instinctively. The teachings warn us that at this point there is

a great danger that out of your avid eagerness to be reborn,

you will rush to any place at all that seems to offer some

security. If your desire is frustrated, the anger that arises will

of itself bring the bardo abruptly to an end, as you are swept

into your next rebirth by the current of that negative emotion.

And so, as you can see, your future rebirth is directly determined

by desire, anger, and ignorance.

Imagine that you run toward a place of refuge, simply to

escape the onslaught of the bardo experiences. Then, terrified

to leave, you might become attached and take on a new birth,

no matter where, just in order to have one. You might even,

the Tibetan Book of the Dead explains, become confused and

mistake a good birthplace for a bad one, or a bad one for a

good one. Or hear the voices of your loved ones calling you,

or seductive singing, and follow these, only to find yourself

being lured down into the lower realms.

You must take great care not to enter blindly into one of

these undesirable realms. Yet what is wonderful is that the

instant you become aware of what is happening to you, you

can actually begin to influence and change your destiny.

Swept along by the wind of karma, you will then arrive at a

place where your future parents are making love. Seeing them,

you become emotionally drawn in; and because of past karmic

connections, you begin spontaneously to feel strong attachment

or aversion. Attraction and desire for the mother and aversion

or jealousy for the father will result in your being bom as a

male child, and the reverse a female. 8 But if you succumb to

such strong passions, not only will you be reborn, but that very

emotion may draw you into birth in a lower realm.

Is there anything now that we can do to avoid being reborn

or to direct our next rebirth? The bardo teachings give two

specific kinds of instructions: methods for preventing a rebirth,

or failing that, for choosing a good birth. First are the guidelines

for closing the entrance to another birth:

The best method is to abandon the emotions such as

desire, anger, or jealousy, and recognize that none of these

bardo experiences have any ultimate reality. If you can realize

this and then rest the mind in its true, empty nature, this in

itself will prevent rebirth. The Tibetan Book of the Dead here

warns us:

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