Geoff, I fully accept that you disagree with my analysis that he is agnostic about rebirth, and denies Nirmanakaya. However, it seems crystal clear to me, so if you care enough you will transcribe his statements about 'enlightenment' being total death, and nobody in any tradition knowing at all what happens after death, and explain how you are interpreting his statements.
Yeshe D. wrote:
I don't think he's characterizing the bardo teachings as "bogus" at all. The bardos are profound. It seems to me that he is acknowledging this profundity and the fact that the most profound bardos -- such as the chikkhai bardo, the chönyi bardo, and the sidpai bardo -- are communicated in an archetypal and symbolic fashion. And these archetypal symbols are not the property of any particular lineage or religious tradition. Awakening can't be institutionalized. And there are many counter-forces inhibiting institutionalized religious traditions from being able to maintain that which cannot be systematically recorded and taught in any sort of predictable framework. This doesn't mean that it's impossible, just not assured. Even practicing dzogchen tögal is no guarantee of realizing the profundity of this practice during this life.
First off, not only did he not say any of the things you state above, -- he doesn't imply them either anywhere in the interview. If you think he does, please quote him. I believe everything I interpreted from his statements are pretty direct, not far at all from what he is actually stating. What you are saying here takes interpretation to a whole new level of creativity. If he had been lucid enough, and believed everything you are stating above about the bardo, he could have said it himself with clarity. But he didn't, and what he said is so far from how you have interpreted it I can't even begin to imagine how you got there. You must be especially fond of this man to give him so much leeway.
The great thing about the teachings about death, rebirth, and the bardo- or the 'in-between'- is they function as a map. A map is always abstracted from the actual three-dimensional location, because it is a crude way of communicating. But because one has studied the language and the symbols, one can read the map and has an idea of how to get to the destination in the actual 4-dimensional journey. The bardo teachings are our map. This was given to us out of the great kindess of Guru Rinpoche, and it has been elaborated on by other great masters who actually do remember their bardo experiences, just like great practitioners can remain completely aware through the stages of deep-sleep and dreaming, and recall it all, whereas most ordinary people can not. Ray is saying this is not true, that no one knows this information, or recalls it. This explicitly contradicts his own Tsawai Lama, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who in his commentary on the Bardo Thodol states:
"How do we know that these things actually happen to people who are dying? Has anyone come back from the grave and told us the experiences they went through? Those impressions are so strong that someone recently born should have memories of the period between death and birth; but then as we grow up we are indoctrinated by our parents and society, and we put ourselves into a different framework, so that the original deep impressions become faded except for occasional sudden glimpses.
. . . There is the conflict between body and consciousness, and there is the continual experiences of death and birth. There is also the experience of the bardo of dharmata, the luminosity, and of the bardo of becoming, of possible future parents or grounding situations. We also have the visions of wrathful and peaceful divinities, which are happening constantly, at this very moment. If we are open and realistic enough to look at it this way, then the actual experience of death and the bardo state will not be either purely a myth or an extraordinary shock, because we have already worked with it and become familiar with the whole thing