bardo means intermediate state, the state between death and being reborn (or attaining enlightenment).
The Clear Light and Emptiness
According to the text, at the moment of death you will experience a pervasive light, the light of Emptiness (sunyata) or ultimate reality. The light comes so suddenly and so powerfully that the first impulse is to flee in terror, which will result in a loss of consciousness. The alternative is to ‘try to submerge yourself in the light, giving up all belief in a separate self, all attachment to your illusory ego’. Success, the text states, is rare with the individual usually falling into an unconscious state.
The chance for liberation, however, has not been totally lost. What will emerge is a dream-like or mental body which has the power to travel at will, covering great distances and passing through material objects. It appears that the senses still function, as does the ability to conceptualize. The text advises that all this is illusory and should be viewed with detachment.
After three and a half days various Bodhisattvas and Buddhas will appear. Brilliant light will emanate from them and they will exude benevolence and peacefulness for seven days. So overpowering will they appear, however, that once again you may feel very afraid. The text advises that the individual should pray to them with great faith and recognize their radiance as rays of benevolence and loving-kindness. By doing this, the deceased person will find themselves transported to a one of the heavenly realms of the Buddhas.
Should this fail, for the next seven days the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas will appear as angry deities. According to the text, these are just projections of the mind and should not be feared. If you can realize this, you will be reborn in one of the Buddhist heavens but if you cling to a sense of your own ego, you will once again enter ‘the wheel of becoming’ or samsara.
At this point, Yama, the King of the Dead, will appear in judgement. In his hands he hold a mirror, a symbol of karma, in which can see all the deeds you have done, whether good or bad. Suddenly the forms of ferocious beasts appear, tying a rope around your neck and dragging you along. All this, however, is really a creation of your own mind and has no objective reality.
At this point comes the realization that you are in fact dead, a feeling of being utterly lost and consequent on this a deep desire to take a bodily form. Karmic forces now take the form of a strong wind, hurtling you forward.
The Six Lights
There now appear six lights which correspond to the six realms of existence – traditionally, the realms of the gods, jealous gods (or asuras), humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings. These will appear to be benign and attractive, in contrast to the blinding lighting of Emptiness appearing at the moment of death. The light you are most drawn to will appear the brightest. What you are most drawn to will depend on ones previous deeds.
A white light leads to the heavens, a red light will attract you to the realm of the asuras, a blue light to the human realm, a green light to the animal realm; a sombre yellow leads to the realm of ghosts and, finally, a dark smokey color to the hell worlds. At this stage, it is important to keep in mind Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and to foster a mind of good will to prevent rebirth in the lower realms.
Now there will arise an overpowering desire to be reborn, partly fueled by visions of animals and humans engaged in the act of sexual intercourse. If you are attracted to the females you will be reborn in male form; if you are attracted to the males you will be reborn as a female. Should you seek to go near the couples you will suddenly lose consciousness and be reborn in animal or human form.
This, of course, is only a summary of the Bardo Thodol but offers some insights into the nature of the Bardo sight and the experiences – according to the text – you will encounter.February 11, 2007 at 6:28 pm #21005February 12, 2007 at 9:52 am #21007
Wow I didn’t realize before how the earthly realm is viewed in this text. It gives me the creeps. However I do like the reminder that so much of what I think is atacking is a projection of my own wildness.
However the polarities expressed here of salvation and hell go against all I have been incarnating in my soulmindbody recently. Bar
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