Category Archives: The Lankavatarian Book of the Dead

Nunc dimittis: Closing reflection on the Lankavatarian Book of the Dead

Am sitting here awaiting the impending arrival of the mother-of-all storms, being recently christened as the Frankenstorm. Like last year’s nasty punch from Irene, this soon to be “hybrid” (merging with another gigantic weather system approaching from the west) freak of nature promises to bear down on my neck of the woods again—inducing: read more

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Litania: Bardo 6, The Bardo of Re-becoming

Due to an inability to disengage and abrogate the accumulated habit-energies since time immemorial, a lesser-able mind continues the journey through the Bardo of Re-becoming. Still tossed about through the strong currents of karma, the lesser-able one (puthujjana) wanders along totally stupefied as to what is manifesting in this Bardo phase: read more

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Dharmakaya Arising: Bardo 5, The Bardo of Dharmatā

The Tibetan Book of the Dead (all quotes are from the Francesca Fremantle-Chogyam Trungpa Edition) invokes the following supplication when the Bardo (5) of Dharmatā dawns: read more

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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… read more

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Review of Bardo Realm Three

For a Lankavatarian, of all the Bardo (in-between stages of transition from one stage of awareness to another) Stages we’ve encountered in this series, Bardo Three—the realm of meditation and Deep Samadhis—holds the highest significance. The longest of our investigation, it needs to be turned to again and again and its components need to be studied and practiced with the utmost faith and diligence. Why? Because all these Bardo stages are really a Mind Voyage—Mind coming to the full self-realization of Recollecting and returning to its true, Unborn home. There is no other alternative. Trying to maneuver through these dense samsaric planes in any other way is really just a fool’s attempt of running through the mad maze of sentient being-ness that never, ever escapes the karmic wheel. Bardo Realm Three thus strengthens the awareness principle to be able to make the transcendent leap into Dharmakayic ecstasy (at the end of Bardo stage 4) that marks the final end of the long and weary samsaric journeying through lesser mind-fields. As we have seen, it is a full transition from the samsaric-human family to the transcendent Tathatic Family. It is not a game of chance or a lame attempt to “hope one’s way through” the long and dark tunnel that leads to the other side of Deathless Suchness. Such an opportunity may not come again for millions of existences. It is a hard won battle of conquering Mara and his evil henchman, the body consciousness; indeed, this evil Lord of all the six samsaric realms of transitory existence is VERY REAL and he will stop at nothing to keep the awareness principle perpetually entrapped and away from its True and rightful inheritance. read more

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The Great Samādhis: Bardo 3, Yogadhatu & Dharmamegha

Now resting in the Amala-megha (Primal Consciousness) the will is no longer one’s own but Self-Will—yoked with the Great Unborn Tathatic Spirit-Mind, and as such, with the Element of Truth-Realm: Yogadhatu. The Ariyan Mind is now within the Direct-Sphere of Consecration (abhișekāvasthā). It’s like being cloaked in an Omniscient Sphere of Translucent Unborn Light. What is forthcoming is very grand indeed…the entrance and consecration into the ultimate stage, or Dharmamegha (dharma cloud). The Lankavatara Sutra describes this most marvelous mystical transformation: read more

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A Beatific Wonder: Bardo 3, Cittapada; Cittidhatu; Amala vijnana

Trying to find something analogous for these latter stages of Mind Development would prove to be a most audacious undertaking: It’s All indicative of the heart of Suchness …it just IS AT IT IS—with No-thing arising nor cessating. Thomas Aquinas said on his deathbed that all his former prolific theological formulations were as mere “straw” in the face of the Beatific Vision. Mystical language (as procured from Deep Samadhis) is all that can be employed that barely scratches the surface of what Primordial Consciousness IS in ITSELF. read more

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The Mystical Body: Bardo 3, Bodhikaya

The implications of these excursions into the Dhyāna of Deep Samadhis should give a clear and lucid realization as to their True-Import in terms of transcending any form of phenomena that arises within the Bardos—whatever the given Bardo Stage. Being Yoked (Eternally-bonded) with the Tathata-Family through the very seed-base of the Buddhas themselves, neither life nor death has any further significance for those who have crossed (parinirvana) to the other shore of Suchness. The sting of death no longer has any consequence for such a Mind. It’s all a matter now of training the Mind to gradually let-go (through the High-Gnosis of these Dhyāna techniques) of the Rūpakaya. Yet, there is still much Self-Revelatory work to be done until receiving Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. The Ariyan Mind is far from complete in itself. It does not make this transformative journey alone on its own power. There are still higher stages that need to be met, like becoming fully-initiated into this Buddhaic-Mind-Family, before final severance with the Karmadhatu can occur. read more

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Noble Wisdom’s Child: Bardo 3, Bodhidhatu

The 12th century Saint and Rhineland Mystic, Hildegard von Bingen—also known as Sybil of the Rhine, once reflected on the nature of Noble Wisdom: read more

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The Stream-enterer: Bardo 3, Mahabodhicitta

As our study of these Bardo Stages progresses, certain parallels can be drawn with Dante’s Divina Commedia: The Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. His momentous and Epic Poem is indeed like a journey through bardo stages that hopefully will culminate in ultimate union with the Absolute. Along the road to the summit atop Mount Paradiso, though, one is in need of much purgation—a thorough cleansing of the karmic kleśas that prevent perfect clarity of the Lucid moment when Luminous Union occurs with the Dharmakaya in the Bardo of Dhamatā. Put quite simply, the seeds of the Alaya-receptacle need to be allayed. Otherwise rebirth in the karmadhatu of Samsara is inevitable. For instance, Dante’s Inferno describes what it’s like when residual karmic-actions are allowed to flow unchecked within the stream of the Body Consciousness. It vividly portrays what a spirit goes through when consigned to the foul and darkened bowels of the Hell Regions—the lowest of the six realms of samsaric existence. These unhappy denizens are suffering the consequences of their diseased and much aggrieved karmic misdeeds. They have to endure the seeds of retribution. Their painful and karmically-allotted punishments are heavy-material ones—as weighed through the residual actions accumulated through untold Alayic-connections that permeate their own polluted stream of consciousness. Consequently, they are tormented by demons actually created from the residual-material pool of this damnable stream. The only way to transcend this hellish position is to thoroughly transcend this polluted mind stream of the alayavijñāna. A Purer-Stream of Consciousness is the only salvation. read more

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