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

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

12 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGBecause of the vastness and all-comprehensiveness of thebardo teachings, this book has been carefully structured. Youwill be guided, stage by stage, through the unfolding vision ofthe journey through life and death. Our exploration necessarilybegins with a direct reflection on what death means and themany facets of the truth of impermanence—the kind of reflectionthat can enable us to make rich use of this life while westill have time, and ensure that when we die it will be withoutremorse or self-recrimination at having wasted our lives.As Tibet's famous poet saint, Milarepa, said: "My religion is tolive—and die—without regret."Contemplating deeply on the secret message of impermanence—whatlies in fact beyond impermanence and death—leads directly to the heart of the ancient and powerful Tibetanteachings: the introduction to the essential "nature of mind."Realization of the nature of mind, which you could call ourinnermost essence, that truth we all search for, is the key tounderstanding life and death. For what happens at themoment of death is that the ordinary mind and its delusionsdie, and in that gap the boundless sky-like nature of our mindis uncovered. This essential nature of mind is the backgroundto the whole of life and death, like the sky, which folds thewhole universe in its embrace.The teachings make it clear that if all we know of mind isthe aspect of mind that dissolves when we die, we will be leftwith no idea of what continues, no knowledge of the newdimension of the deeper reality of the nature of mind. So it isvital for us all to familiarize ourselves with the nature of mindwhile we are still alive. Only then will we be prepared whenit reveals itself spontaneously and powerfully at the momentof death; be able to recognize it "as naturally," the teachingssay, "as a child running into its mother's lap"; and by remainingin that state, finally be liberated.A description of the nature of mind leads naturally into acomplete instruction on meditation, for meditation is the onlyway we can repeatedly uncover and gradually realize and stabilizethat nature of mind. An explanation will then be givenof the nature of human evolution, rebirth, and karma, so as toprovide you with the fullest possible meaning and context ofour path through life and death.By this point you will have enough knowledge to be ableto enter confidently the heart of the book: a comprehensiveaccount, drawn from many different sources, of all of the fourbardos and of all of the different stages of death and dying.

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