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Apr '09

bardo bard

bardo_thodol source
no fooling when dealing with life after death
the plausible answer is different depending on your beliefs and faith
what is significance of prayers on 49th day after demise lurked
why google, to quench curiosity perked

first captivating hit was tibetan book of the dead “bardo thodol” video, a 45-minute clip
explaining view of what happens to one after life on earth flip’d
3-phase “bardo” representing 3 “liberation” chances, the soul energy could traverse
rooted in buddhist karmic principles terse
by recognizing the heavenly realms, we can attain nirvana pureland dew
instead of entering into the lower realms where the cycle of birth and rebirth continue

the 1st bardo comes at the very moment of death, entering the “clear light of the ultimate reality”
aka “whitelight” phase and first chance determination if one can be liberated eternally
if he can recognize signs of “supreme state” at the moment of death, he will attain liberation
alas, few make it to remain in the Clear Light forever – “dharmakaya” condition

the un-liberated will then descend into the 2nd bardo – two weeks of labyrinth romps
encountering deities of sorts – peaceful, knowledge-holding, wrathful demons – God in various forms
if his life on earth was well lived, he will now be in a state of purity and grace
entering into the joy of the God, attaining liberation, a heavenly place
if on the other hand he has lived an ignoble and impious life
the effects of his bad karma will launch him to next bardo, a 3rd degree liberation to strive

in the 3rd bardo, the soul encounters the Lord of death
a fearsome demonic deity appearing in smoke and fire, subjecting the soul to a judgment fate
if the dead person protests that he has done no evil
et voila, the Lord of death holds up before him the incriminating karma mirror

’tis wise to follow bardo thodol’s instructions
recognize the voidness of all these beings, mere mindplay projections
for in so doing, he can attain liberation
otherwise, the un-liberated soul will now be drawn toward rebirth, to his consternation

the lights of the 6 “lokas” will dawn again; into one of these worlds the soul must be born,
and the light of the one he is destined for, will more brightly than the others be shone
the still terrifed soul cowers, seeking shelter in what appear to be caves or hiding-places
but which are actually womb entrances
bardo thodol warns and urges him not to enter them birth trenches
if he un-attaches from worldly pleasures and meditates upon the Clear Light instead
it’s still possible to achieve the third degree of liberation and avoid rebirth stead

journeying through 3 bardos takes 49 days it seems
either enter cycle of laborious painful earthly life to “get it right” or eternal heaven gleams
now i have context for the 49-days prayer ritual, what it means

we received positive validation and vibes that pure heart got liberated, made it to pureland
from rental car being upgraded from hyundai, a toyota instead to land

then chuck got relieved from kaiser command center watch and enjoyed hotel room upgraded to suite
parking spot unbeknowst in front of burning of prayer scroll site and our last supper restaurant were super sweet

on morning before heading to airport, banking matters taken care of, sans plight
but thereafter, somehow we missed exit to airport to catch sfo flight
which created nice hurried confusion at counter, voila – our seats got promoted from near loo to first class delight
thank U, heavenly Lord for the mighty gracious oversight

60px-tenzin_gyatzo_foto_1 source wiki

if we wish to die well
we must learn to live well
– a dalai lama wisdom swell

so pray tell
what do we make of heaven and hell?
for how doth a finite mind
understand the Infinite kind

thanks to chuck pointing me to basic buddhist tenets in poem form
from the last book of sir edwin arnold’s “the light of asia” –  a tidbit ramrom
180px-edwinarnold source wiki
measure not with words the immeasurable
nor sink the string of thought into the fathomless
who asks doth err
who answers errs,  say nought!


4 Responses to “bardo bard”

  1. Chuck Chan Says:

    Dear Shirley,

    You indeed have a unique gift of writing. You catch on so quickly to the essence a concept. Share the story with Dave and Mike. They’ll love it.

  2. Mike Chan Says:

    Well written interpretation of the 49days. everyday is a learning journey for us. keep it coming, shirl!

  3. Melanie Says:


    I very much enjoyed reading “bardo bard” and learning about the 49 days. My condolences on the death of your mother.

    Best wishes,

  4. Shirley Says:

    Thanks Melanie. Looking forward to our noshing soon…