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

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

280 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGadvanced practice of luminosity, Tögal, can the true significanceof the bardo of dharmata be in any real sense understood.The bardo of dharmata, then, figures with far lessprominence in other cycles of teachings on death in theTibetan tradition. Even in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, whichalso belongs to the Dzogchen teachings, the sequence of thesefour phases is only implicit, as if slightly hidden, and does notappear there in such a clear and ordered structure.I must stress, however, that all words could possibly do isgive some conceptual picture of what might happen in thebardo of dharmata. The appearances of this bardo will remainjust conceptual images until the practitioner has perfected theTögal practice, when each detail of the description I am aboutto give becomes an undeniable personal experience. What Iam trying to give you here is some sense that such a marvelousand amazing dimension could exist, and to completemy description of the whole of the bardos. I also profoundlyhope that this complete description could act perhaps as somekind of reminder when you go through the process of death.1. Luminosity—The Landscape of LightIn the bardo of dharmata, you take on a body of light. Thefirst phase of this bardo is when "space dissolves into luminosity":Suddenly you become aware of a flowing vibrant world ofsound, light, and color. All the ordinary features of our familiarenvironment have melted into an all-pervasive landscape oflight. This is brilliantly clear and radiant, transparent and multicolored,unlimited by any kind of dimension or direction,shimmering and constantly in motion. The Tibetan Book of theDead calls it "like a mirage on a plain in the heat of summer."Its colors are the natural expression of the intrinsic elementalqualities of the mind: space is perceived as blue light, water aswhite, earth as yellow, fire as red, and wind as green.How stable these dazzling appearances of light are in thebardo of dharmata depends entirely upon what stability youhave managed to attain in Tögal practice. Only a real masteryof this practice will enable you to stabilize the experience andso use it to gain liberation. Otherwise the bardo of dharmatawill simply flash by like a bolt of lightning; you will not evenknow that it has occurred. Let me stress again that only apractitioner of Tögal will be able to make the all-importantrecognition: that these radiant manifestations of light have noexistence separate from the nature of mind.

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