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

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

112 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGthat occurs for everyone, but there are very few who caneven notice it, let alone experience it completely, as it canonly be recognized by a trained practitioner. This bardo ofdharmata corresponds to the period after falling asleep andbefore dreams begin.Of course the bardos of death are much deeper states ofconsciousness than the sleep and dream states, and far morepowerful moments, but their relative levels of subtlety correspondand show the kind of links and parallels that existbetween all the different levels of consciousness. Masters oftenuse this particular comparison to show just how difficult it isto maintain awareness during the bardo states. How many ofus are aware of the change in consciousness when we fallasleep? Or of the moment of sleep before dreams begin? Howmany of us are aware even when we dream that we aredreaming? Imagine, then, how difficult it will be to remainaware during the turmoil of the bardos of death.How your mind is in the sleep and dream state indicateshow your mind will be in the corresponding bardo states; forexample, the way in which you react to dreams, nightmares,and difficulties now shows how you might react after you die.This is why the yoga of sleep and dream plays such animportant part in the preparation for death. What a real practitionerseeks to do is to keep, unfailing and unbroken, his orher awareness of the nature of mind throughout day andnight, and so use directly the different phases of sleep anddream to recognize and become familiar with what will happenin the bardos during and after death.So we find two other bardos often included within the naturalbardo of this life: the bardo of sleep and dream, and thebardo of meditation. Meditation is the practice of the daytime,and sleep and dream yoga the practices of the night. In the traditionto which the Tibetan Book of the Dead belongs, these twoare added to the Four Bardos to make a series of Six Bardos.LIFE AND DEATH IN THE PALM OF THEIR HANDEach of the bardos has its own unique set of instructionsand meditation practices, which are directed precisely to thoserealities and their particular states of mind. This is how thespiritual practices and training designed for each of the bardostates can enable us to make the fullest possible use of themand of their opportunities for liberation. The essential point to

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