The Tightrope Walker: Bardo 4, The Bardo of the Moment Before Death

Bardo Realm Four, or the Bardo of the moment before death, is the briefest of all the Bardo stages and yet, for most people, it’s also the most terrifying. All of one’s past-lives flashes before the mind’s eye—all of them beckoning (like Captain Ahab strapped and impaled to the humped white-back of Moby Dick) to enter another womb of becoming. For those who have recognized Pure Mind and have practiced long and hard (like the previous journey in our presentation of Bardo 3) will be empowered (through the Awareness Principle now in league with the family of all Buddhas) to recognize, with absolute Lucid-Certainty, the Luminosity of the impending-opening of the Dharmakayic Shore of Deathlessness. The Tibetans refer to this as “Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo”; for a Lankavatarian, of course, this “hearing” refers to what we encountered in Bardo 3 as Dhammasota, or becoming fully immersed in the Deathless Sound of the Tathagatakaya. That’s why it’s so critical to train the mind thoroughly in Deep Samadhis before this Bardo of the moment before death arrives. If Bardo Stage 3 has been neglected, then there is very little chance of becoming united with the Luminous Light of the Dharmakaya in the preliminary entrance in the Bardo of the Dharmatā. Hence, One’s spirit will be forced to endure the agonizing trials that are awaiting in the Bardo of Rebecoming. Even if one, in the final pages of life, were to suffer from debilitating neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, it would make no difference for the Transcendent-Mind that has been transfigured into the Diamond-Mind-Body in Bardo 3; meaning that the carnal “brain” and its diseased phenomenal outflows are just a natural outcome of the rotting skandhic-material corpse in samsara. This was all about Real-Mind-Praxis and the inevitable coming-end in this Bardo of the final moments before death will appear as just the stage of Final Release for Such a Mind. The following is a little cautionary tale that captures the “balancing act” that signifies this particular Bardo Realm; it’s a nice reflection revolving around Buddha Vairocana and a Tozen Teaching from long ago…

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