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Old 19-07-2013, 02:22 AM   #1
heartbeatsalute
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Default Bardo, Awakening from the dream

http://www.bardo-meditation.com/engl_bardo_2.htm








http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXXLN9Jj2ds
05/05/2010 -
http://www.bardo-meditation.com . BARDO, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, is a meditation ...
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The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.

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Old 19-07-2013, 02:24 AM   #2
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I thought Bardo were behind an eighties classic

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ahl8n4nfsc
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Old 19-07-2013, 02:28 AM   #3
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http://www.spiritualtravel.org/OBE/afterdeath.html


Tibetan Buddhism has concentrated more attention on helping the dying person cross the borders of death than any other living religious tradition. The Tibetan Book of the Dead and other sources give detailed descriptions of the stages of death and afterlife, as well as instructions about how the dying individual should confront and react to these mysterious places and events. Dealing with a tradition that contains so many lineages, deities, and philosophical subsystems in a short article will necessarily involve generalizing about the tradition. Though the material is complex and sometimes difficult to interpret for a Westerner who must rely on English sources, the author will describe the stages of death, and attempt to show how they are relevant to our discussion of spiritual travel.

The Bardos or Stages of Death and the Afterlife

The realm of the afterlife is called the world of the bardo. The term bardo is a general term which literally means "in-between" and in this context denotes a transitional state, or what Victor Turner calls a liminal situation. The bardo concept is an umbrella term which includes the transitional states of birth, death, dream, transmigration or afterlife, meditation, and spiritual luminosity. We focus, in this essay, on the bardos of death and transmigration. For the dying individual, the bardo is the period of the afterlife that lies in between two different incarnations.

In Tantric Buddhist cosmology, existence has a foreground which consists of the many worlds of incarnation, and also a background which is the space between these worlds which is called the bardo world. The stars are the many worlds, and bardo of the afterlife is like the night sky which is the backdrop or the space where the stars are hung.

The bardo of death follows the initial experience of the dissolution of the four elements of the physical body at the time of death. These consist of something similar to the concepts of earth, fire, water, and air in the West, and are related to the progressive dissociation of the soul from the physical body. This dissolution follows a prescribed progression: the senses fail and the muscles lose their strength as the body becomes inert and still resembling physical matter (earth), there is loss of control over bodily fluids (water), the body loses its warmth (fire), and the breath fails (air). All this is experienced in sequence by the dying person when the person is able to remain conscious during the bardo of death.

Note here that the "soul" in Tibetan Buddhism is only a collection (or bundle) of karma (credits and debits based on previous actions which mold both the habit patterns of the individual and the kinds of conditions encountered in life). In Buddhism, the soul has no substantial nature but otherwise the soul and this "collection" seem very similar and are functionally equivalent for our purposes. We therefore use the term soul above even though it is not a Buddhist term.

The Bardo of Death

Following the process leading up to death, the person's experience of the bardo of death commences. However, for most individuals, it passes by in a split second and goes unnoticed. Only those who have undergone training in and practiced meditation, contemplative prayer, and similar spiritual disciplines will likely even be aware of the first bardo state.

One description of the kind of meditation done by advanced practitioners consists of a conscious effort to "dissolve space into light", which if successful will propel the dying soul into an a state of light and bliss beyond the continual cycles of birth and death to which most souls are subject. For those less familiar with such formal meditation practices, the act of remembering very bright light (such as, for example, remembering an experience of staring into the sun) and seeing that light as a source of pure awareness or divine love could produce a similar effect. A series of meditations and understandings that can be helpful as one enters or prepares to enter the bardo can be found on our Death Meditations page.

The spiritual aperture that opens briefly at the time of death presents a wonderful opportunity to those who can remain conscious and control their thoughts as they enter the bardo of death. This is probably why there is a common folk belief in the Hindu tradition which puts much emphasis on controlling and directing the last thought of the dying person. If this thought is strong, clear, and of a spiritual nature, it may permit the person to enter through this doorway into a spiritual world immediately at the time of death, and thus avoid the confusion of the bardo of the afterlife (or transmigration)

The First Bardo of the Afterlife

Following the bardo of death, the first bardo of the afterlife begins. For many souls including especially those fortunate souls who were spiritual seekers and have sought spiritual experience during life through religious practice, there will be several opportunities to meet with spiritual beings and enter the realms of enlightened beings. As such beings appear, they are sometimes frightening to the individual because of their spiritual power. Their appearance is accompanied by powerful lights and sounds that frighten and bewilder those who have not encountered intense spiritual states in the past. The spiritual light is described as having a terrifying brilliance and as luminous, clear, bright, and sharp.

The individual is also presented with a means of ending these encounters by paying attention to images and lights that feel comforting and familiar, and sometimes represent one of the passions that appeal to the person. This is where people's unconsciousness tendencies take control as they are variously attracted to jealously which can bring future lives of fighting and quarreling, pride which leads to another human rebirth, or aggression and violence which can lead to a rebirth in a hell world. Being attracted to these lights and images will cause the spiritual being to disappear and the opportunity to gain insight and enter their spiritual world will be lost. This is one of the important reasons for learning spiritual travel so that encounters with powerful spiritual states of consciousness become familiar and desirable instead objects of fear to be avoided.

For those experienced in spiritual travel who were able to enter spiritual states of light, sound, and emptiness during life, the first bardo may offer an opportunity to enter into these areas shortly after the time of death. Also, those with a devotional disposition who were able to develop a strong bond with a deity during life may have similar opportunities to enter into one of the heavens of that deity during the first bardo. The devotion must usually be intense and concentrated to draw the deity's attention in this circumstance. Also, those who were devoted to a guru or spiritual guide during life can call upon that being and ask for guidance. Although the Tibetan Buddhist tradition is not primarily devotional, it like most of the world's great religious traditions contains devotional aspects where practicianers are encouraged to focus on powerful teachers or saints of the past or present as well as dakinis, bhairavas, Bodhisattvas, Buddhas, and other helpful beings.

The Second Bardo of the Afterlife

If the first bardo passes and attempts to access spiritual states were unsuccessful, the next bardo begins. The second bardo or the "bardo of becoming" is a stage in which the desires of the individual are said to carry the largely helpless soul through a great variety of intense emotional states. Good thoughts bring great bliss and pleasure, and hateful or negative thoughts bring great pain and desolation. The soul bounces from thought to thought as a torrent of thoughts and feelings come like a waterfall. Existing thought habits and desires are said to define the experience of the soul during the afterlife in this way.

Spiritual Travel and the Second Bardo

It is here where some experience and training in spiritual travel and out-of-body experience may be of greatest help. It may first help the individual maintain a state of detachment. The spiritual traveler who has experienced the inner world during life can take the whirlwind nature of inner world following death with more calm and detachment. Those who have read examples of the kinds of states encountered in spiritual travel located on other pages of this site will understand that some experimentation and discovery in the inner worlds may prepare the soul for many of the dynamics of the states it may encounter after death. The similarity of certain aspects of the near-death experience (a temporary bardo state) and elements of spiritual travel experience (the "tunnel" experience for example) show some common qualities between certain spiritual travel states and these bardo states.

The soul experienced in spiritual travel is less likely to be disoriented by this inner torrent of psychic experience. To put it another way, while the spiritual traveler or yogi swims through the ocean of consciousness, the inexperienced soul may feel more like it is drowning in that ocean. But as with a drowning person, the most important thing is to have a direction in which to swim to safety. The point of orientation or goal for the person in the second bardo may be a deity, a mantra, a prayer, a heaven, a guide, or some similar spiritual goal but the spiritual traveler must be able to focus and move towards that goal using meditative techniques learned and practiced during their former life in the physical world. This is the active approach of the spiritual traveler.

The second advantage is that the spiritual traveler has entered the waters of consciousness consciously on many occasions and is practiced at directing his or her experience in the inner worlds.

The greatest problems of the soul in the second bardo are negative emotions like guilt and fear (which results from a lack of familiarity with the inner worlds), and lack of conscious control over its own experience. Fear is particularly harmful because it fragments the self making concentration on one thing difficult or impossible, and this can lead to confusion and loss of conscious control.

The soul in the second bardo is many times caught in a dream state sometimes unaware that it has died, and incapable of taking action to raise its state of consciousness to a threshold level of awareness where it can direct its attention towards spiritual states.

This is one of the reasons it is important to do a regular spiritual practice during life. Doing meditation or prayer every day establishes a pattern of spiritual activity. It then becomes automatic and the habit of seeking after the divine reality continues during the after-death state where it can have powerful results. A daily spiritual practice differs from other more common spiritual practices such as going to church or temple because it is done more often than once or twice a week. Meditation therefore establishes a stronger habit pattern in the individual and is a valuable addition to group oriented spiritual activities such as attending church.

Regular meditation can also be more powerful because it is usually a less passive activity than church since it fully involves the individual in the meditative process rather than making a spectator out of him or her.

What the soul in the second bardo needs to do is "wake up", as in a lucid dream, and begin a meditation or mental exercise that draws it towards a desired stable and more conscious state of awareness where it can have some control and continue to evolve spiritually. The opposite of conscious control is a dream-like state where the individual experiences only the results of his or her previous actions, and mechanically moves from thought to thought based on thinking patterns developed during life.

Waking up within a dream is one of the activities the spiritual traveler practices when he or she leaves the body to travel the inner planes. Beyond this, the traveler is also always practicing and perfecting the art of directing his or her attention towards some desired state. It is the contention of the author that experience with meditation and actual spiritual travel experience during life can both be of great help in rising above the semi-conscious state characteristic of the second bardo, and moving into a more conscious and desirable state following physical death.

For those who practiced a devotional tradition in life, some will semi-consciously repeat a religious or a meditative ritual asking gods or intercessors to draw them out of the second bardo world. We see an example of an attempt to create such a ritual in the Catholic rosary, where Mary as intercessor is requested to

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death ...
This phrase is from the Hail Mary Prayer. One effect of the repetition of this prayer fifty times in the rosary is that such a prayer for help and intercession may become an automatic process, which will repeat itself in the bardo.
For those fortunate enough to be more conscious in these bardo states, a petition to a god, guru, guide, saint, or intercessor can be made in hopes that the individual will be lifted or guided out of the bardo worlds by one of those entities. But here again, the call must be concentrated and the ability to ignore the surrounding chaos somewhat developed. When such grace is given, it is a form of salvation where the individual is saved from the discomfort and confusion of the "outer darkness" of the bardo by a powerful entity - usually one that individuals formed a bond with in their former life. To use the swimming analogy, here the individual calls out to a lifeguard in hopes of being rescued from the turbulent waters of the bardo state. This is the more passive approach of the devotee.

We should also note that souls in this bardo are thought to be very sensitive to the thoughts and attitudes of those they knew during life. The Tibetans therefore put great effort into doing chanting, reading of sacred texts, and other religious rituals to help the dying soul on its journey in the afterlife. Praying for the peace and happiness of the dying person therefore has great value and provides a benefit to both the living and the dead. This process of sending good wishes to those who have recently died can create a positive spiritual atmosphere which can orient and bring peace to the person in the bardo realm, and can also counter some of the sorrow and upset that accompanies the loss of a loved one.

The Third Bardo

The third and last stage of the bardo of the afterlife is the stage of reincarnation where the soul is pulled into another body to start a new life, often but not always in the physical world. Tibetan Buddhists believe that the most desirable world to be born in is the physical world, since it affords the most opportunity for spiritual growth and realization. The third bardo consists of a series of images determined by the soul's karma that lead to psychic vortices that draw the soul into a womb. The soul's reaction to the images (attraction or repulsion) determines which vortex the soul enters and in which womb the soul ends up. The Tibetan tradition gives detailed advice on which representations to choose and which to avoid in order to gain a desirable rebirth. Once reborn, the karma of impulse manifests to influence the person's actions and reactions in their new life.

This ability to choose a good incarnation requires discrimination, and a certain degree of conscious awareness. The new age approach to reincarnation which claims we choose our new incarnation is idealistic and not always true from this vantage point. Many souls desperate to escape the confusion of the second bardo will grab on to the first opportunity that presents itself like a swimmer who grasps a log in dangerous rapids in hopes of making it to calmer waters. Choosing the first object (or incarnation) that comes along may not be the wisest choice.

The average person is said to spend a period of about forty-five days in the second bardo. However, passionate souls with strong desires or those responsible for evil acts in their most recent life are said to reincarnate almost immediately. In exceptional cases, the individual can stay in the bardo state for longer periods, and be drawn into its currents awaiting rebirth.

If the individual does not reincarnate in the physical world, he or she will go to one of the other five worlds of rebirth. These are the heaven worlds, the hell worlds, the world of hungry ghosts, the asura (demigod) worlds, and the animal worlds. Each of these is believed to be limited and inferior to obtaining another body in the material world. This is because they exist mostly to receive good or bad karma (the results of previous actions), and are not considered places to create new karma.

The least familiar of the above worlds is the asura world which is a place of conflict and struggle where kings, knights, and warlords battle each other for dominance. Persons who were fascinated with gaining and exercising power over others during life are said to be likely to incarnate in the asura realm.

The asura realm also offers the potential for rapid learning where the individual's actions produce clear and dramatic effects without generating the powerful karmic ripples that would normally occur in the physical world. It can thus be a kind of remedial world for those who are caught in negative repeating patterns which incline them to make bad decisions in the physical world incarnation after incarnation.

The hungry ghost realm is a place of need and desire where souls are denied fulfillment or given only small rewards. Here souls experience states of continuing anxiety and frustration. The animal world is reserved for those whose extreme instincts for violence, gluttony, or sexual gratification dominated their previous lives in the physical world to the extent that they devolved into the instinctual and unreflective state of animal existence. The heaven and hell worlds have wide variations, but it is interesting that the Tibetan tradition has both burning hells (as in the Christian tradition) and freezing hells (present in Dante's Divine Comedy but not commonly known in Christianity).

We will also note here that the hell normally described by Catholic and Protestant clerics is based on folk tradition. Their descriptions of hell as a fiery place of punishment are taken mostly from the Apocrypha (specifically, the Book of Enoch), Dante's Divine Comedy, and the Book of Revelation with its "end of the world" prophesy. This folk view of hell as a place of burning punishment and demons is unsupported by the Bible except for a few apocalyptic passages in the last six chapters of the Book of Revelation. These passages are very inconsistent with the concept of hell in the rest of the Bible. Reading what the bible actually says about hell may reduce the anxiety of some Christians about the afterlife. It is explained on the page titled Confronting Mistaken Concepts of Christian Hell.

Returning to Buddhism, we note that heavens are not entirely desirable in many Buddhist traditions because they are places where little learning takes place, and they do not allow for much creativity or compassionate action. They are thus viewed as vacation spots that promote happiness for the inhabitants but accomplish little in the way of spiritual maturation. They are also viewed as temporary and not eternal.

The Freedom to do Spiritual Travel in the Afterlife

One factor that helps the soul achieve the freedom of conscious control and spiritual travel during the afterlife is acceptance of death. Those who have not accepted death will resist the process of dying and introduce conflict into the bardo stages. This is why it is important for people to take care of any unfinished business as they near death so they can let go of life completely.

In Brahmanical Hinduism, there is a stage of life called the forest dweller or vanaprastha stage in which the older individual who has finished raising a family is supposed to begin letting go of pleasures and attachments to life in preparation for death. However, in the West the goal is to keep spending money and maximize enjoyment up to the end of life. This makes it difficult for many to make a graceful transition into death. Intense attachment to the material world makes it difficult to do spiritual travel both during life and after death.

It also usually helps to have faith in something beyond the material world at the time of death. Those with a strong faith in Jesus or another religious figure will be more calm and relaxed as they enter the bardo realms. While the religious person can look forward to heaven at the time of death, the spiritual traveler who has been trying to do spiritual travel all his or her life can also look forward to death in certain respects. This is because the opportunity for exploration and spiritual travel will hopefully be greatly expanded after death when the physical body and its needs will no longer be a major distraction. Of course the areas the spiritual traveler wishes to explore are the heavenly areas and beyond, and in that sense, he or she has much in common with other more conventional religious people.

Both have a distinct advantage over the secular individual because they expect to enter into a positive afterlife (heaven), and expectations have great power in the inner worlds. This expectation combined with love and devotion towards some religious ideal can propel the religious individual towards a heavenly state just as the practice of spiritual travel does. The secular individual with no faith or expectation of heaven is more likely to flounder after death and get stuck in some intermediate gray area surrounded by thoughts and emotions from the past waiting for something to happen.

A brief mention of ethics is appropriate when discussing the state a person enters at death. In general, both the state of mind of a soul and the world it inhabits is presumed to be the result of its past thought patterns and actions (karma). Trauma and intense pain whether experienced by the soul, or inflicted on another during life will tend to fragment the self and make conscious control after death difficult. Violence, cruelty, and hatred expressed towards others in life will almost certainly have a limiting effect on the soul's freedom both in the after death state and in subsequent existences . This is true even for souls who have become proficient in spiritual travel during their life. Unethical actions during life seem to separate the soul from the knowledge and wisdom attained while living, and leave it helpless to experience the results of its actions in the afterlife.

Interestingly enough, some of the Western ideas of heaven and hell can be accounted for by the Tibetan notion of the second bardo. The saint or righteous soul will find itself in places of bliss, happiness, and light based on the kinds of thoughts it was in a habit of thinking, while the evil person will lead an existence of fear, anger, and torment in the afterlife. However, the second bardo is a temporary transitional state that actually precedes the longer term experiences of heaven, hell, or rebirth in the physical world which can occur following the third bardo.

Spiritualism as an Alternative View of the Afterlife

The focus of Buddhism in the afterlife is similar to its approach to earthly existence. The emphasis is on passion, and its restrictive and destructive consequences. It is therefore not surprising that the Buddhist view of after death states concentrates on desire as the mechanism which turns the dead into machines who must live out a karmic destiny in the afterlife. These individuals will exist in a depleted state of awareness with little freedom of choice during the bardo.

As an alternate and competing view of the afterlife, we will briefly examine the Western tradition of spiritualism which has been around for more than one hundred years, and is still popular in some quarters today.

The central conclusion of the data provided by the spiritualists and trance mediums is that dead people have scarcely more insight and wisdom in death than they had while alive. Such a proposition emphasizes the importance of learning spiritual skills such as spiritual travel while alive instead of hoping for spiritual redemption and transformation after death. Though the spiritualist's view differs from Buddhism in the specifics, it supports the contention that people should not wait until death to begin learning since such a delay can result in a very limited and routine afterlife. We examine the spiritualist's view on the page titled A Spiritualist's Approach to After-Death States.

Kabir, the Hindu-Muslim poet of India, talks about the afterlife in an ambiguous way describing it as the "city of death" which could be consistent with either the Tibetan or Spiritualist's view of the afterlife. He offers the following words which support the notion that a person who is limited in life will also be limited in death.

O friend! Hope for Him whilst you live, know while you live, understand while you live:
for in life deliverance abides.
If your bonds be not broken whilst living, what hope of deliverance in death?
It is but an empty dream that the soul shall have union with Him because it has passed from the body:
If He is found now, He is found them,
If not, we do but go to dwell in the city of Death.
If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter.
Bathe in the Truth, know the true Guru, have faith in the true Name.
Kabir says:
It is the spirit of the quest that helps;
I am the slave of the Spirit of the quest.


Songs of Kabir (York Beach, Maine: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1991), pps. 46-47


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The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.

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Old 19-07-2013, 03:30 AM   #4
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPHlBQbhVIE
24/09/2012 -
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a contemporary spiritual ... The Egyptian Book of the ...


The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a contemporary spiritual masterpiece and source of sacred inspiration that interprets Tibetan Buddhism for the West.

Sogyal Rinpoche presents a radically new vision of living and dying. He shows how to go beyond our fear and denial of death to discover what it is in us that survives death and is changeless. Rinpoche explains simple yet powerful practices that listeners can use to transform their lives, prepare for death, and help the dying.



http://www.holybooks.com/wp-content/...-and-Dying.pdf
THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYING
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The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.

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Old 19-07-2013, 05:35 PM   #5
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The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.
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Old 19-07-2013, 05:40 PM   #6
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http://dreamdharma.com/the-tibetan-book-of-the-dead/





The Tibetan Book of the Dead

1721mandalajungJung said that this was a text that was with him always.

He was among the earlier Western European beneficiaries of this Tibetan Buddhist Scripture/ Dharma of the Death, Bardo, and Reincarnation, and realized immediately its significance.

When Jung writes of the collective unconsciousness, the symbols and mandalas related to dreams, one wonders was in fact Jung not a Buddhist? Of course, one can look at Jesus Christ, and wonder if not in fact was he not a Buddhist?

Ignoring the double negatives above, we come to the point. Jung was perhaps the most recognized and influential Western Medical Doctor who took seriously the writings, philosophy, and science coming from another part of the world than their own, and worried not what effect it had on his professional reputation to write of their significance.

There are many tangents we can go on from here, and perhaps we will, but we’ll only note here how things go in real life, that aren’t so planned in one’s career, or what one would prefer not to think about, such as world wars and madmen who run them them. We’ll ignore them for now, but for anyone too much in a hurry, read or watch the film “Seven Years in Tibet.”

Perhaps the best thing to write up front, before delving into Jung’s interpretation of “TTBD” is that one should go directly to the source document, instead of relying on someone’s interpretation of the book, be it Jung’s or mine (being here largely an interpretation of Jung’s interpretation!). The Illustrated TTBD is rather a good place to start, and should proceed any further discussion. Perhaps you are familiar with this book, and Jung’s interest in it to the point where the book would always be with him, both physically and mentally. Better still would be of course taking refuge in the Three Jewels, having a qualified teacher of who to ask questions, and motivated Sangha with which to share. As opportunities,
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The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.

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Old 20-07-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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http://maneeshajames.com/a_contemporary_bardo.htm



http://maneeshajames.com/_blog/The_S...ath-cafe-kind/
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:36 AM   #8
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18/06/2013
Bardo Thodol: The Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State, it is often referred to ...

SECRET TIBETAN BOOK OF THE DEAD, HISTORY CHANNEL
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Old 05-08-2013, 03:54 AM   #9
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http://oshobardo.com/wordpress/?page_id=15
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Old 05-08-2013, 04:14 AM   #10
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http://www.virtualsynapses.com/2011/...l#.Uf8mIxG9KK0

....
Preparations For The Bardo States



According to Tibetan Buddhists, there are six kinds of knowledge required for the path through the realms of the Bardo:

1. Knowledge of your past life and the realm of existence.

If your karmic pre-conditions are better than in your previous existence, it is possible to be reborn under better circumstances conducive to spiritual growth. That’s why the Buddha taught us to practice non-attachment and Christ told us to forgive those who sin against us. It keeps us from accumulating karma. Less karma means higher chances of rebirth into happier states of existence.

2. Knowledge of the process of death and rebirth.

Ignorance guarantees you a ticket to the torturous worlds of hell or the darkness of rebirth once you are in the Bardo states. Ignorance here means lack of insight into the true nature of reality. Jnana (wisdom or gnosis in other religions) empowers your consciousness, which may lead you towards enlightenment or to a heavenly state.

3. Knowledge of the perfect state of awareness.

The Tibetan texts say that a perfected and pure awareness (consciousness that is totally pervaded by light or the transcending spirit) is a precondition of the state of dharmakaya. If this perfect state of awareness is not attained, there will be parts that remain unconscious. These parts are the ones that cause consciousness to be pulled back down to the lower realms of existence.

4. Knowledge of all visions occurring in the unearthly realms.

If you can maintain the clearest presence of mind at the moment of death, you have all the power when you step into the world of the afterlife. A clear state of mind is necessary because you will encounter all kinds of unearthly visions in the after death states. Only those who are pure can go through these states without difficulty.

5. Knowledge of the six realms of existence, i.e., of rebirths.

In Buddhist cosmology, the “six realms” are just part of the lower realms of existence. Many other realms exist attainable only by highly evolved beings. The six realms are composed of the human realm, animal realm, hungry ghosts realm, asura realm, deva realm, and hell. The details are discussed in the Sidpa Bardo (last article).

6. Perfect knowledge of all liberating (purifying) capabilities.

Meditation on light is one of the most important exercises in the various schools of Tibetan Yoga. The more abilities you attain during life through spiritual practice, the stronger you become in penetrating and overcoming the visions in the Bardo. This website is actually filled with articles discussing various spiritual techniques, so please feel free to look around.

Excerpt
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The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.

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Old 05-08-2013, 04:24 AM   #11
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Carl Jung Depth Psychology
Thursday, October 6, 2011

Carl Jung on The Tibetan Book of the Dead


The Bardo Thodol, fitly named by its editor, Dr. W. Y. Evans-Wentz, "The Tibetan Book of the Dead," caused a considerable stir in English-speaking countries at the time of its first appearance in 1927. It belongs to that class of writings which are not only of interest to specialists in Mahayana Buddhism, but which also, because of their deep humanity and their still deeper insight into the secrets of the human psyche, make an especial appeal to the layman who is seeking to broaden his knowledge of life.

For years, ever since it was first published, the Bardo Thodol has been my constant companion, and to it I owe not only many stimulating ideas and discoveries, but also many fundamental insights.

Unlike the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which always prompts one to say too much or too little, the Bardo Thodol offers one an intelligible philosophy addressed to human beings rather than to gods or primitive savages. Its philosophy contains the quintessence of Buddhist psychological criticism; and, as such, one can truly say that it is of an unexampled superiority. Not only the "wrathful" but also the "peaceful" deities are conceived as samsaric projections of the human psyche, an idea that seems all too obvious to the enlightened European, because it reminds him of his own banal simplifications.

But 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 can do that, because, in certain of its most essential metaphysical premises, it has the enlightened as well as the unenlightened European at a disadvantage.

The ever-present, unspoken assumption of the Bardo Thodol is the antinominal character of all metaphysical assertions, and also the idea of the qualitative difference of the various levels of consciousness and of the metaphysical realities conditioned by them. The background of this unusual book is not the niggardly European "either-or," but a magnificently affirmative "both-and." This statement may appear objectionable to the Western philosopher, for the West loves clarity and unambiguity; consequently, one philosopher clings to the position, "God is," while another clings equally fervently to the negation, "God is not." What would these hostile brethren make of an assertion like the following:

Recognizing the voidness of thine own intellect to be Buddhahood, and knowing it at the same time to be thine own consciousness, thou shalt abide in the state of the divine mind of the Buddha.

Such an assertion is, I fear, as unwelcome to our Western philosophy as it is to our theology. The Bardo Thodol is in the highest degree psychological in its outlook; but, with us, philosophy and theology are still in the medieval, pre-psychological stage where only the assertions are listened to, explained, defended, criticized and disputed, while the authority that makes them has, by general consent, been deposed as outside the scope of discussion.

Metaphysical assertions, however, are statements of the psyche, and are therefore psychological. To the Western mind, which compensates its well-known feelings of resentment by a slavish regard for "rational" explanations, this obvious truth seems all too obvious, or else it is seen as an inadmissible negation of metaphysical "truth." Whenever the Westerner hears the word "psychological," it always sounds to him like "only psychological"

For him the "soul" is something pitifully small, unworthy, personal, subjective, and a lot more besides. He therefore prefers to use the word "mind" instead, though he likes to pretend at the same time that a statement which may in fact be very subjective indeed is made by the "mind," naturally by the "Universal Mind," or even-at a pinch-by the "Absolute" itself. This rather ridiculous presumption is probably a compensation for the regrettable smallness of the soul. It almost seems as if Anatole France had uttered a truth which were valid for the whole Western world when, in his Penguin Island, Catherine d'Alexandrie offers this advice to God: "Donnez-leur une ame, mais une petite!"

it is the psyche which, by the divine creative power inherent in it, makes the metaphysical assertion; it posits the distinctions between metaphysical entities. Not only is it the condition of
all metaphysical reality, it is that reality.

With this great psychological truth the Bardo Thodol opens. The book is not a ceremonial of burial, but a set of instructions for the dead, a guide through the changing phenomena of the Bardo realm, that state of existence which continues for forty-nine days after death until the next incarnation.

If we disregard for the moment the supratemporality of the soul which the East accepts as a self-evident fact we, as readers of the Bardo Thodol, shall be able to put ourselves without difficulty in the position of the dead man, and shall consider attentively the teaching set forth in the opening section, which is outlined in the quotation above. At this point, the following words are spoken, not presumptuously, but in a courteous manner:

O nobly born (so and so), listen. Now thou art experiencing the Radiance of the Clear Light of Pure Reality. Recognize it. O nobly born, thy present intellect, in real nature void, not formed into anything
as regards characteristics or colour, naturally void, is the very Reality, the All-Good. Thine own intellect, which is now voidness, yet not to be regarded as of the voidness of nothingness, but as being the intellect itself, unobstructed, shining, thrilling, and blissful, is the very consciousness, the All-good Buddha.

This realization is the Dharmakaya state of perfect enlightenment; or, as we should express it in our own language, the creative ground of all metaphysical assertion is consciousness, as the invisible, intangible manifestation of the soul. The "Voidness" is the state transcendent over all assertion and all predication.
The fulness of its discriminative manifestations still lies latent in the soul.

The text continues:
Thine own consciousness, shining, void, and inseparable from the Great Body of Radiance, hath no birth, nor death, and is the Immutable Light Buddha Amitabha.

The soul is assuredly not small, but the radiant Godhead itself. The West finds this statement either very dangerous, if not downright blasphemous, or else accepts it unthinkingly and then suffers from a theosophical inflation. Somehow we always have a wrong attitude to these things.

But if we can master ourselves far enough to refrain from our chief error of always wanting to do something with things and put them to practical use, we may perhaps succeed in learning an important lesson from these teachings, or at least in appreciating the greatness of the Bardo Thodol> which vouchsafes to the dead man the ultimate and highest truth, that even the gods are the radiance and reflection of our own souls. No sun is thereby eclipsed for the Oriental as it would be for the Christian, who would feel robbed of his God; on the contrary, his soul is the light of the Godhead, and the Godhead is the soul.

The East can sustain this paradox better than the unfortunate Angelus Silesius, who even today would be psychologically far in advance of his time.

It is highly sensible of the Bardo Thodol to make clear to the dead man the primacy of the psyche, for that is the one thing which life does not make clear to us. We are so hemmed in by things which jostle and oppress that we never get a chance, in the midst of all these "given" things, to wonder by whom they are "given." It is from this world of "given" things that the dead man liberates himself; and the purpose of the instruction is to help him towards this liberation. We, if we put ourselves in his place, shall derive no lesser reward from it, since we learn from the very first paragraphs that the "giver" of all "given" things dwells within us.

This is a truth which in the face of all evidence, in the greatest things as in the smallest, is never known, although it is often so very necessary, indeed vital, for us to know it. Such knowledge, to be sure, is suitable only for contemplatives who are minded to understand the purpose of existence, for those who are Gnostics by temperament and therefore believe in a saviour who, like the saviour of the Mandaeans, is called "knowledge of life" (Manda d'Hayye). Perhaps it is not granted to many of us to see the world as something "given."

A great reversal of standpoint, calling for much sacrifice, is needed before we can see the world as "given" by the very nature of the psyche. It is so much more straightforward, more dramatic, impressive, and therefore more convincing, to see all the things that happen to me than to observe how I make them happen. Indeed, the animal nature of man makes him resist seeing himself as the maker of his circumstances.

That is why attempts of this kind were always the object of secret initiations, culminating as a rule in a figurative death which symbolized the total character of this reversal. And, in point of fact, the instruction given in the Bardo Thodol serves to recall to the dead man the experiences of his initiation and the teachings of his guru, for the instruction is, at bottom, nothing less than an initiation of the dead into the Bardo life, just as the initiation of the living was a preparation for the Beyond. Such was the case, at least, with all the mystery cults in ancient civilizations from the time of the Egyptian and Eleusinian mysteries.

In the initiation of the living, however, this "Beyond" is not a world beyond death, but a reversal of the mind's intentions and outlook, a psychological "Beyond" or, in Christian terms, a "redemption" from the trammels of the world and of sin. Redemption is a separation and deliverance from an earlier condition of darkness and unconsciousness, and leads to a condition of illumination and releasedness, to victory and transcendence over everything "given."

Thus far the Bardo Thodol is, as Dr. Evans-Wentz also feels, an initiation process whose purpose it is to restore to the soul the divinity it lost at birth. Now it is a characteristic of Oriental religious literature that the teaching invariably begins with the most important item, with the ultimate and highest principles which, with us, would come last as for instance in Apuleius, where Lucius is worshipped as Helios only right at the end.

Accordingly, in the Bardo Thodol, the initiation is a series of diminishing climaxes ending with rebirth in the womb. The only "initiation process" that is still alive and practised today in the West is the analysis of the unconscious as used by doctors for therapeutic purposes.

This penetration into the ground layers of consciousness is a kind of rational maieutics in the Socratic sense, a bringing forth of psychic contents that are still germinal, subliminal, and as yet unborn. Originally, this therapy took the form of Freudian psychoanalysis and was mainly concerned with sexual fantasies. This is the realm that corresponds to the last and lowest region of the Bardo, known as the Sidpa Bardo, where the dead man, unable to profit by the teachings of the Chikhai and Chonyid Bardo, begins to fall a prey to sexual fantasies and is attracted by the vision of mating couples.

Eventually he is caught by a womb and born into the earthly world again. Meanwhile, as one might expect, the Oedipus complex starts functioning. If his karma destines him to be reborn as a man, he will fall in love with his mother-to-be and will find his father hateful and disgusting. Conversely, the future daughter will be highly attracted by her father-to-be and repelled by her mother.

The European passes through this specifically Freudian domain when his unconscious contents are brought to light under analysis, but he goes in the reverse direction. He journeys back through the world of infantile-sexual fantasy to the womb. It has even been suggested in psychoanalytical circles that the trauma par excellence is the birth-experience itself nay more, psychoanalysts even claim to have probed back to memories of intra-uterine origin. Here Western reason reaches its limit, unfortunately.

I say "unfortunately/' because one rather wishes that Freudian psychoanalysis could have happily pursued these so-called intra-uterine experiences still further back. Had it succeeded in this bold undertaking, it would surely have come out beyond the Sidpa Bardo and penetrated from
behind into the lower reaches of the Chonyid Bardo.

It is true that, with the equipment of our existing biological ideas, such a venture would not have been crowned with success; it would have needed a wholly different kind of philosophical preparation from that based on current scientific assumptions. But, had the journey back been consistently pursued, it would undoubtedly have led to the postulate of a pre-uterine existence, a true Bardo life, if only it had been possible to find at least some trace of an experiencing subject.

As it was, the psychoanalysts never got beyond purely conjectural traces of intra-uterine experiences, and even the famous ' 'birth trauma" has remained such an obvious truism that it can no longer explain anything, any more than can the hypothesis that life is a disease with a bad prognosis because its outcome is always fatal. Freudian psychoanalysis, in all essential aspects, never went beyond the experiences of the Sidpa Bardo; that is, it was unable to extricate itself from sexual fantasies and similar "incompatible" tendencies which cause anxiety and other affective states.

Nevertheless, Freud's theory is the first attempt made by the West to investigate, as if from below, from the animal sphere of instinct, the psychic territory that corresponds in Tantric Lamaism to the Sidpa Bardo. A very justifiable fear of metaphysics prevented Freud from penetrating into the sphere of the "occult." In addition to this, the Sidpa state, if we are to accept the psychology of the Sidpa Bardo, is characterized by the fierce wind of karma, which whirls the dead man along until he comes to the "womb-door."

In other words, the Sidpa state permits of no going back, because it is sealed off against the Chonyid state by an intense striving downwards, towards the animal sphere of instinct and physical rebirth. That is to say, anyone who penetrates into the unconscious with purely biological assumptions will become stuck in the instinctual sphere and be unable to advance beyond it, for he will be pulled back again and again into physical existence.

It is therefore not possible for Freudian theory to reach anything except an essentially negative valuation of the unconscious. It is a "nothing but." At the same time, it must be admitted that this view of the psyche is typically Western, only it is expressed more blatantly, more plainly, and more ruthlessly than others would have dared to express it, though at bottom they think no differently. As to what "mind" means in this connection, we can only cherish the hope that it will carry conviction. But, as even Max Scheler noted with regret, the power of this "mind" is, to say the least of it, doubtful.

I think, then, we can state it as a fact that with the aid of psychoanalysis the rationalizing mind of the West has pushed forward into what one might call the neuroticism of the Sidpa state, and has there been brought to an inevitable standstill by the uncritical assumption that everything psychological is subjective and personal. Even so, this advance has been a great gain, inasmuch as it has enabled us to take one more step behind our conscious lives. This knowledge also gives us a hint of how we ought to read the Bardo Thodol that is, backwards. If, with the help of our Western science, we have to some extent succeeded in understanding the psychological character of the Sidpa Bardo, our next task is to see if we can make anything of the preceding Chonyid Bardo.

The Chonyid state is one of karmic illusion that is to say, illusions which result from the psychic residua of previous existences. According to the Eastern view, karma implies a sort of psychic theory of heredity based on the hypothesis of reincarnation, which in the last resort is an hypothesis of the supratemporality of the soul.

Neither our scientific knowledge nor our reason can keep in step with this idea. There are too many ifs and but's. Above all, we know desperately little about the possibilities of continued existence of the individual soul after death, so little that we cannot even conceive how anyone could prove anything at all in this respect. Moreover, we know only too well, on epistemological grounds, that such a proof would be just as impossible as the proof of God.

Hence we may cautiously accept the idea of karma only if we are understand it as psychic heredity in the very widest sense of the word. Psychic heredity does exist that is to say, there is inheritance of psychic characteristics such as predisposition to disease, traits of character, special gifts, and so forth. It does no violence to the psychic nature of these complex facts if natural science reduces them to what appear to be physical aspects (nuclear structures in cells, and so on).

They are essential phenomena of life which express themselves, in the main, psychically, just as there are other inherited characteristics which express themselves, in the main, physiologically, on the physical level. Among these inherited psychic factors there is a special class which is not confined either to family or to race.

These are the universal dispositions of the mind, and they are to be understood as analogous to Plato's forms (eidola), in accordance with which the mind organizes its contents. One could also describe these forms as categories analogous to the logical categories which are always and everywhere present as the basic postulates of reason.

Only, in the case of our "forms," we are not dealing with categories of reason but with categories of the imagination. As the products of imagination are always in essence visual, their forms must, from the outset, have the character of images and moreover of typical images, which is why, following St. Augustine, I call them "archetypes." Comparative religion and mythology are rich mines of archetypes, and so is the psychology of dreams and psychoses.

The astonishing parallelism between these images and the ideas they serve to express has frequently given rise to the wildest migration theories, although it would have been far more natural to think of the remarkable similarity of the human psyche at all times and in all places. Archetypal fantasy-forms are, in fact, reproduced spontaneously anytime and anywhere, without there being any conceivable trace of direct transmission.

The original structural components of the psyche are of no less surprising a uniformity than are those of the visible body. The archetypes are, so to speak, organs of the pre-rational psyche. They are eternally inherited forms and ideas which have at first no specific content. Their specific content only appears in the course of the individual's life, when personal experience is taken up in precisely these forms. If the
archetypes were not pre-existent in identical form everywhere, how could one explain the fact, postulated at almost every turn by the Bardo Thodol, that the dead do not know that they are dead, and that this assertion is to be met with just as often in the dreary, half-baked literature of European and American Spiritualism?

Although we find the same assertion in Swedenborg, knowledge of his writings can hardly be sufficiently widespread for this little bit of information to have been picked up by every small-town medium. And a connection between Swedenborg and the Bardo Thodol is completely unthinkable. It is a primordial, universal idea that the dead simply continue their earthly existence and do not know that they are disembodied spirits an archetypal idea which enters into immediate, visible manifestation whenever anyone sees a ghost. It is significant, too, that ghosts all over the world have certain features in common.

I am naturally aware of the unverifiable spiritualistic hypothesis, though I have no wish to make it my own. I must content myself with the hypothesis of an omnipresent, but differentiated, psychic structure which is inherited and which necessarily gives a certain form and direction to all experience. For, just as the organs of the body are not mere lumps of indifferent, passive matter, but are dynamic, functional complexes which assert themselves with imperious urgency, so also the archetypes, as organs of the psyche, are dynamic, instinctual complexes which determine psychic life to an extraordinary degree.

That is why I also call them dominants of the unconscious. The layer of unconscious psyche which is made up of these universal dynamic forms I have termed the collective unconscious.

So far as I know, there is no inheritance of individual prenatal, or pre-uterine, memories, but there are undoubtedly inherited archetypes which are, however, devoid of content, because, to begin with, they contain no personal experiences. They only emerge into consciousness when personal experiences have rendered them visible. As we have seen, Sidpa psychology consists in wanting to live and to be born.

(The Sidpa Bardo is the "Bardo of Seeking Rebirth.") Such a state, therefore, precludes any experience of transubjective psychic realities, unless the individual refuses categorically to be born back again into the world of consciousness. According to the teachings of the Bardo Thodol, it is still possible for him, in each of the Bardo states, to reach the Dharmakdya by transcending the four-faced Mount Meru, provided that he does not yield to his desire to follow the "dim lights."

This is as much as to say that the dead man must desperately resist the dictates of reason, as we understand it, and give up the supremacy of egohood, regarded by reason as sacrosanct. What this means in practice is complete capitulation to the objective powers of the psyche, with all that this entails; a kind of symbolical death, corresponding to the Judgment of the Dead in the Sidpa Bardo. It means the end of all conscious, rational, morally responsible conduct of life, and a voluntary surrender to what the Bardo Thddol calls "karmic illusion."

Karmic illusion springs from belief in a visionary world of an extremely irrational nature, which neither accords with nor derives from our rational judgments but is the exclusive product of uninhibited imagination. It is sheer dream or "fantasy," and every well-meaning person will instantly caution us against it; nor indeed can one ee at first sight what is the difference between fantasies of
this kind and the phantasmagoria of a lunatic.

Very often only a slight abaissement du niveau mental is needed to unleash this world of illusion. The terror and darkness of this moment has its equivalent in the experiences described in the opening sections of the Sidpa Bardo. But the contents of this Bardo also reveal the archetypes, the karmic images which appear first in their terrifying form. The Chonyid state is equivalent to a deliberately induced psychosis.

One often hears and reads about the dangers of yoga, particularly of the ill-reputed kundalini yoga. The deliberately induced psychotic state, which in certain unstable individuals might easily lead to a real psychosis, is a danger that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. These things really are dangerous and ought not to be meddled within our typically Western way. It is a meddling with fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed. These sufferings correspond to the hellish torments of the Chonyid state, described in the text as follows:

Then the Lord of Death will place round thy neck a rope and drag thee along; he will cut off thy head, tear out thy heart, pull out thy intestines, lick up thy brain, drink thy blood, eat thy flesh, and
gnaw thy bones; but thou wilt be incapable of dying. Even when thy body is hacked to pieces, it will revive again. The repeated hacking will cause intense pain and torture.

These tortures aptly describe the real nature of the danger:

it is a disintegration of the wholeness of the Bardo body, which is a kind of "subtle body" constituting the visible envelope of the psychic self in the after-death state. The psychological equivalent of this dismemberment is psychic dissociation. In its deleterious form it would be schizophrenia (split mind).
This most common of all mental illnesses consists essentially in a marked abaissement du niveau mental which abolishes the normal checks imposed by the conscious mind and thus gives unlimited scope to the play of the unconscious "dominants."

The transition, then, from the Sidpa state to the Chonyid state is a dangerous reversal of the aims and intentions of the conscious mind. It is a sacrifice of the ego's stability and a surrender to the extreme uncertainty of what must seem like a chaotic riot of phantasmal forms. When Freud coined the phrase
that the ego was "the true seat of anxiety," he was giving voice to a very true and profound intuition. Fear of self-sacrifice lurks deep in every ego, and this fear is often only the precariously controlled demand of the unconscious forces to burst out in full strength.

No one who strives for self hood (individuation) is spared this dangerous passage, for that which is feared also belongs to the wholeness of the self the subhuman, or supra-human, world of psychic "dominants" from which the ego originally emancipated itself with enormous effort, and then only partially, for the sake of a more or less illusory freedom.

This liberation is certainly a very necessary and very heroic undertaking, but it represents nothing final: it is merely the creation of a subject, who, in order to find fulfillment, has still to be confronted by an object. This, at first sight, would appear to be the world, which is swelled out with projections for that very purpose. Here we seek and find our difficulties, here we seek and find our enemy, here we seek and find what is dear and precious to us; and it is comforting to know that all evil and all good is to be found out there, in the visible object, where it can be conquered, punished, destroyed, or enjoyed.

But nature herself does not allow this paradisal state of innocence to continue for ever. There are, and always have been, those who cannot help but see that the world and its experiences are in the nature of a symbol, and that it really reflects something that lies hidden in the subject himself, in his own transubjective reality. It is from this profound intuition, according to lamaist doctrine, that the Chonyid state derives its true meaning, which is why the Chonyid Bardo is entitled "The Bardo of the Experiencing of Reality."

The reality experienced in the Chonyid state is, as the last section of the corresponding Bardo teaches, the reality of thought. The "thought-forms" appear as realities, fantasy takes on real form, and the terrifying dream evoked by karma and played out by the unconscious "dominants" begins. The first to appear (if we read the text backwards) is the all-destroying God of Death, the epitome of all terrors; he is followed by the twenty-eight "power-holding" and sinister goddesses and the fifty-eight "blood-drinking" goddesses. In spite of their demonic aspect, which appears as a confusing chaos of terrifying attributes and monstrosities, a certain order is already discernible.

We find that there are companies of gods and goddesses who are arranged according to the four directions and are distinguished by typical mystic colours. It gradually becomes clearer that all these deities are organized into mandalas, or circles, containing a cross of the four colours. The colours are coordinatedwith the four aspects of wisdom:

(1) White = the light-path of the mirror-like wisdom;
(2) Yellow == the light-path of the wisdom of equality;
(3) Red = the light-path of the discriminative wisdom;
(4) Green = the light-path of the all-performing wisdom.

On a higher level of insight, the dead man knows that the real thought-forms all emanate from himself, and that the four light-paths of wisdom which appear before him are the radiations of his own psychic faculties. This takes us straight to the psychology of the lamaistic mandala, which I have already discussed in the book I brought out with the late Richard Wilhelm, The Secret of the Golden Flower.

Continuing our ascent backwards through the region of the Chonyid Bardo, we come finally to the vision of the Four Great Ones: the green Amogha-Siddhi, the red Amitabha, the yellow Ratna-Sambhava, and the white Vajra-Sattva. The ascent ends with the effulgent blue light of the Dharmadhatu, the Buddhabody, which glows in the midst of the mandala from the heart of Vairochana. With this final vision the karmic illusions cease; consciousness, weaned away from all form and from all attachment to objects, returns to the timeless, inchoate state of the Dharmakaya. Thus (reading backwards) the Chikhai state, which appeared at the moment of death, is reached.

I think these few hints will suffice to give the attentive reader some idea of the psychology of the Bardo Thodol. The book describes a way of initiation in reverse, which, unlike the eschatological
expectations of Christianity, prepares the soul for a descent into physical being. The thoroughly intellectualistic and rationalistic worldly-mindedness of the European makes it advisable for us to reverse the sequence of the Bardo Thodol and to regard it as an account of Eastern initiation experiences, though one is perfectly free, if one chooses, to substitute Christian symbols for the gods of the Chonyid Bardo.

At any rate, the sequence of events as I have described it offers a close parallel to the phenomenology of the European unconscious when it is undergoing an "initiation process/' that is to say, when it is being analysed.

The transformation of the unconscious that occurs under analysis makes it the natural analogue of the religious initiation ceremonies, which do, however, differ in principle from the natural process in that they forestall the natural course of development and substitute for the spontaneous production of symbols a deliberately selected set of symbols prescribed by tradition. We can see this in the Exerdtia of Ignatius Loyola, or in the yoga meditations of the Buddhists and Tantrists.

The reversal of the order of the chapters, which I have suggested here as an aid to understanding, in no way accords with the original intention of the Bardo Thodol Nor is the psychological use we make of it anything but a secondary intention, though one that is possibly sanctioned by lamaist custom. The real purpose of this singular book is the attempt, which must seem very strange to the educated European of the twentieth century, to enlighten the dead on their journey through the regions of the Bardo.

The Catholic Church is the only place in the world of the white man where any provision is made for the souls of the departed. Inside the Protestant camp, with its world affirming optimism, we only find a few mediumistic "rescue circles," whose main concern is to make the dead aware of the fact that they are dead.

But, generally speaking, we have nothing in the West that is in any way comparable to the Bardo Thodol, except for certain secret writings which are inaccessible to the wider public and to the ordinary scientist. According to tradition, the Bardo Thodol, too, seems to have been included among the "hidden" books, as Dr. Evans-Wentz makes clear in his Introduction.

As such, it forms a special chapter in the magical "cure of the soul" which extends even beyond death. This cult of the dead is rationally based on the belief in the supra-temporality of the soul, but its irrational basis is to be found in the psychological need of the living to do something for the departed.

This is an elementary need which forces itself upon even the most "enlightened" individuals when faced by the death of relatives and friends. That is why, enlightenment or no enlightenment, we still have all manner of ceremonies for the dead. If Lenin had to submit to being embalmed and put on show in a sumptuous mausoleum like an Egyptian pharaoh, we may be quite sure it was not because his followers believed in the resurrection of the body. Apart, however, from the Masses said for the soul in the Catholic Church, the provisions we make for the dead are rudimentary and on the lowest level, not because we cannot convince ourselves of the soul's immortality, but because we have rationalized the above-mentioned psychological need out of existence.

We behave as if we did not have this need, and because we cannot believe in a life after death we prefer to do nothing about it. Simpler-minded people follow their own feelings, and, as in Italy, build themselves funeral monuments of gruesome beauty. The Catholic Masses for the soul are on a level considerably above this, because they are expressly intended for the psychic welfare of the deceased and are not a mere gratification of lachrymose sentiments. But the highest application of spiritual effort on behalf of the departed is surely to be found in the instructions of the Bardo Thodol.

They are so detailed and thoroughly adapted to the apparent changes in the dead man's condition that every serious-minded reader must ask himself whether these wise old lamas might not, after all, have caught a glimpse of the fourth dimension and twitched the veil from the greatest of life's secrets. Even if the truth should prove to be a disappointment, one almost feels tempted to concede at least some measure of reality to the vision of life in the Bardo.

At any rate, it is unexpectedly original, if nothing else, to find the after-death state, of which our religious imagination has formed the most grandiose conceptions, painted in lurid colors as a terrifying dream-state of a progressively degenerative character. The supreme vision comes not at the end of the Bardo, but right at the beginning, at the moment of death; what happens afterward is an ever deepening descent into illusion and obscuration, down to the ultimate degradation of new physical birth. The spiritual climax is reached at the moment when life ends.

Human life, therefore, is the vehicle of the highest perfection it is possible to attain; it alone generates the karma that makes it possible for the dead man to abide in the perpetual light of the Voidness without clinging to any object, and thus to rest on the hub of the wheel of rebirth, freed from all illusion of genesis and decay.Life in the Bardo brings no eternal rewards or punishments, butmerely a descent into a new life which shall bear the individual nearer to his final goal. But this eschatological goal is what he himself brings to birth as the last and highest fruit of the labours and aspirations of earthly existence. This view is not only lofty, it is manly and heroic.


The degenerative character of Bardo life is corroborated by the spiritualistic literature of the West, which again and again gives one a sickening impression of the utter inanity and banality of communications from the "spirit world." The scientific mind does not hesitate to explain these reports as emanations from the unconscious of the mediums and of those taking part in the seance, and even to extend this explanation to the description of the Hereafter given in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. And it is an undeniable fact that the whole book is created out of the archetypal contents of the unconscious.

Behind these there lie and in this our Western reason is quite right no physical or metaphysical realities, but "merely" the reality of psychic facts, the data of psychic experience. Now whether a thing is "given" subjectively or objectively, the fact remains that it is. The Bardo Thodol says no more than this, for its five Dhyani-Buddhas are themselves no more than psychic data. That is just what the dead man has to recognize, if it has not already become clear to him during life that his own psychic self and the giver of all data are one and the same.

The world of gods and spirits is truly "nothing but" the collective unconscious inside me. To turn this sentence round so that it reads "The collective unconscious is the world of gods and spirits outside me," no intellectual acrobatics are needed, but a whole human lifetime, perhaps even many lifetimes of increasing completeness. Notice that I do not say "of increasing perfection because those who are "perfect" make another kind of discovery altogether.

The Bardo Thodol began by being a "closed" book, and so it has remained, no matter what kind of commentaries may be written upon it. For it is a book that will only open itself to spiritual understanding, and this is a capacity which no man is born with, but which he can only acquire through special training and special experience. It is good that such to all intents and purposes "useless" books exist. They are meant for those "queer folk" who no longer set much store by the uses, aims, and meaning of present-day "civilization.” ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Commentary Tibetan Book of the Dead; Pages 510-522.


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The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.

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Old 05-08-2013, 04:50 AM   #12
heartbeatsalute
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http://www.oshonews.com/2012/06/bard...tiful-process/

BARDO IS A BEAUTIFUL PROCESS




Q: I’ve always been fascinated by the state of bardo as described in ancient Tibetan scriptures. Could you say something about this?

Bardo is a simple method but with great significance. Only people who have meditated a little bit in their lives can be benefited by it, and Tibet was one of the countries where almost everybody was devoting some time to meditation – just to be alone, silent, not doing anything, just witnessing. If such a person does not achieve enlightenment in his life, and death intervenes, then bardo is used.

Such a man has achieved a certain opening of the door. He has not entered in, but he has at least tried; he has knocked on the door. He has a certain receptivity, and at the time of death he is absolutely willing to go into a state of meditation. Now there is nothing to be afraid of. Death has already come; he can risk everything. And bardo is a certain soft method of hypnosis… just the way I am using it. Listening to me you become quiet, silent.



The bardo is suggestions to the dying person: “Now be silent. Leave this life consciously. Rather than death taking it away from you, relax your hold; don’t be defeated by death, don’t struggle. Just drop all your attachment. This world is finished for you, and this life is finished for you. There is no point in holding on to it; in holding on to it you will be fighting with death. You cannot win, and a very significant possibility will be missed.

“Simply let go of everything on your own accord. Relax, and accept death without any antagonism as a culmination of life, as a natural phenomenon. It ends nothing. Remain conscious and watch what is happening – how the body starts becoming more and more distant from you, how the mind starts falling into pieces as if a mirror has fallen and broken into pieces, how your emotions, sentiments, moods… everything that made your life starts disappearing.”

It is the end of a dream. That is the fundamental point in bardo, that you have lived a dream that you call life, a seventy-year-long dream. It is coming to an end. You can weep for the spilled milk and miss the opportunity… because within seconds you will be entering into another womb, into another dream.

Between these two dreams just a few seconds are available for you to be alert and awake, and if you can manage this alertness you have conquered death, you have conquered dreaming. You will be entering into another womb consciously; you will be leaving this body consciously, entering into another body consciously.

You will be able to remember the death, the dream you had lived, in the coming life, which will make you alert not to get into the same rut – again chasing the same stupid desires, getting caught in the same jealousies, fighting for the same meaningless respectabilities. It will keep you alert that you have done it before. Everything ends in death and this too will end in death.

So bardo is reminding you that what is disappearing was a dream. It is very easy when death is coming to see your life as a dream. What else can it be? It is just as if you are waking up in the morning.

The whole night you have lived so much, so many dreams – you may have lived years in the night – but bardo reminds you that it was a dream. It has to be done by a very evolved being – a lama, a master – and he insists that it is time to realize that it was a dream: you are not dying, only the dream is broken.

And while you are being shifted from one dream to another… the gap is of tremendous importance because in that gap there is no dream, there is simple clarity, absolute clarity, awareness. So the second point to be reminded of is: don’t miss the gap.

And the third thing: don’t miss the entry into the womb. Then you have accomplished something which people need lives to work on.

The person is just falling into deep silence and death is descending. He is listening to these words from someone he has loved, he has trusted, from someone he cannot imagine deceiving – only then is it meaningful. It won’t work from just anybody. The bardo is available, all the instructions are available, but it is possible only through someone whom you have respected, honoured, trusted, loved.

In this critical moment a small doubt about what the person is saying will destroy the whole thing – then the bardo has been futile. But if you don’t miss and you follow the instructions, you are laying a foundation for a new life which will be a totally different life. It will be your last life, because anybody who is dying consciously, who uses the gap to have a taste of absolute purity, enters into the womb alert, is born alert. His enlightenment is guaranteed by nature: he has the seed, the foundation.

So bardo is a simple process, but it can be helpful only to those who have meditated a little, who have been with a master, who have once in a while tasted the silence, the presence, and the beauty of being in the moment. They become capable.

Bardo is the greatest contribution Tibet has made to the world. Tibet has not contributed anything else. It is a poor country, far away from the world – the roof of the world – unapproachable. Even today it is very difficult to reach Tibet.

Tibet developed meditation through Buddhist influence and finally became the only country in history where everybody was meditating, where meditation was a normal phenomenon. Every family had to give at least one of its members – someone who was ready – to a monastery, to meditate totally. So from every family at least one member went from each generation.

Almost the whole country of Tibet became a monastery. Just as Russia has become a concentration camp, Tibet became a monastery. There were hundreds of monasteries in the mountains, in beautiful places. Every family had contributed someone who was truly interested in seeking. It was the only place where people were encouraged to go on the search; it had become part of the style of the whole country.

And those who were not in the monasteries were also meditating as much as they could manage, so by the time of death, bardo was possible for everybody. There were many masters available, many evolved beings available who could repeat those instructions – and everybody had a master of his own. It was a totally different world.

In this century many beautiful things have been destroyed but Tibet is at the top. Tibet has been destroyed by a communist invasion from China. Monasteries have been changed into schools, into hospitals, and monks have been forced to work in the fields. Even to mention the word “meditation” became a crime. And it was not hurting anybody: the country was so aloof, so cut off from the world.

But it has been destroyed, and I don’t think there is any possibility to recover its beauty, its grandeur. That is impossible because now there are roads joining it to Pakistan, to China. Now buses are moving, now airports are there and planes are coming and going. The army is there. It has become a military base for China. It has lost its golden age.

Soon it will be difficult to find a person who is capable of listening to bardo instructions and almost impossible to find a person who can give those instructions. They will be in the books; they are available now in all the languages. They are simple instructions but they can be improved, and I have the idea to improve them because they are very ancient and very crude. They can be polished. Much can be added to them, more dimensions can be given to them. But the basic thing is that the people should be meditative. My people are meditative, and it will be part of our basic work to revive the bardo in a more refined form so we can use it for our people.

Tibet is no longer the same Tibet. But we can create the situation, the psychology, where bardo – or something like bardo but even far more evolved – can help people. It is a beautiful process. Just as Japan has brought Zen from Buddhist sources of meditation, Tibet has brought, from the same Buddhist sources of meditation, bardo. These are their immortal contributions.

When nuclear weapons are forgotten, still these discoveries will have the same significance.

Osho, The Path of the Mystic, Ch 7, Q 1
__________________
The belief that society exists has sabotaged every effort to change mankind. It is the reason why revolutions have failed. It is about a totally different revolution: the revolution in the heart of the individual.

Last edited by heartbeatsalute; 05-08-2013 at 04:52 AM.
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