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

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

THE PROCESS OF DYING 253The "essences" are contained within the channels. There arered and white essences. The principal seat of the white essenceis the crown of the head, and of the red essence at the navel.In advanced yoga practice, this system is visualized veryprecisely by a yogin. By causing the winds to enter and dissolvein the central channel through the force of meditation, apractitioner can have a direct realization of the luminosity or"Clear Light" of the nature of mind. This is made possible bythe fact that the consciousness is mounted on the wind. So bydirecting his or her mind to any particular point in the body, apractitioner can bring the winds there. In this way the yogin isimitating what happens at death: when the knots in the channelsare released, the winds flow into the central channel, andenlightenment is momentarily experienced.Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche tells the story of a retreat masterat a monastery in Kham, who was close to his elder brothers.This master had perfected the yoga practice of channels,winds, and essences. One day he asked his attendant: "I amgoing to die now, so would you please look in the calendarfor an auspicious date." The attendant was stunned, but didnot dare contradict his master. He looked in the calendar andtold him that the following Monday was a day when all thestars were auspicious. The master then said: "Monday isthree days away. Well, I think I can make it." When hisattendant came back into his room a few moments later, hefound the master sitting upright in yogic meditation posture,so still that it looked as though he had passed away. Therewas no breathing, but a faint pulse was perceptible. Hedecided not to do anything, but to wait. At noon he suddenlyheard a deep exhalation, and the master returned tohis normal condition, talked with his attendant in a joyfulmood, and asked for his lunch, which he ate with relish. Hehad been holding his breath for the whole of the morningsession of meditation. The reason he did this is that our lifespanis counted as a finite number of breaths, and the master,knowing he was near the end of these, held his breathso that the final number would not be reached till the auspiciousday. Just after lunch, the master took a deep breath inagain, and held it until the evening. He did the same thenext day, and the day after. When Monday came, he asked:"Is today the auspicious day?" "Yes" replied the attendant."Fine, I shall go today," concluded the master. And that day,without any visible illness or difficulty, the master passedaway in his meditation.

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