Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

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Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Individual » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:32 am

This isn't an anti-Vajrayana thread, so don't turn it into one.

Glancing through a summary of the Bardo Thodol, I failed to see anything like, "Push the red button and you will fall through a trap door into a Buddha-land."

Instead, it describes various encounters with mystical beings, where you have a chance to cultivate a certain positive mental quality to avoid a bad fate, at various steps along the way.

My point is this: If you cultivate these mental qualities in life, you don't need the Bardo Thodol because at death, you'll still have those qualities. And if you didn't cultivate these qualities in life, you're not likely to spontaneously develop them after dying anymore than you might spontaneously develop them in life.

So then, of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Perhaps it could inspire us to cultivate mental qualities now, so that we don't have to worry about it later... But it's often described as a guide to the afterlife, where ordinary people can achieve enlightenment through merely following some very simple instructions. For a person who craves quick and easy enlightenment, it's useless.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby plwk » Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:30 am

If If If.....if only life was so ideal....
if only people were suppose to be doing what they are supposed to...and not wait until the last moment...
if only this and that...

it's samsara...welcome to the thick darkness of greed, aversion & ignorance
that's why the Dharma arises out of those conditions as a response & remedy..
the Bardo Thodol being one of it..
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:42 am

This...."But it's often described as a guide to the afterlife, where ordinary people can achieve enlightenment through merely following some very simple instructions. For a person who craves quick and easy enlightenment, it's useless." is a form of argument.

I find no one I know states that ordinary people may achieve enlightenment through simple instructions.
So yes....the self inspired answer is true...it would be useless for that purpose. But that is not the purpose.

There are varying means and methods described which may enable one to attain a enlightened state. There are also means and methods described in which one may effect a powah of not the highest sort and also methods to use when all else fails. For virtually all circumstance of dying one finds the methods applicable for best result.

Now if one wants a full enlightenment death may offer a opportunity for practice to enable such. We are naturally presented with our full array of awareness composite and origin upon death. If one utilizes meditational means to prepare oneself for death by experiencing a very similiar thing prior one may utilize the state of death for purpose of enlightenment. This generally by recognizing what happens to be what one is.

Nothing simple about that nor the preparation for that. It takes years upon years of engagement in highest yoga tantra to prepare for that, to replicate through meditational means the occurance of a after death experience.

Other means for others from the most accomplished to the least accomplished are described. Means for the most fortunate of death circumstances and the least fortunate.
All is a spiritual practice. One should just study and advance in the spiritual while as a living human..... absurd perposterous. Why would one want to do that? Restrict oneself suchly. I should practice fervently while human then upon dying...be running from imaginary demons of self inspired composite....why would I want to do that? Use both why not?

And for those not so inclined to the spiritual one may have a more favorable rebirth. As with Powah of the lesser sorts. Or just dying with the persons body on the right side to disincline to a lesser birth due to lesser of the gross emotions....all is useful. Or with a unsuspecting death like falling off a cliff...eject consciousness upward....and on and on. Means for every sort of person with all sorts of spiritual developement or nondevelopement.

We may utilize everything, sickness fear desire pain and death for spiritual purpose. Such is this provided with intent.

And for your listening pleasure....a flash from the past...



To balance it a bit :smile:
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Luke » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:13 am

Individual,

I think you underestimate the effort required to becom enlightened in one lifetime. It may be possible, but few people will be able to put in the time and effort neccesary. From this point of view, attaining enlightenment in the Bardo after death is actually a quick method to become enlightened.

I can't plan on becoming a fully enlightened Buddha within my present lifetime. However, I'd be quite thrilled to achieve enlightenment in the Bardo after this life. To me, that's just as good.

The Book of the Dead is a useful guide for becoming familar with the dying process so that you'll be able to act more wisely in the bardo of death.

I received a few teachings from a Tibetan lama about the Book of the Dead. The interesting thing to me was that he said that the lights we feel attracted to in the bardo are the wrong ones to go towards. We are only attracted to them because of our negative qualities: attachment, greed, etc. The correct light to go towards is the one which is frighteningly bright and intense.

Here's a quick piece of advice from those teachings: the light which leads to the hell realms is smoky red in color. So stay away from it, even if your initially impression is that it looks "cozy"!
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Nighthawk » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:06 am

Hi Luke,

Enlightenment in the bardo meaning instant full Buddhahood and skipping all the bhumi levels a bodhisattva has to go through or enlightenment meaning one's consciousness is transferred to a buddha field and attains enlightenment there?
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Luke » Wed Oct 13, 2010 1:31 pm

maestro wrote:Enlightenment in the bardo meaning instant full Buddhahood and skipping all the bhumi levels a bodhisattva has to go through or enlightenment meaning one's consciousness is transferred to a buddha field and attains enlightenment there?

The first one. My understanding is that in the bardo one has a unique opportunity to realize the clear-light (true nature) of the mind more easily than when one is alive. But I've only learned a little bit about these things.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby ronnewmexico » Wed Oct 13, 2010 5:36 pm

To add a little bit though I am very uneducated to this..

there are different gradients available in this practice. As per example, there are 4 methods(initially described) of consciousness transference(many more later) each more suited to a individuals spiritual practice than another.

The first described for instance....Consciousness transference into the buddha body of reality...

the most supreme...is aimed at peoples who..."has some understanding of inner radiance, who has cultivated the view of emptiness, and encountered it directly in (one's own) awareness, the consciousness transference into the Buddha-body of Reality is the supreme (method)." Which is a quote.

Though this is a layperson with little understanding I will express my opinion.....I think this and many other things of similiarity may be easily misunderstood. The basic terminology states all these practices lead to buddhahood. Yet if one studies the subject matter it becomes readily apparent that there are degrees of attainment possible in this thing and not all will immediately lead to full buddhahood.

My interpretation is this....beings of other realms have very differing conceptions of time and such. ONe of our years may be a minute to them. A book such as this may reflect a concept such as attaining full buddhahood as a eventual progression, which to us humans may seem light years away in our time considerations but to others may seem pretty immediate.

So full buddhahood(immediate upon the death process)... by such consideration is attainable for one who as described ...cultivated and encountered directly the view of emptiness. Some understanding of inner radiance is misleading. This does not mean "some" in our terms, but in terms that fully conceived as understood..... inner radiance...one would be fully enlightened.

That is a very very advanced spiritual state by my take. One who has attained that is very very close to buddhahood also by my take. To one who is in such a state that may seem a mundane state compared to the potentiality of what is to be arrived at. But to us mere humans such a attainment is perhaps equilivent to a Millarepa who spends his entire life practicing with full devotion.

It is like one in pure land who reads....I may just recite the buddhas name and I will be in a pure land of full potential attainments....Well Yeah. If one has already the prerequisit causes which by result will then have one doing so combined with that thing. So this way of speaking may be common to Buddhism and lead some to misinterpret. Best result and long long terms of time consideration(perhaps many many lives) are implied when the totality of these things are studied.

ONe can of course take a singular line or statement and say....well he is wrong, it says quite clearly I may attain full enlightenment by doing this thing and this thing is aimed at me a simple person with no practice....that is only true with qualification and this thing must be studied in its entire context(like pure land) to not misinterpret.

Yes full buddhahood...eventually. For some yes, in our terms of immediate.

Which I'd guess is why to some extent these things are never practiced without accompanament of a teachers understanding.....it is quite complex to understand. The preliminary practices themselves take several years of practice for successful completion before the substance matter may be engaged at all.
And this directed by a lama. ONe may dabble in it as I do with no attainment....but I know fully well I am dabbleing and may never advance beyond the preliminaries. To read its contents, state understanding witout successful completion of even the preliminaries....quite a silly thing to do.

That is my personal opinion, though as stated from a uneducated layperson.

A singular part Introduction to awareness: natural liberation through naked perception.....a mere extract but absolutely necessary to understand at the very least conceptually and at the prefered level experientially before actually expecting a supreme level of realization to be attained.....that alone is quite quite profound and could take a person such as I, many many lifetimes singularly devoted to study of that thing to attain a complete understanding.

Without such a undertaking or cause of prior study in prior lives which has resulted in that.....never could I have expectation of attaining even a meditational state which could lead in any fashion to buddhahood in a immediate fashion with this one death.

So the teaching are usefull even for those of no understanding but must be understood in the proper context and even with a simple level this should be engaged with guidance. The preliminaries themselves are quite profound. I recite some of them, usually daily, presently, and have usually for several years, and still find materials of a nature I can only guess about and conceptualize.

Otherwise, without even successfully completing the preliminaries.... it is quite a silly thing to do make assumptions on this thing. As expressed in the initial post, which, with no offense of personal intent to the poster...is quite a silly post.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Nighthawk » Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:21 pm

Luke wrote:
maestro wrote:Enlightenment in the bardo meaning instant full Buddhahood and skipping all the bhumi levels a bodhisattva has to go through or enlightenment meaning one's consciousness is transferred to a buddha field and attains enlightenment there?

The first one. My understanding is that in the bardo one has a unique opportunity to realize the clear-light (true nature) of the mind more easily than when one is alive. But I've only learned a little bit about these things.


So they directly enter into parinirvana? I thought the whole point of Mahayana was to become Buddhas in order to work for the benefit of all sentient beings still stuck in samsara?
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Luke » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:13 pm

maestro wrote:So they directly enter into parinirvana? I thought the whole point of Mahayana was to become Buddhas in order to work for the benefit of all sentient beings still stuck in samsara?

Yes, after one becomes enlightened, one can benefit other beings much more effectively.

Anyway, I'm not an expert at these things. So don't take my opinions as doctrine. I may be mistaken about a few things, but this is my current understanding of these issues.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby heart » Thu Oct 14, 2010 4:59 am

Individual wrote:This isn't an anti-Vajrayana thread, so don't turn it into one.

Glancing through a summary of the Bardo Thodol, I failed to see anything like, "Push the red button and you will fall through a trap door into a Buddha-land."

Instead, it describes various encounters with mystical beings, where you have a chance to cultivate a certain positive mental quality to avoid a bad fate, at various steps along the way.

My point is this: If you cultivate these mental qualities in life, you don't need the Bardo Thodol because at death, you'll still have those qualities. And if you didn't cultivate these qualities in life, you're not likely to spontaneously develop them after dying anymore than you might spontaneously develop them in life.

So then, of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Perhaps it could inspire us to cultivate mental qualities now, so that we don't have to worry about it later... But it's often described as a guide to the afterlife, where ordinary people can achieve enlightenment through merely following some very simple instructions. For a person who craves quick and easy enlightenment, it's useless.


Bardo Thodol is a little part of a Terma cycle discovered by Karma Lingpa. I contains a great number of practices aimed to make you achieve enlightenment in one life. The
Bardo Thodol supposed to be read aloud for a person that have died in order to be a support during that difficult stage. Dying is quite a greater mess than you think and a little support is not a bad idea.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:31 am

When you talk about how death offers a unique opportunity for enlightenment, I don't understand why: I see it as merely another aspect of rebirth.

ronnewmexico wrote:Now if one wants a full enlightenment death may offer a opportunity for practice to enable such. We are naturally presented with our full array of awareness composite and origin upon death.

What do you mean by "awareness composite and origin"?

ronnewmexico wrote:Or just dying with the persons body on the right side to disincline to a lesser birth due to lesser of the gross emotions....all is useful.

What? Is this the Tibetan explanation for the Buddha's lion posture?

ronnewmexico wrote:Or with a unsuspecting death like falling off a cliff...eject consciousness upward....and on and on.

What?

heart wrote:Bardo Thodol is a little part of a Terma cycle discovered by Karma Lingpa. I contains a great number of practices aimed to make you achieve enlightenment in one life. The
Bardo Thodol supposed to be read aloud for a person that have died in order to be a support during that difficult stage. Dying is quite a greater mess than you think and a little support is not a bad idea.

But if his ears belong to a dead body, how does the dead one hear it?
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Luke » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:41 am

Individual wrote:When you talk about how death offers a unique opportunity for enlightenment, I don't understand why: I see it as merely another aspect of rebirth.

I think it has something to do with the five elements of our body dissolving at the time of death, but I'm not sure. The opportunity for enlightenment after death goes by very quickly, so if we're not prepared for it, we won't be able to take full advantage of it.

Individual wrote:
ronnewmexico wrote:Or with a unsuspecting death like falling off a cliff...eject consciousness upward....and on and on.

What?

Look up "Phowa."

Individual wrote:But if his ears belong to a dead body, how does the dead one hear it?

The dead person's mind lingers around the body for a time before departing. It doesn't want to believe it's dead and panics.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby heart » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:43 am

Individual wrote:
heart wrote:Bardo Thodol is a little part of a Terma cycle discovered by Karma Lingpa. I contains a great number of practices aimed to make you achieve enlightenment in one life. The
Bardo Thodol supposed to be read aloud for a person that have died in order to be a support during that difficult stage. Dying is quite a greater mess than you think and a little support is not a bad idea.

But if his ears belong to a dead body, how does the dead one hear it?


You read this to the dead consciousness that are at that time having the corresponding experiences. Death is the end of the physical body not of experience. During the Bardo you have a kind of mental body that corresponds to the body you used to have.

/magnus
"To reject practice by saying, 'it is conceptual!' is the path of fools. A tendency of the inexperienced and something to be avoided."
- Longchenpa
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:39 pm

Luke wrote:The opportunity for enlightenment after death goes by very quickly, so if we're not prepared for it, we won't be able to take full advantage of it.

I thought I read that the transition lasts a couple of weeks?

Luke wrote:
Individual wrote:
ronnewmexico wrote:Or with a unsuspecting death like falling off a cliff...eject consciousness upward....and on and on.

What?

Look up "Phowa."

I get that, but I didn't understand the relevance of falling off of a cliff.

If I go splat, why does that make my consciousness bounce upwards?

Luke wrote:
Individual wrote:But if his ears belong to a dead body, how does the dead one hear it?

The dead person's mind lingers around the body for a time before departing. It doesn't want to believe it's dead and panics.

But hearing is ear-consciousness, which arises through contact with sound by means of the ear organ. If somebody tears your ears off (and removes the inner ear too), you wouldn't be able to hear anything, so how does the dead one hear? By means of what faculty?

When you say it "lingers," are you suggesting that the dead have the property of locality?

heart wrote:
Individual wrote:
heart wrote:Bardo Thodol is a little part of a Terma cycle discovered by Karma Lingpa. I contains a great number of practices aimed to make you achieve enlightenment in one life. The
Bardo Thodol supposed to be read aloud for a person that have died in order to be a support during that difficult stage. Dying is quite a greater mess than you think and a little support is not a bad idea.

But if his ears belong to a dead body, how does the dead one hear it?


You read this to the dead consciousness that are at that time having the corresponding experiences. Death is the end of the physical body not of experience. During the Bardo you have a kind of mental body that corresponds to the body you used to have.

/magnus

When you say a mental body, what is the form of this mental body and how does it differ from the material body? It has something like the six sense gates? How does it arise at death?
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby narraboth » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:35 pm

Some misunderstanding here
(well, I think. Probably I am the one who's wrong)

firstly, you are totally right about that we need to avoid negative karma this life so that everything will be easier after we die.
But remember that we have countless previous lives, and the negative or positive karma we have done is huge amount: Buddha said if it has a form, the sky can't contain it. So we all have potential to go to any realm, higher or lower.
However, the karma which made freshly or the mind you have at the moment has strongest power, like the habit you generated not long ago would influence you most FOR NOW.
All the habits (of klesha) will show their power in Bardo, but I think they won't be all the same. If you are a very attached person, very greedy, probably the attachment klesha power will be dominant, and even you listen Thodrol, you might not be able to resist the strong flow of habit of mind.

Therefore, we do need to watch our behaviors and our mind now. In the text it says even you did very bad things, you can still be liberated. I think that's a possibility, it's possible when using thodrol. But we also need to know that the mind in Bardo is also not stable, and the power of karma is very very strong.

I have read a text about a master talked to his died brother who's in Bardo. The master is a student of Nyi Da Cho Dag, the third lineage master of Karmalingpa Zhitro; his brother listened to Zhitro teaching once or twice from Nyi Da cho dag too, and the master chanted Thodrol for his brother a lot. However, his brother didn't attain buddhahood in death bardo, he didn't go to five buddha's field in reality bardo, he didn't even go to Amitabha's pureland in rebirth bardo (his brother said:'when I just think of pureland, I feel big horror for no reason' the master sigh: 'probably that's your karma' his brother cried: 'I am so regret that I didn't spend more time to practice dharma!'). His brother was kept in Bardo through the teaching's power, looking for a suitable womb and almost gave up: 'a good human womb is so so difficult to find!' most beings in bardo he saw were all go to lower realms: to a black whole which lead to hell, some very dirty rooms which are cow or lamb's wombs... Luckily his brother got a human body in the end.

You see, the guy recieved teaching from a great karmalingpa lineage very near holder; he got a rinpoche brother to help him; he knows some dharma; he probably was not a bad person... but he can only keep a human body (which is already very lucky). Does the thodrol work? His brother said 'extremely helpful. without this I might have gone to lower place. I am just hoping I did listen to it for three times or more.'

Second question about if people will attain buddhahood directly without going through stages:
it's possible if you recognise clear light and fully enlightened. But the case is very rare. If that happens, people will see auspicious signs.
If you recognise when you see five families buddha or dieties, probably that won't be a full buddhahood? I am not very sure, but in the text it says: 'go to (certain buddha's) buddhafield.' The pureland is a sambhodakaya field, so theoritcally the being would be on first to eight bhumi. That's also not often seen, because people can see signs in this case, and we don't see signs often.
If you successfully go to pureland in rebirth bardo, then depends on which place you go to, in sum you will go through stages there and acheive buddhahood in the end. the same case when you choose a nice human womb. Even in this case, there can be still some signs.

Achieving full buddhahood when you die is possible, but it's so difficult. that's why we should also practice powa or do pureland practice.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Luke » Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:13 pm

Individual wrote:
Luke wrote:The opportunity for enlightenment after death goes by very quickly, so if we're not prepared for it, we won't be able to take full advantage of it.

I thought I read that the transition lasts a couple of weeks?

Yes, it can, but the moment during that time when it's posssible to realize the clear light nature of mind is very brief. After moment, it's gone and then we just have to strive to make choices in the bardo which will lead to a positive rebirth.

Luke wrote:
Individual wrote:Look up "Phowa."

I get that, but I didn't understand the relevance of falling off of a cliff.

If I go splat, why does that make my consciousness bounce upwards?

No, what Ron meant is that if you die suddenly, Phowa is the best practice which can be done in that short amount of time. Deeper practices require dying slowly so that you can maintain your concentration. Phowa is usually for those with limited time or with lesser ability. Dzogchen and Mahamudra masters probably just realize the clear light nature of mind in the bardo if they die naturally (slowly).

Individual wrote:
Luke wrote:The dead person's mind lingers around the body for a time before departing. It doesn't want to believe it's dead and panics.

When you say it "lingers," are you suggesting that the dead have the property of locality?

Yes.

Individual wrote:When you say a mental body, what is the form of this mental body and how does it differ from the material body? It has something like the six sense gates? How does it arise at death?

How does the disembodied mind of a dead person see and hear? That's a damn good question. I don't know. I'd be very interested to hear the explanation, too.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby heart » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:02 pm

Individual wrote:When you say a mental body, what is the form of this mental body and how does it differ from the material body? It has something like the six sense gates? How does it arise at death?


It s my understanding that this "body" is more like the habit of having body. In the beginning when you die it will look like the body you have in this life, later it will look more like the body you will have next life.
The mind is the basis for the body so it isn't strange that you can hear and see in the Bardo. In fact according to the teaching you can see and hear a lot better than in this life. If you think about New York, you will instantly go there.

/magnus
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:58 pm

To add to Lukes excellent comments, and those others of excellence offered...

Instantaneous consciousness transference....To quote .... from Consciousness transference.... Natural liberation through recollection..."All the(above methods of consciousness transference are appropriate) in the context of a person whose death is gradual: but in the casse of those who die suddenly, there will not be sufficient time to engage in meditations, such as those (just described). In this case, therefore, the methodof instantaneous consciousness transference becomes most important,"

To explain....what is being discussed is a compendium of teachings. Normally one does not just consider one extract so I have included in my discussion the larger composite of the teachings. Otherwise if is just one extract is considered once again it is out of context and misleading.
The basic point being these teachings allow for any eventuality and for varying degree of spiritual progress from one with none to one a hair bredth away from being enlightened.

Now it has been stated it seems that this allows for all to attain enlightenment or be one step away from enlightenment....I personally think that is a great error in the readings of the materials. A out of context application to my observation allows for that incorrect interpretation to be made. Some of these practices, if followed do indeed lead one on the path of enlightenment but that is not the actualization of enlightenment. Those two things are greatly misunderstood. Very briefly cause must be provided to attain enlightenment or to be very close to that thing. A simple practice is not enough, to my opinion.
I could elaborate.

What do you mean by "awareness composite and origin"?
Other posters have hit on this a bit. Awareness is the basic cause of our reality in simplist of terms.
With death the courser elements that present as our present reality dissolve. Suchly we are presented with our origin which is our basic aware aspect in its nakedness. A composite of these gradually evolves into diety form and other. First, for example, will present the five essential buddhas or basic aspects of reality, next will present these that are a larger representation of those five....the myriad dieties, 52 or so, which corrospond to the 52 basic types of thought we have. Not recognizing their nature and then then evolve again. Eventually this whole process of lack of recognition results in a rebirth. This is the 12 links(the first parts) of dependent origin as the actually occur in a consciousness process.
So that is awareness origin and composte

What? Is this the Tibetan explanation for the Buddha's lion posture?
The body has energy channels. Those channels are by position more or less disruptive, and thusly lead to defiled emotions or thoughts by propensity present by position. Those disruptive thoughts/emotions, will be incited to present when one lies on the left side. So one may lie on the right and less chance for defiled thoughts will present. ONe may notice that in dream state at times. More corse dreams are generally found when lying on the left than the right.
To augment that... one may place the hand upon the obvious orifices of the body to encourage the outlet of consciousness to exit from the top. Consciousness at this time is thought to actually still have some physical properties so it is thought it may be influenced. So one can place ones hands so the rest closeing the lower openings and such things. To augment this one may visualize a certain sylable to go to all the possible orfices and block the exit of consciousness from those. A lower exit pretty much assures a hell realm rebirth. So that may be utilized as well.

To explain a bit about the dead hearing and such. The body upon dying is not a abrupt process of strict nature. ONe doesn't die and then all stops. The consciousness has a habitual inclination to remain with the body and to continue to experience the senses in the same way. As such the body may be instantly detached if one has a particularly strong cause such as killing many people, and head instantly for a hell realm as consequence but that type of death is pretty unusual. For most of us, we hang around a bit.
So we may be reminded of the spiritual as opposed to the mundane. Suchly one should not do things like cry and carry on as it may have negative effect. So a part of this is read to lead one in a certain direction.
AS a aside some advanced meditators may stay with the body utilizing its death as a means for spiritual advancement. So we have cases of some with death... dying but the body not deteriorating and remaining as if alive but just not breathing or pulse beating. It is a spiritual thing the prior owner is doing..useing the body for purpose..spiritual advancement. This may go on for weeks or even months. Or with vairability depending on spicific karmic cause and level of spiritual advancement. The process being pretty quick for most.
But later on the dying process itself presents opportunity at certain times. So the readings may still provide benefit even later on. The death process in the transition phase is repeated every seven days for a total of 49 days. Keep in mind however those are human terms for times which may not approximate the times of other beings. So there is a variance.

Be advised, though I be a layperson with little understanding and no education to these things....I think it is a grave error to strictly depend upon these singular practices even performed with the greastest of intent to guarantee a fully enlightened state or even very close to one. One must advance oneself spiritually in this present life and these practices will allow for the best result which could possibly happen. It is not that cause is miraculously provided by a gift from the buddha or padmesanbhava.
That is a misread. Best result only will happen.

What elicits our consciouness to present is variable to a extent. WE may have latent habitual inclination or event which tends towards a lower rebirth. If we have a bad death experience and a bad transition experience these latent tendencies may present in our next reality with a unfortunate rebirth.
Of course if we have no latent inclination such could not occur. But most of us do. So this process and teachings in total allow for no bad clicitation of presentation to occur. It does not make something out of nothing....we do not suddenly become able to be enlightened, or close to enlightened just with these practices, and no cause. It allows for the best of what is our habitual inclination or latency to present in our next rebirth. For 99.9% of us. Some..... cause provided, death provided as additional circumstance, become enlightened fully with death or rebirth where enlightenment is but one step away. That is not most of us. No lower rebirth as animal demon etc, Some to variance of pure land that is not total but allows us to learn. Some as diety or god realm. There is much variance to this thing.

The actual qualities or properties we may have to my opinion are not so very important. WE present at some stage most say as a child of say the age of seven or so to the body of our next rebirth. We at one point in the process have superior cognitive ability abilty to walk through walls and such as we have not a physical tether. We tend towards the body of our next rebirth and perceptions to fit as we progress and time goes on in the trasnsition phase. You could go on and on about how the transition phase is....I personally find it interesting but not all that significant. Meditational process here and now that approximates such a state...that is significant to me.

Every aspect is addresed in the total of these teachings from before the death to identifying how to prevent a unwanted death, all types of actual deaths, how to practice before death, when just dead, longer after dead, upon womb presentation after in the womb....it is all there.
Discussing just one singular part to my opinion leads to unreasonable conclusion as it removes from context. Suchly we may expect things it does not provide and miss things it does.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:52 pm

I find some of this very interesting and thought-provoking, but some of it gravely mistaken.

The notion of a mind-made body is appealing to me, but the idea of it having the property of locality is not.

After all, as somebody said: You can think you're in New York and suddenly be in New York. That mode of transportation is very different from the way this body moves. It does not travel from point A to point B; it is merely at point A, then spontaneously arises at point B. But it is never actually at point A or point B, because the body is dead and it's merely a thought.

If, then, we think of the mind as being something that "leaves" the body or can "linger", that seems to be a mistaken idea, because it is treating a mental dhamma as a material one.

I am not materialist (a criticism often made against those who criticize Vajrayana), but I also do not see the wisdom in the reification of things of the heart. In other words, if materialism is such a bad thing, why must these things be explained in materialistic terms, as a kind of physical spirit which leaves the body? Why not let it remain as spiritual writing, instead of making it a pseudoscience?

For instance, I think that if scientists studied the morality and dreams of people sleeping on the left and right sides of the body, I find it doubtful that they would find any distinction. But if laying on your right side, in your experience, helps you sleep better and be more moral, it isn't helpful for me to mock you.
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Re: Of what use is the Bardo Thodol?

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Oct 15, 2010 7:00 pm

To be clear...I am describing the thought on the issue, and issues such as these, I am not describing my personal practice.
I in fact elicit circumstances of peril and such to enhance understanding of mind. I may as well sleep on the top of my head....I and my personal practice are not relevent to this discussion.

Our reality is simply not diverse from the circumstances of its presentation.To assume by simple observation there is a abrupt jump from one to another based invaribably on perceptive influcence.
Such perceptions are based entirely upon self. We see not other but self...always.
All we can say about a dead person is thusly...they are dead to us, nothing more.

Secientific evidence....we set up our reality so it infers and affirms one thing and one thing only...affirmation of self. That is a priori. All else is gravy, So never in this self invented reality will be obviously present contradictions to anything that even hints at lack of singular identity.
With scientific inquiry and progression in finer point will present such such reflection of reality. AS our reality is extention of us....we simply cannot allow overt challenge in any form to supremecy of self and self identification.

Your personal attachment or rejection of these ideas is of no concern to me. You asked a simple question...I provided a simple answer.
The Bardo Thodol is of great use for particular circumstance. Deny it so.....irrelevent comments are distracting and incidental to issue.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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