Enter undistracted into clear awareness of the teaching,

And eject my consciousness into the space of unborn Rigpa;

As I leave this compound body of flesh and blood

I will know it to be a transitory illusion.

"Ejecting the consciousness into the space of unborn Rigpa"

refers to the transference of consciousness, the phowa practice,

which is the most commonly used practice for dying, and the

special instruction associated with the bardo of dying. Phowa

is a practice of yoga and meditation that has been used for

centuries to help the dying and to prepare for death. The principle

is that at the moment of death, the practitioner ejects his

or her consciousness and merges it with the wisdom mind of

the Buddha, in what Padmasambhava calls "the space of

unborn Rigpa." This practice can be carried out by the individual,

or effected by a qualified master or good practitioner on

the individual's behalf.

There are many categories of phowa corresponding to the

capacities, experience, and training of different individuals. But

the phowa practice most commonly used is known as the

"phowa of three recognitions": recognition of our central channel 5

as the path; recognition of our consciousness as the traveler; and recognition

of the environment of a buddha realm as the destination.

Ordinary Tibetan people with responsibilities of work and

family are not able to devote all their lives to study and practice,

yet they have tremendous faith and trust in the teachings.

When their children grow up and they approach the end of

their lives—what in the West would be called "retirement"—

Tibetans often go on pilgrimage or meet masters and concentrate

on spiritual practice; frequently they will undertake a

training in phowa to prepare for death. Phowa is often

referred to in the teachings as a method of attaining enlightenment

without a lifelong experience of meditation practice.

In the phowa practice, the central presence invoked is that

of the Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of Limitless Light.

Amitabha enjoys widespread popularity among ordinary people

in China and Japan, as well as in Tibet and the Himalayas. He

is the primordial Buddha of the Lotus or Padma family, which

is the buddha family to which human beings belong; he represents

our pure nature and symbolizes the transmutation of

desire, the predominant emotion of the human realm. More

intrinsically, Amitabha is the limitless, luminous nature of our

mind. At death the true nature of mind will manifest at the

moment of the dawning of the Ground Luminosity, yet not all

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