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

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

326 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGcomplete transformation it often makes in the lives, attitudes,careers, and relationships of the people who have this experience.They may not lose their fear of pain and dying, but theylose their fear of death itself; they become more tolerant andloving; and they become interested in spiritual values, the"path of wisdom," and usually in a universal spirituality ratherthan the dogma of any one religion.How, then, should the near-death experience beinterpreted? Some Western writers who have read the TibetanBook of the Dead equate these experiences with the experiencesof the bardos taught in the Tibetan tradition. At first glancethere do seem to be tantalizing parallels between the two, buthow exactly do the details of the near-death experience relateto the teachings on the bardos? I feel that this would require aspecial study beyond the scope of this book, but there are anumber of similarities and differences we can see.THE DARKNESS AND THE TUNNELThe final phase of the dissolution process of the bardo ofdying, you will remember, is when the black experience of"full attainment" dawns "like an empty sky shrouded in utterdarkness." At this point, the teachings speak of a moment ofbliss and joy. One of the main features of the near-death experienceis the impression of moving "at a terrific speed" and"feeling weightless" through a black space, "a total, peaceful,wonderful blackness," and down a "long, dark, tunnel."One woman told Kenneth Ring: "It's just like a void, anothing and it's such a peaceful—it's so pleasant that you cankeep going. It's a complete blackness, there is no sensation atall, there was no feeling ... sort of like a dark tunnel. Just afloating. It's like being in mid-air." 3And another woman told him:The first thing I remember was a tremendous rushing sound, atremendous ... It's hard to find the right words to describe. The closestthing that I could possibly associate it with is, possibly, the soundof a tornado—a tremendous gushing wind, but almost pulling me.And I was being pulled into a narrow point from a wide area. 4A woman told Margot Grey:/ was in what felt like outer space. It was absolutely black out thereand I felt like I was being drawn towards an opening like at the

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