The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

INTRINSIC RADIANCE 283

to the experiences of the bardo of dharmata. These are not

solar days of twenty-four hours, because in the sphere of

dharmata we have gone completely beyond all limits such as

time and space. These days are "meditation days," and refer to

the length of time we have been able to rest undistracted in

the nature of mind, or in one single state of mind. With no

stability in meditation practice, these days could be minutely

short, and the appearance of the peaceful and wrathful deities

so fleeting that we cannot even register they have arisen.

UNDERSTANDING DHARMATA

Now when the bardo of dharmata dawns upon me,

I will abandon all fear and terror,

I will recognize whatever appears as the display of my own Rigpa,

And know it to be the natural appearance of this bardo;

Now that I have reached this crucial point,

I will not fear the peaceful and wrathful deities, that arise from the

nature of my very own mind.

The key to understanding this bardo is that all the experiences

that take place in it are the natural radiance of the

nature of our mind. What is happening is that different aspects

of its enlightened energy are being released. Just as the dancing

rainbows of light scattered by a crystal are its natural display,

so too the dazzling appearances of dharmata cannot be

separated from the nature of mind. They are its spontaneous

expression. So however terrifying the appearances may be, says

the Tibetan Book of the Dead, they have no more claim on your

fear than a stuffed lion.

Strictly speaking, however, it would be wrong to call these

appearances "visions" or even "experiences," because vision

and experience depend upon a dualistic relationship between a

perceiver and something perceived. If we can recognize the

appearances of the bardo of dharmata as the wisdom energy

of our very own mind, there is no difference between perceiver

and perceived, and this is an experience of non-duality.

To enter into that experience completely is to attain liberation.

For, as Kalu Rinpoche says, "Liberation arises at that moment

in the after-death state when consciousness can realize its

experiences to be nothing other than mind itself." 2

However, now that we are no longer grounded or shielded

by a physical body or world, the energies of the nature of

mind released in the bardo state can look overwhelmingly real,

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