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Buddhadharma : Summer 2007
summer 2007| 26 |buddhadharma The Bardo Teachings The bardo teachings describe six distinct sets of experiences: three that are related to this life and three that are related to experiences of death, after death, and our entrance into the next life. When the six bardos are viewed in full, we see that they encompass the entire spectrum of our experience as conscious beings, both in life and in death. The teachings on the six bardos point out the fundamental continuity of mind through all states of existence. From this perspective, what we call life and death are simply concepts – relative desig- nations that are attributed to a continuous state of being, an indestructible awareness that is birthless and deathless. While impermanence – the constant ebb and flow of appearance and dissolution – char- acterizes all phenomena that we can see, hear, taste, touch, or mentally conceive, this pure, primordial mind endures all transitions and transcends all boundaries created by dualistic thought. Although we may cling to this life and fear its end, beyond death there is mind, and where there is mind there is uninterrupted display: spacious, radiant, and continually manifesting. However, whether this understanding remains merely a comforting idea or becomes a key to accessing deeper levels of knowledge and ultimate freedom depends on us. It is important to see that the bardo teachings are a complete cycle of instructions. This means that if we were to practice only the instructions on the bardo, these instructions by themselves would be sufficient for us to achieve enlightenment in this lifetime. It is crucial that we develop confidence in No Flash Corner #6, 2005 Michael David Murphy