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

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

324 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGBede goes on:This was the account he used to give of his experience: "A handsomeman in a shining robe was my guide, and we walked insilence in what appeared to be a northeasterly direction. As we traveledonward, we came to a very broad and deep valley of infinitelength... He soon brought me out of darkness into an atmosphereof clear light, and as he led me forward in bright light, I saw beforeus a tremendous wall which seemed to be of infinite length andheight in all directions. As I could see no gate, window, or entrancein it, I began to wonder why we went up to the wall. But when wereached it, all at once—/ know not by what means—we were ontop of it Within lay a very broad and pleasant meadow... Suchwas the light flooding all this place that it seemed greater than thebrightness of daylight or of the sun's rays at noon..."(The guide said) 'You must now return to your body and liveamong men once more; but, if you will weigh your actions withgreater care and study to keep your words and ways virtuous andsimple, then when you die, you too will win a home among thesehappy spirits that you see. For, when I left you for a while, I didso in order to discover what your future would be.' When he toldme this I was most reluctant to return to my body; for I wasentranced by the pleasantness and beauty of the place I could seeand the company I saw there. But I did not dare to question myguide, and meanwhile, I know not how, I suddenly found myselfalive among men once more."Bede ends his account with these words:This man of God would not discuss these and other things he hadseen with any apathetic or careless-living people, but only withthose who were ... willing to take his words to heart and grow inholiness. 1The skill of modern medical technology has added a newand exciting dimension to the extent of the near-death experience;many people have now been revived from "death," forexample, after accidents, heart attack, or serious illness, or inoperations or combat. The near-death experience has been thesubject of a great deal of scientific research and philosophicalspeculation. According to an authoritative 1982 Gallup poll, anextraordinary number of Americans—up to 8 million, or onein twenty in the population—have had at least one near-deathexperience. 2

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