From the Buddhist perspective, death is not the end, and it is nothing to be feared. It is just one of the steps in the continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. These steps are called bardos: states of consciousness, which include life, death, and everything in-between. These in-between, or intermediate, states include the state of meditation and the dream state. Most commonly when the word bardo is used, it refers to the time between one life and the next, the intermediate state between the moment of the final breath, when the body and consciousness separate, and the moment when consciousness enters its next incarnation.
This period of bardo is a time for consciousness to try to let go of attachments of the previous life and an opportunity for consciousness to become aware of and recognize its own true nature. This opportunity is provided by consciousness itself in the form of visions of both deities and demons, or wrathful ones. These visions are projections of one’s own mind, and if they are recognized as such, liberation is achieved. Consciousness becomes one with the luminous, pure white light.
However, most of us do not reach luminosity or enlightenment, and we are reborn. This state of consciousness after death of the physical body is an opportunity to see that the wrathful ones (our fear, anger, and attachments) are products of our own minds, but we can also strive to achieve this awareness in the state of bardo called life. As consciousness becomes more and more aware of itself, as we become more and more aware of what is our ego (fear, anger, and attachments) and what is our true consciousness, we can open up towards compassion. With more and more clarity our true consciousness can guide us to favorable rebirths so that we can continue on our journey towards greater self-awareness, a life of compassion, and eventually luminosity.
Life, death, and everything in-between is a journey of consciousness through states of uncertainty. All states of consciousness, waking, dreaming, dying, etc., are impermanent. Consciousness will shift from one to the next in a continuous cycle until it lets go of all things uncertain and impermanent and becomes one with the permanence of the pure white light.
Reblogged this on lost creek publishing.
Thank you! Namaste!
A very lucid and enlightening account. I’m impressed by the seamless quality of your text, making the points in a concise, effective way, leaving me with the feeling that nothing could possibly be added nor detracted. The only drawback I find is that this perfection of expression leaves no fissure in which to wedge even a constructive comment. Fortunately, though, the Tibetan Book of the Dead (aka *Bardo Thodol*), like all deep spiritual works, is subject to a vast range of valid interpretations, and can stimulate infinite new discussions & insights.
I once wrote a little essay interpreting certain aspects of the Bardo Thodol in relation to near-death experience. The question of the illusoriness of the Peaceful & Wrathful Deities took on a different significance in this context. Of course they manifest our own fear, anger, and attachments, but for people encountering (mostly peaceful/positive) divine beings in an NDE, the issue was whether or not they were *real* in the sense of it being an authentic spiritual experience/encounter. NDE debunkers claim precisely that the experiences are hallucinatory projections from the damaged cells of a dying brain, thus invalidating them. Jung himself refuted such claims in his commentary on the book; the “punchline” was: “Though the European can easily explain away these deities as projections, he would be quite incapable of positing them at the same time as real. The Bardo Thodol, (however,) can do (exactly) that.”
My own observation was that the illusoriness of the deities in the three between-life bardos was expressed in the Buddhistic context of the equally illusory nature of what we encounter in the three life bardos, and of the manifest universe as a whole. The only reality, in this POV, is the pure white light.
Thank you for your added input! Namaste!
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Thank you very much by brother! Namaste _/l\_
thank you very much
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Thank you! Namaste!
Tough subject, nice summary. Well done. I will be starting on the Bardo realms this week, but already I find that it takes effort to keep things concise. I might want to leave it to others to explain… Namaste. 🙂
Thank you! I’ve noticed I tend to write dense or concise, but I admire your longer in-depth articles. Looking forward to reading your posts on the Bardo. Namaste!
Straightforward and very enlightening. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, very nice explanation!
An interesting and wonderfully written post thank you for sharing such an enlightening message! 🙂
Thank you Julianne. I’ll be so happy o leave all these negative illusions behind.
Wonderful post. I like what you said in the last paragraph. Thank you for sharing!
Thank you and you’re welcome!
Succinct and wonderful. Do you plan to do another post on the bardo of this life? There lies the rubber and the road.
Thank you! Well, I guess most of the posts are about the state of bardo called life since most of them are really about love and compassion. 🙂
yes, and such is life!