Death has been very much on my mind this year as someone I love has been struggling with life's challenges and talking about suicide. I've come to realize that my solutions are not his solutions and that I have to respect his choices and decisions. It's time for me to honor what a blessing he has been in my life and to let go. Ram Dass says "We're all just walking each other home". I think my part of the walk is over.
Bardo is the second piece in my Soul Ancestors series.
The Tibetan word "bardo" means "intermediate state" or "transitional state". It refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena.
These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's previous unskilled actions.
For the prepared and appropriately trained individuals the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality, while for others it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth.
There are six traditional bardo states in Tibetan Buddhism:
- Kyenay Bardo - is the first bardo of birth and life which commences from conception until the last breath.
- Milam Bardo - is the second bardo of the dream state and is a subset of the first Bardo.
- Samten Bardo - is the third bardo of meditation.
- Chikhai Bardo - is the fourth bardo of the moment of death.
- Chonyi Bardo - is the fifth bardo of the luminosity of the true nature.
- Sidpa Bardo - is the sixth bardo of becoming or transmigration.