Dealing with the different stages of this life and beyond, into the next, is a precious skill for a Buddhist practitioner. If we can use life and death as opportunities for transformation and spiritual growth, we can make the most of this human life.
by Maggy Jones
Covid has brought death very close. Integrate the theory of bardo and the practice; dream and meditation are “bardos”. Bardo means “transition” which creates opportunity for liberation. 1st Bardo: The Bardo of Life. Each day follows the pattern of Bardo of Life; we must make it meaningful. Our reactions create our happiness and suffering; we must learn how to tame our mind using the Four Thoughts and awareness of Impermanence.
The success of your life will be judged by your approach to death. Train your mind with Bodhicitta. Judge progress not by number of teachings but whether your tolerance and compassion have increased. We experience and perceive through our mind – pure vision is crucial. Keep hold of this, do not get distracted as it leads to the “clear light”. Give away ALL attachments. Bardo of Dying: The stages of dying – dissolution of the elements, then the mental factors, finally clear light. If we recognise this moment, enlightenment is possible. Q & A inc. Organ donation.
Gampopa’s teaching on the 3 Bardos: 1. Process of dying. Clear “Light” is not a light but an “experience of light”; Liberation through Hearing. Study carefully; teachings do not always use the same terminology. 2. Bardo of Illusory Body. Feel no fear – the horrors are in your mind. 49 days is a generalisation. We may not realise we have died; and may be aware of others’ thoughts – let go! Set yourself free from the entanglements of this life. Mourners – let the person go; do not discuss them. 3. Bardo of Becoming. Detailed guidance on how to achieve a positive birth
“Tukdam” A meditative practice and experience following the death of a great Master when they are absorbed in luminosity. Rainbow body. A few can remain in Tukdam enabling some great Masters to have had (alleged) super-human life-spans (eg Nagarjuna). Different tantras can have affects. These Masters may then emanate as tulkus; some will remember past lives.
Ordinary beings should have instructions and concentrate on powa, recitations, and Vajrayana ceremonies with empowerment. In Tukdam the body remains supple and does not rot. Instructions on what to do in the bardo of this life. Q & A inc. Near death experience. Delogs:
Text from Gampopa; 3 kinds of powa relating to the 3 kayas. Realise nature of mind then rest in that. Nothing more is needed. Texts can be read but are not essential. Rinpoche gives instructions for the time of death. Identify with your yidam. Let go of all attachments fears and aversions. Block all orifices with a red Hrih. Become one with Amitabha. Repetition of this practice and mantra recitation will help to realise clear light. Lights will radiate from the Hrih in your heart. Be determined to achieve the experience of clear awareness free from dualism. Rinpoche gives the Bodhisattva vow. Q & A inc. Euthanasia.
Audio translation files are below.
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