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

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

116 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGmoment of death, if we do not change. This is why it is soabsolutely important to use this lifetime to purify our mindstream,and so our basic being and character, while we can.KARMIC VISIONHow is it that we come to be alive as human beings? Allbeings who have similar karma will have a common vision ofthe world around them, and this set of perceptions they shareis called "a karmic vision." That close correspondence betweenour karma and the kind of realm in which we find ourselvesalso explains how different forms arise: You and I, for example,are human beings because of the basic common karmathat we share.Yet even within the human realm, all of us have our ownindividual karma. We are bom in different countries, cities, orfamilies; we each have different upbringings, education, influencesand beliefs, and all this conditioning comprises thatkarma. Each one of us is a complex summation of habits andpast actions, and so we cannot but see things in our ownuniquely personal way. Human beings look much the same, butperceive things utterly differently, and we each live in our ownunique and separate individual worlds. As Kalu Rinpoche says:If a hundred people sleep and dream, each of them will experiencea different world in his dream. Everyone's dream might be said tobe true, but it would be meaningless to ascertain that only one person'sdream was the true world and all others were fallacies. Thereis truth for each perceiver according to the karmic patterns conditioninghis perceptions. 2SIX REALMSOur human existence is not the only kind of karmic vision.Six realms of existence are identified in Buddhism: gods,demigods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, and hells. Theyare each the result of one of the six main negative emotions:pride, jealousy, desire, ignorance, greed, and anger.Do these realms actually exist externally? They may, infact, exist beyond the range of the perception of our karmicvision. Let's never forget: What we see is what our karmic visionallows us to see, and no more. Just as we, in the present, unpurified,and unevolved state of our perception, can only be awareof this universe, an insect might see one of our fingers as a

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