"As the music or the tape of the teaching goes on playing,

drift off to sleep in it, wake up in it, doze in it, eat in it. . .

Let the atmosphere of practice totally pervade this last part of

your life, just as my aunt Ani Rilu did. Do nothing but practice,

so that it even continues in your dreams. And just as she

did, let the practice be the last and strongest memory and

influence on your mind, replacing in your mindstream a lifetime's

ordinary habits.

'And as you feel yourself nearing the end, think only of

Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, with every breath and heartbeat.

Whatever thought you die with, remember, is the one that

will return most potently when you reawaken in the bardos

after death."


Now that the bardo of dying dawns upon me,

I will abandon all grasping, yearning, and attachment,

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.

At present, our body is undoubtedly the center of our

whole universe. We associate it, without thinking, with our

self and our ego, and this thoughtless and false association

continually reinforces our illusion of their inseparable, concrete

existence. Because our body seems so convincingly to exist,

our "I" seems to exist and "you" seem to exist, and the entire

illusory, dualistic world we never stop projecting around us

looks ultimately solid and real. When we die this whole compound

construction falls dramatically to pieces.

What happens, to put it extremely simply, is that consciousness,

at its subtlest level, continues without the body and goes

through the series of states called "bardos." The teachings tell

us that it is precisely because we no longer have a body in the

bardos that there is no ultimate reason to fear any experience,

however terrifying, that may happen to us after death. How

can any harm, after all, ever come to a "nobody"? The problem,

however, is that in the bardos, most people go on grasping

at a false sense of self, with its ghostly grasping at physical

solidity; and this continuation of that illusion, which has been

at the root of all suffering in life, exposes them in death to

more suffering, especially in the "bardo of becoming."

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