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Jun 7

Written by: ghar
6/7/2009 1:01 PM

From the "Tibetan book of Living & Dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche which I highly recommend, a much more concise work than "The Great Treatise on the Path to Enlightenment" which is useful for steps along the path.


Perhaps the deepest reason we are afraid of death is that we do not know who we are.  We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity; but if we dare to examine it, we will find that this identity depends entirely on the endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our biography, our partners, our family, job, friends, credit cards…  It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely on for our security.  So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?
   Without our familiar props, we are faced with just ourselves, a person we do not know, an unnerving stranger with whom we have been living all the time but we never really wanted to meet.  Isn’t that why we have tried to fill every minute with noise and activity, however boring or trivial, to insure that we are never left in silence with this stranger on our own?
   And doesn’t this point to something fundamentally tragic about our life?  We live under an assumed identity, in a neurotic fairy tale world with no more reality than the Mock Turtle in Alice in Wonderland.  Hypnotized by the thrill of building, we have raised the houses of our lives on sand.  This world can seem marvelously convincing until death collapses the illusion and evicts us from our hiding place.  What will happen to us then if we have no clue of any deeper reality?
"In the Buddhist approach life and death are seen as a whole, where death is the beginning of another chapter of life. Death is a mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected. This view is central to the teachings of the most ancient school of Tibetan Buddhism. Many of you will have heard of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. What I am seeking to do in this book is to explain and expand it, to cover not only death but life as well, and to fill out in detail the whole teaching of which the Tibetan Book of the Dead is only a part. In this wonderful teaching, we find the whole of life and death presented together as a series of constantly changing transitional realities known as bardos. The word ‘bardo’ is commonly used to denote the intermediate state between death and rebirth, but in reality bardos are occurring continuously throughout both life and death, and are junctures when the possibility of liberation, or enlightenment is upon us.
  When we die we leave everything behind, especially this body we have cherished so much and relied upon so blindly and tried so hard to keep alive.  But our minds are no more dependable than our bodies.  Just look at our minds for a few minutes.  You will see that it is like a flea, constantly hopping to and fro.  You will see that thoughts arise without any reason, without any connection.  Swept along by the chaos of every moment, we are the victims of the fickleness of our mind.  If this is the only state of consciousness we are familiar with, then to rely on our minds at the moment of death is an absurd gamble. 

A saying by Alfred Pulyan is often misunderstood "nothing of you shall remain" well that is half true you need to implement the law of the paradox for it IS yet it IS NOT.     

An understanding of the Illusory opaque Nature of the World and the Bardos is needed by all spiritual aspirants that seek self definition for the proper perspective of what remains from the Observers perceptive that is between, beyond that there is no concern nor is concern necessary or possible.   - ghar


1 comments so far...

Re: Death is a mirror in which the entire meaning of life is reflected

Thank you for sharing this - I read it this morning and today at my study group for A Course in Miracles we read something eerily similar. Perennial wisdom in a different form but with the same content.

By Theresa McGallicher on   8/8/2021 2:39 PM

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