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

realjannaweiss

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

THE NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE: A STAIRCASE TO HEAVEN? 335

found herself out of her body, and saw a pig's corpse lying on

her bed, wearing her clothes. Frantically she tried in vain to

communicate with her family, as they set about the business

of the practices for her death. She grew furious with them

when they took no notice of her and did not give her her

plate of food. When her children wept, she felt a "hail of pus

and blood" fall, which caused her intense pain. She tells us she

felt joy each time the practices were done, and immeasurable

happiness when finally she came before the master who was

practicing for her and who was resting in the nature of mind,

and her mind and his became one.

After a while she heard someone whom she thought was

her father calling to her, and she followed him. She arrived in

the bardo realm, which appeared to her like a country. From

there, she tells us, there was a bridge that led to the hell

realms, and to where the Lord of Death was counting the

good or evil actions of the dead. In this realm she met various

people who recounted their stories, and she saw a great yogin

who had come into the hell realms in order to liberate beings.

Finally Lingza Chökyi was sent back to the world, as there

had been an error concerning her name and family, and it was

not yet her time to die. With the message from the Lord of

Death to the living, she returned to her body and recovered,

and spent the rest of her life telling of what she had learned.

The phenomenon of the délok was not simply a historical

one; it continued up until very recently in Tibet. Sometimes a

délok would leave the body for about a week, and meet

people who had died, sometimes quite unknown to the délok,

who would give messages for their living relatives and ask

these relatives to do certain kinds of practices on their behalf.

The délok would then return to his or her body and deliver

their messages. In Tibet this was an accepted occurrence, and

elaborate methods were devised for detecting whether déloks

were fraudulent or not. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche's daughter

told Frangoise Pommaret, author of a book on the déloks, that

in Tibet, while the délok was undergoing his or her experience,

the orifices of the body were stopped with butter, and a

paste made from barley flour put over the face. 36 If the butter

did not run and the mask did not crack, the délok was recognized

as authentic.

The tradition of déloks continues in the Tibetan Himalayan

regions today. These déloks are quite ordinary people, often

women, who are very devoted and have great faith. They

"die" on special days in the Buddhist calendar, for a number of

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines