What is essential, you can see, is to realize now, in life,

when we still have a body, that its apparent, so convincing

solidity is a mere illusion. The most powerful way to realize

this is to learn how, after meditation, to "become a child of

illusion": to refrain from solidifying, as we are always tempted

to do, the perceptions of ourselves and our world; and to go

on, like the "child of illusion," seeing directly, as we do in

meditation, that all phenomena are illusory and dream like.

The deepening perception of the body's illusory nature is one

of the most profound and inspiring realizations we can have

to help us to let go.

Inspired by and armed with this knowledge, when we are

faced at death with the fact that our body is an illusion, we

will be able to recognize its illusory nature without fear, to

calmly free ourselves from all attachment to it, and to leave it

behind willingly, even gratefully and joyfully, knowing it now

for what it is. In fact, you could say, we will be able, really

and completely, to die when we die, and so achieve ultimate


Think, then, of the moment of death as a strange border

zone of the mind, a no-man's land in which on the one hand,

if we do not understand the illusory nature of our body, we

might suffer vast emotional trauma as we lose it; and on the

other hand, we are presented with the possibility of limitless

freedom, a freedom that springs precisely from the absence of

that very same body.

When we are at last freed from the body that has defined

and dominated our understanding of ourselves for so long, the

karmic vision of one life is completely exhausted, but any

karma that might be created in the future has not yet begun

to crystallize. So what happens in death is that there is a

"gap" or space that is fertile with vast possibility; it is a

moment of tremendous, pregnant power where the only thing

that matters, or could matter, is how exactly our mind is.

Stripped of a physical body, mind stands naked, revealed

startlingly for what it has always been: the architect of our


So if, at the moment of death, we have already a stable

realization of the nature of mind, in one instant we can purify

all our karma. And if we continue that stable recognition, we

will actually be able to end our karma altogether, by entering

the expanse of the primordial purity of the nature of mind,

and attaining liberation. Padmasambhava explained this:

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