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

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

EIGHTEENThe Bardo of BecomingTHE EXPERIENCE OF DEATH, for most people, willsimply mean passing into a state of oblivion at the end of theprocess of dying. The three stages of the inner dissolution canbe as quick, it is sometimes said, as three snaps of a finger.The white and red essences of father and mother meet at theheart, and the black experience called "full attainment" arises.The Ground Luminosity dawns, but we fail to recognize itand we faint into unconsciousness.As I have said, this is the first failure to recognize, or stageof ignorance, called Ma Rigpa in Tibetan, the opposite ofRigpa. This marks the beginning in us of another cycle of samsara,which was interrupted for an instant at the moment ofdeath. The bardo of dharmata then occurs, and it simplyflashes past, unrecognized. This is the second failure of recognition,a second stage of ignorance, Ma Rigpa.The first thing that we are aware of is "as if the sky andearth were separating again": We suddenly awaken into theintermediate state that lies between death and a new rebirth.This is called the bardo of becoming, the sipa bardo, and is thethird bardo of death.With our failure to recognize the Ground Luminosity andour failure to recognize the bardo of dharmata, the seeds of allour habitual tendencies are activated and reawakened. Thebardo of becoming spans the time between their reawakeningand our entering the womb of the next life.The word sipa in sipa bardo, which is translated as "becoming,"also means "possibility" and "existence." In the sipabardo, as the mind is no longer limited and obstructed by thephysical body of this world, the "possibilities" are infinite for"becoming" reborn in different realms. And this bardo has theouter "existence" of the mental body and the inner "existence"of the mind.291

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