The outstanding feature of the bardo of becoming is that

mind takes on the predominant role, whereas the bardo of

dharmata unfolded within the realm of Rigpa. So, in the bardo

of dharmata we have a body of light, and in the bardo of

becoming we have a mental body.

In the bardo of becoming the mind is endowed with

immense clarity and unlimited mobility, yet the direction in

which it moves is determined solely by the habitual tendencies

of our past karma. So it is called the "karmic" bardo of

becoming, because as Kalu Rinpoche says: "It is an entirely

automatic or blind result of our previous actions or karma, and

nothing that occurs here is a conscious decision on the part of

the being; we are simply buffeted around by the force of

karma." 1

At this point the mind has arrived at the next stage in its

process of gradual unfolding: out of its purest state—the

Ground Luminosity—through its light and energy—the appearances

of the bardo of dharmata—and so into the yet grosser

manifestation of a mental form in the bardo of becoming.

What takes place now at this stage is a reverse process of dissolution:

the winds reappear, and along with them come the

thought states connected with ignorance, desire, and anger.

Then, because the memory of our past karmic body is still

fresh in our mind, we take on a "mental body."


Our mental body in the bardo of becoming has a number

of special characteristics. It possesses all its senses. It is

extremely light, lucid, and mobile, and its awareness is said to

be seven times clearer than in life. It is also endowed with a

rudimentary kind of clairvoyance, which is not under conscious

control, but gives the mental body the ability to read

others' minds.

At first this mental body will have a form similar to the

body of the life just lived, yet it is without any defects and in

the prime of life. Even if you were handicapped or sick in this

life, you will have a perfect mental body in the bardo of


One of the ancient teachings of Dzogchen tells us that the

mental body is about the size of a child of eight to ten years


Because of the force of conceptual thinking, also known as

"the karmic wind," the mental body is unable to remain still,

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