Thursday, February 9, 2012
Bardo Clear Light Tenabah c2012
Parallel posted on Facebook and replicated here:
When a sentient being ejects his or her consciousness from the body, whether the ejection is through skilled clear intention (phowa) or through passive allowance, he or she meets a radiant clear light. This radiant energy permeates the universe of form, everything arises from this energy, abides in this energy, returns to this energy, and is an expression of this energy. It appears for three days after ejection. If a sentient being recognizes this radiant energy as his or her home, her true identity, and abides there, then such a being can rest there and integrate this state. If the being tries to grasp and hold on to the bliss, then he or she spirals downward vibrationally, entering the realm of the peaceful guides, who try to help the being return back home. Failing this, the sentient being spirals downward to the wrathful guides who confront the being with his or her issues, reflecting them back so that he or she can return back home. Failing this, the sentient being enters the realm of the "fifty two peaceful and forty eight wrathful guides" (the realm of the psychotherapists who navigate the complexities of the ego to unravel the knots of confusion) in order to help this being back home. Failing this, the sentient being enters the "subbardo of seeking rebirth", sees a landscape appear with spinning vortexes of light where lovers are in deep communion with each other and are creating a place of entry into a world. The being is propelled by a vibrational karma that is essentially "like attracts like", pulling him or her into a rebirth situation. Intermediate beings are admonished to "turn toward the light" to halt the karmaic momentum that is propelling him or her to rebirth. Failing this, the being is admonished to seek rebirth in a family where the dharma is strong, then failing this to seek rebirth in a family that is healthy and prosperous, and then failing this to seek a birth in the human realm...
"So each of us in this human form failed all the way to the human realm?"
Most humans are not really trying to go for the highest rebirth possible in the bardo and just go where ever their karma leads them. It usually does lead back to the human realm in a rebirth much like the last one that they had. Karma is mainly repetition. If a person improves a little each lifetime, it gets better and better with each rebirth. A person can also "work hard" to get an inferior rebirth by not listening to the voice of conscience. Usually a person does not get a worse rebirth unless they ignore their conscience when it is screaming at them. But sometimes people do dull this voice and it cannot warn them. Unfortunately, a lot of addictions function in this manner.
In the Bardo Thodol, whose title translates as "Liberation through Hearing", there is the intention of supporting a "conscious crossing" to use the bardo to reach the highest state possible by the opportunity that presents itself at the time of death (ejection). From this viewpoint, a person can "fail" to reach and sustain those highest levels. But according to the teaching, every effort that one makes has a positive effect. Even if you reach and touch those states for some moments it creates some good karma that helps the human rebirth be better, happier, more loving, clearer, more creative, and wiser. Those moments become resources stored in the subconscious mind (the alaya vijnana) that can still pull a person upwards through the choices and challenges of "the bardo of ordinary life".
According to one of the Ksitigarba Sutras, there is more than one power that determines rebirth, there is "majestic power" and "karmaic power". The latter feels like an undertow that pulls one into and through experiences. The former feels like a conscious choice, motivated by compassion, viewed by the wisdom of knowing the consequences the choice will make, and with the support of skillful means (creativity) manifesting as "dharma power". It is a power that grows through practice and effort. It feels like free choice, a concentration on a pure loving thought which has the faith and confidence to naturally manifest itself, because no opposing thought rises from the subconscious mind to block it or bend it. Many higher beings choose to incarnate out of compassion for this world, to help elevate humankind and the animal worlds, to feed hungry ghosts, and give peace to the tormented souls of demons. These beings do not fail to be reborn in the human realm, but succeed in coming here.
In practice, even if one is choosing to return to the human realm, it is better to still aim for the highest rebirth possible in the bardo. It burns away the most karma, and once one is reborn in those higher realms to then choose to be reborn in the human realm on Earth. This way one will know that one is not here by the force of karma alone.
There is a third path besides aiming, willing, and practicing to attain the highest rebirth possible, or consciously choosing rebirth on Earth to perform loving service. This is to let the blessing power of a gracious Buddha or Dakini simply carry you into the Clear Light and allow you to make your home there. It involves a loving, trustful surrender into their care, especially as the grace fire burns away all the karma that blocks this from manifesting. You "chant through" this process in the faith that these beings will bring you there. It usually involves resolving some trust and control issues to be able to do, hence multiple chants are needed to establish this sincerity. The "sign of accomplishment" is seeing Suhkavati in some lucid dreams, with its beautiful pools of water, the meditators floating in the sky on lotuses, the buildings with no roofs on them because the weather is pleasant there, and where even the birds sing songs about the dharma ("all is transitory, let go, let go"). There are parts of Earth that are like this also, every world of sorrow as some islands of higher consciousness in them. Native Americans often go to these places during vision quests (going to those places is like taking a bardo voyage if approached with the right consciousness).
I am posting this partly as a kind of prep for the Chod Rite, to name the basic environment of practice, since the bardo is not merely something that exists after death, but operates in the background of daily human life, shaping events by synchronicity. During death, one veil is removed, and what is possible to see now is easier to see.