BARDO: THE TIBETAN VIEW OF PERFECT LIFE & DEATH
THREE DAYS WITH LAMA GESHE YONG DONG
“The Book of Natural Liberation through Hearing” (Tibetan Book of the Dead) suggests methods of preparation for death while we are still living. The main preparation is the development of a clear picture of what to expect! Whatever your religion or beliefs, there are countless books and information on what the afterlife; heaven; or nirvana will be like. Who will guide you there; who will meet you there; the sounds, the lights, the smells, the sights?
This weekend retreat will focus on discovering the Tibetan view of the Bardo.
Our lives are filled with beginnings and endings - as each moment passes, a new one appears to take its place. Nothing stands still. What happens during the process of change is a state called “the transitional phase”, which in Tibetan is called the “Bardo”. It is the actual moment of change occurring at the end of one phase and the beginning of the next - it is a condition of great power and potential within which anything could happen - it is a moment of great opportunity for those who perceive it.
In the Zhang Zhung Nyan-gyud tradition, there are three Bardo states:
Natural State (ka dag bon sku)
Clear Light (bon nyid ‘od gsal gyi)
Becoming (pha rol srid pa’i)
The Bardo generally refers to the time in-between the separation of our mind or consciousness from our present physical body, to the time the consciousness enters the mother’s womb for re-birth.
All Tibetan traditions teach:
(1) that there are three main Bardo states;
(2) that all sentient beings will experience the Bardo; and finally,
(3) that the different Bardo states will arise consecutively.
In the Zhang Zhung Nyan-gyud tradition, the three Bardo states are:
The First Bardo, the Bardo of the Natural State (ka dag bon sku)
A state of mind that is like being unconscious, blank and empty is experienced by all beings with the separation of their elements and consciousness. All living sentient beings possess the state of natural or primordial mind and upon death of the physical body; all beings enter into the natural state of mind.
The Second Bardo, the Bardo of Clear Light (bon nyid ‘od gsal gyi)
Unlike the first Bardo that is completely void, in the second Bardo there is clarity. There is movement of consciousness energy which produces visions. The second Bardo has three qualities of sound, light and rays. The sound is our speech, the light is our mind and the rays are our body.
The Third Bardo is the Bardo of Becoming, the next life (pha rol srid pa’i). It is the intermediate state between life and death before taking rebirth in one of the six realms of Samsara. The condition is the same as in dreams – we have feelings and see everything perfectly, but nothing is stable; things are always moving and no matter what comes into this beings thinking, he cannot stop it.
An ordinary dying person experiences a series of overwhelming visions and sensations which they perceive as coming from outside. These experiences can bring great suffering and fear.
The situation is quite different for an experienced practitioner who has prepared and has some knowledge or skills gained through being involved or exposed. They will be able to recognize the Bardo states and, depending on individual capacity and experience, it is possible to reach enlightenment or the complete realization of mind, in the first, second or the third Bardo.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead is primarily concerned with methods that enable people to pass skillfully through the process of death without fear of the many experiences that will be encountered; however, the book is addressed as much to the living as to the dead and dying. It is implicitly a book about life. It is a book about how to live, as well as book about how to die.
This weekend, GesheLa will guide and help participants to create a clearer picture of what to expect in each of the three Bardos. Through mindfulness & meditation practices on each Bardo, we can begin to take control over our lives and our fears, now and for the future.
Friday March 10 , 2023 from 6 pm to 9 pm
Saturday & Sunday, March 11 & 12 from 1 pm to 5 pm
$350 + gst
Lama Geshe YongDong
Geshe YongDong is a Tibetan Lama (spiritual teacher) and master of meditation. He was born in Tibet and studied Tibetan Bon Buddhism for over eleven years. He became a Geshe (Doctor of Divinity) at the largest Bon Monastery in Tibet in 1992. He has received teachings and empowerments from the great spiritual leaders H.H. The Dalai Lama, H.H. Menri Trizin, and many other respected masters. He has been teaching in many centres and universities around the world for over twenty years. He is the Founder and spiritual director of Sherab Chamma Ling in Courtenay BC the only Tibetan Bon Buddhism Centre in Canada. He has also founded Bon Da Ling in Costa Rica. He is Vice President of the International Tibetan Non-sectarian Buddhism Organization and has published several books both in Tibetan and English.