The Tibetan Book of the dead

Gin Arnold, modified 8 Months ago.

The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/8/20 Recent Posts
I tried to read Padmasambhava's Tibetan Book of the Dead, and found it to be far over my "pay grade". I have recently started Robert Thurman's translation of the same, and find it very interesting. I have never been able to accept a "creator god" be he/she Christain or otherwise, and that is after being a Candidate to the Episcopal Seminary. I have read almost all the work by Carlos Castenada and Don Juan's explanations were for me, clearer. I have been attracted to Buddhism for years but only in the last year have I started a practice, and cannot say I have had any breakthroughs, but something drives me to arise each day at 4 am to try. I have always had a belief
in reincarnation, and some seem to recall past lives and yet I have read that you do not remember specifics, as far as other people and what you may or may not have done. Since I am new to this site, and 78 years old, I  will appreciate any help offered. Living in a small village in the Andes does not offer many to talk with and I would hope to find a sangha to interact with. I guess w/out realizing it I have put my faith in the 3 jewels and only need a sangha. Perhaps a younger brain and certainly body would help. Thank you for your warm welcome.  
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Jim Smith, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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If you have an interest in the afterlife you might find these links to my web site and blog interesting...

Evidence for the afterlife:
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence

Nobel Prize winning Scientists and other scientists who believed in paranormal phenomena including the afterlife, non-physical consciousness, the creation of the universe, based on scientific evidence:
https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/eminent_researchers

Evidence the Physical universe was created:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-and-links-arranged-by-subject.html#articles_by_subject_cosmology

What it is like in the afterlife:
http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articles-and-links-arranged-by-subject.html#articles_by_subject_like

My own experiences:
http://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/psi_experience
Gin Arnold, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Jim, thanks and I will certainly look at your recommendations, as the after life, ready or not is where we are all headed. May our journies be smooth. 
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Zachary, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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I've recently found myself barrelling through Robert A. Monroe's books, Journeys Out of The Body, Far Journeys and Ultimate Journey. Monroe was a radio engineer who began having out-of-body experiences in the late 50's, he journaled extensively about these while maintaining a curious and experimental approach towards what he encountered. 

His books cover a wide array of topics like reincarnation, realms of the afterlife, a vast menagerie of entities both nonhuman and nonphysical, siddhis and much more. It's clear by the second book that he is also describing his own path of Awakening. All of this is described in lucid, straightforward language, though Monroe has created a few terms of his own to highlight some of the more of the bizarre stuff he encountered.  

What's most fascinating is just how much Monroe's maps and reports line up with what we might consider traditional religious cosmologies, especially Buddhism. For example, one of the more obvious instances of this is his encounter with beings he called "Last-Timers", which sounds eerily similar to the concepts of Once-Returner or Non-Returner. 



In my few stopovers in the outer ring, it had always been utterly fascinating—the mix. Particularly the Last-Timers, those who knowingly were about to make their final recycle. They gave off a radiation that was unforgettable—tremendous vital power that seemed totally under control. Within that strength were all of the values and ideals that humans hold important—not in time-space context, not in external control systems that demanded performance in a specific manner, but something entirely apart, something learned from being human. Most important, all under control , all a cooperating, melding part of the whole. They were completely open . You could get a percept easily of the crucible of human experience that formulated such greatness—if you could handle it. I tried once and it was too much. I returned to the physical and was wistful for days thereafter. The key was that they got that way from being human. They were not that way at First Entry .

But now it was different. Their radiation had a familiar resonance, and I wondered why this was so. In the last time around , they evidently close it all down. Part of the vitality seeps through; it really all can’t be closed off. Yet they don’t select history-making roles in that final run—they’ve probably performed such previously. They are inconspicuous , the mail clerk, the plain dirt farmer, the sailor, the bookkeeper, not gathered as a group , but quietly spotted here and there in both time and place.

If you ask their destination upon completion, most simply respond with a gentle warmth: Home . The percept comes out that way, but there’s an overtone, a flavor, a nuance that is only slightly familiar.

(Far Journeys p.147-148)
Gin Arnold, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Facinating Zachary to say the least. Thank you very much for this insight and I will follow up on the reading. So little time at my age to learn, but I learn what I can and thank all for your help in sharing knowledge. 
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Jim Smith, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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One of the ways to evaluate afterlife information is whether the source is able to provide accurate information that they would have no normal way of knowing. The sources I linked to are all based on evidence of some sort or another.

Robert Monroe participated in an experiement where he was given the opportunity to show that he was able to accurately observe distant locations while outside his body. He was not able to. Very few OBE'rs are able to do this reliably and repeatably . As far as I know none of the well known authors of OBE books can.
http://www.newdualism.org/nde-papers/Tart/Tart-Journal%20of%20Near-Death%20Studies_1998-17-73-99.pdf

I reviewed that article on my blog:
https://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/10/out-of-body-experiences-real-and-fake.html

Third Study:

Thus we have only weak evidence that Monroe was actually "out" on this occasion, a result he found as unsatisfactory as I did
Fourth Study:

When Monroe finished his brief OBE he got out of bed to telephone me: it was 11:05 PM, our time. Thus he experienced a tug pulling him from his body within one or two minutes of the time we started concentrating. The portion of his account that I have omitted, on the other hand, his description of our home and what my wife and I were doing, was quite inaccurate. He perceived too many people in the room, and perceived my wife and me performing actions that we did not do.
Fifth Study:

Again we have that frustrating pattern of my research with Monroe of no ESP results clear enough to be conclusive, but not results so clearly inaccurate that I would feel comfortable saying nothing at all happened.

If you are interested in scientific studies of prarnormal phenomena, there are a lot links to research (successes and failures) here.
http://www.deanradin.com/evidence/evidence.htm
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Zachary, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Thanks for the links Jim, I wasn't aware of this particular Charles Tart study that Monroe did, I've only recently become aware of his work or felt much interest in OBE phenomena. I'm going to take a closer look.

One of the ways to evaluate afterlife information is whether the source is able to provide accurate information that they would have no normal way of knowing. 

In his books, primarily his first, there are several experiments (some ad-hoc and some featuring a more buttoned-up scientific design) done by Monroe where he appears to be able to reliably report information about people, places and events that other witnesses confirm. Obviously, these were not all bonafide scientific experiments in the strictest sense, so some skepticism is warranted.

It's also interesting to note that the work Monroe was doing attracted the attention of the CIA and military who sent personnel to be trained by him throughout the late 70's and 80's, so perhaps there is an argument there that some pretty serious institutions felt there were useful and actionable intelligence applications for these techniques at that time. 

Project GONDOLA WISH
Analysis and Assessment of Gateway Process
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Zachary:
I've recently found myself barrelling through Robert A. Monroe's books, Journeys Out of The Body, Far Journeys and Ultimate Journey. Monroe was a radio engineer who began having out-of-body experiences in the late 50's, he journaled extensively about these while maintaining a curious and experimental approach towards what he encountered. 

His books cover a wide array of topics like reincarnation, realms of the afterlife, a vast menagerie of entities both nonhuman and nonphysical, siddhis and much more. It's clear by the second book that he is also describing his own path of Awakening. All of this is described in lucid, straightforward language, though Monroe has created a few terms of his own to highlight some of the more of the bizarre stuff he encountered.  

What's most fascinating is just how much Monroe's maps and reports line up with what we might consider traditional religious cosmologies, especially Buddhism. For example, one of the more obvious instances of this is his encounter with beings he called "Last-Timers", which sounds eerily similar to the concepts of Once-Returner or Non-Returner. 



In my few stopovers in the outer ring, it had always been utterly fascinating—the mix. Particularly the Last-Timers, those who knowingly were about to make their final recycle. They gave off a radiation that was unforgettable—tremendous vital power that seemed totally under control. Within that strength were all of the values and ideals that humans hold important—not in time-space context, not in external control systems that demanded performance in a specific manner, but something entirely apart, something learned from being human. Most important, all under control , all a cooperating, melding part of the whole. They were completely open . You could get a percept easily of the crucible of human experience that formulated such greatness—if you could handle it. I tried once and it was too much. I returned to the physical and was wistful for days thereafter. The key was that they got that way from being human. They were not that way at First Entry .

But now it was different. Their radiation had a familiar resonance, and I wondered why this was so. In the last time around , they evidently close it all down. Part of the vitality seeps through; it really all can’t be closed off. Yet they don’t select history-making roles in that final run—they’ve probably performed such previously. They are inconspicuous , the mail clerk, the plain dirt farmer, the sailor, the bookkeeper, not gathered as a group , but quietly spotted here and there in both time and place.

If you ask their destination upon completion, most simply respond with a gentle warmth: Home . The percept comes out that way, but there’s an overtone, a flavor, a nuance that is only slightly familiar.

(Far Journeys p.147-148)
Hi Zachary,

I went through a couple of big Robert Monroe phases, the first one after Journeys Out of the Body came out, and another. bigger one after he had written the other books and had his institute going in the mountains of Virginia. I did a bunch of their video things, which amount to guided meditations, and it never did much for me, but I had had some OOBE stuff through the gaps in my own psyche at various points and I found it all fascinating. You're right about the eery, strangely heartening echo of once-returners and non-returners--- I love that! And Monroe had a bunch of ways of conceptualizing the kind of non-verbal information packets and stuff that were really delightful and rang very true. I eventually came to the conclusion that I had to focus my efforts here where you end up with dirt and blood on your hands, but for a fun jaunt to along the roads to the Pure Land, Monroe is a kick as a guide.

love, tim
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Zachary, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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I eventually came to the conclusion that I had to focus my efforts here where you end up with dirt and blood on your hands, but for a fun jaunt to along the roads to the Pure Land, Monroe is a kick ass guide.

Yeah, at points in his books I got the sense that he was kind of going sideways and getting caught in the trap of reifying all these cool states and experiences, but then again he never really claimed to be doing any sort of strict enlightenment practice as we might call it around here. 

At one point in the Far Journeys he is hanging out in some heavenly realm of infinite bliss, celestial music, love, blah blah blah and then suddenly realizes that the whole thing is just looping over and over again and is in fact rather boring. He then hightails it back to his physical body never to return there. 
Tim Farrington, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Zachary:
I eventually came to the conclusion that I had to focus my efforts here where you end up with dirt and blood on your hands, but for a fun jaunt to along the roads to the Pure Land, Monroe is a kick ass guide.

Yeah, at points in his books I got the sense that he was kind of going sideways and getting caught in the trap of reifying all these cool states and experiences, but then again he never really claimed to be doing any sort of strict enlightenment practice as we might call it around here. 

At one point in the Far Journeys he is hanging out in some heavenly realm of infinite bliss, celestial music, love, blah blah blah and then suddenly realizes that the whole thing is just looping over and over again and is in fact rather boring. He then hightails it back to his physical body never to return there. 

You can see how the Tibetan Book of the Dead might have gotten written, on a more or less experiential basis. Take a few Buddhist Robert Monroes in a certain cultural setting, set them loose in a few or a few hundred lifetimes of meditation in the heaven and hell realms and around to the bardo of rebirth, find somebody willing to do the writing up of the compilation, and voila.

I think Monroe was great, a uniquely gifted guy, and had a lot of fun doing something he loved, and was great at, and fascinated by. The epistemology of it all disappears into the ocean depths and the fathomless abyss, of course, but that is true of everything from lucid dreaming to the visions of Ezekiel and Isaiah. 
Sam Gentile, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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The Tibetan Book of the Dead is based on the Tibetan concept of the Bardo which means in-between state. One such bardo is at  time of dying and the rebirth into another physcial form. An excellent Resource on all this is Mingyur Rinpoche's online course Awakening In Daily Life which is very practical and will help you understand the book.
Sam Gentile, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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If you are not interested in the course, the excellent textbook is Mind Beyond Deathby Dzogchen Ponlop
Gin Arnold, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Sam I am familiar with the Bardo, at least to the extent of understanding the concept. I would guess as you say, it is trip we all shall make, and I can only hope for the smoothest of transitions. Many years ago while I was sailing for a year, I took a deckhand job on a large party boat that took people for a day of fishing. There were 3 of us that worked with the tourists and and you asked the usual questions as you walked around the deck, "have you been out before", "do you understand the rod and reel"? One moring an older woman, asked to be shown how the brake on the reel worked and in a few moments the conversation shifted. She said, you are an old spirit are you not? Now a single guy living on a boat is many times available, but this was not the same thing. I said, "well I guess it takes one to know". She took my hand and looked at my palm, and said, "Oh my god you are rusty". That is the very last word we said, as I excused myself for other work. That happened over 30 years ago and I have always remembered. Maybe I was and am just a slow learner and have to keep returning trying to "get it right". Lots of things to think about and I thank all. 
Tim Farrington, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Gin Arnold:
Sam I am familiar with the Bardo, at least to the extent of understanding the concept. I would guess as you say, it is trip we all shall make, and I can only hope for the smoothest of transitions. Many years ago while I was sailing for a year, I took a deckhand job on a large party boat that took people for a day of fishing. There were 3 of us that worked with the tourists and and you asked the usual questions as you walked around the deck, "have you been out before", "do you understand the rod and reel"? One moring an older woman, asked to be shown how the brake on the reel worked and in a few moments the conversation shifted. She said, you are an old spirit are you not? Now a single guy living on a boat is many times available, but this was not the same thing. I said, "well I guess it takes one to know". She took my hand and looked at my palm, and said, "Oh my god you are rusty". That is the very last word we said, as I excused myself for other work. That happened over 30 years ago and I have always remembered. Maybe I was and am just a slow learner and have to keep returning trying to "get it right". Lots of things to think about and I thank all. 

Hey Gin, lol, love this story. Perfect answer to the old soul question from the woman, you weren't THAT rusty, lol.

I think one of the keys to understanding the bardos is that we are never anywhere but in a bardo, as far as that goes. The word "bardo" itself means, literally, "between," every bardo leads to another, and the nature of the bardos in the deepest sense teaches the three characteristics of all phenomena: anicca-transience, dukkha-suffering, and anatta-no-self. Pay attention in whatever bardo you find yourself in, and see those three characteristics at work, and that is the work of meditation, that paying of attention. It's like topology, the mathematics of n-dimensional space: we're looking for truths that apply across all bardo lines, in any bardo at any time, whatever spatio-temporal dimension you may find yourself in. That, and, of course, an old soul who knows how to fish, lol.

love, tim
Sam Gentile, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Tim Farrington:
Gin Arnold:
Sam I am familiar with the Bardo, at least to the extent of understanding the concept. I would guess as you say, it is trip we all shall make, and I can only hope for the smoothest of transitions. Many years ago while I was sailing for a year, I took a deckhand job on a large party boat that took people for a day of fishing. There were 3 of us that worked with the tourists and and you asked the usual questions as you walked around the deck, "have you been out before", "do you understand the rod and reel"? One moring an older woman, asked to be shown how the brake on the reel worked and in a few moments the conversation shifted. She said, you are an old spirit are you not? Now a single guy living on a boat is many times available, but this was not the same thing. I said, "well I guess it takes one to know". She took my hand and looked at my palm, and said, "Oh my god you are rusty". That is the very last word we said, as I excused myself for other work. That happened over 30 years ago and I have always remembered. Maybe I was and am just a slow learner and have to keep returning trying to "get it right". Lots of things to think about and I thank all. 

Hey Gin, lol, love this story. Perfect answer to the old soul question from the woman, you weren't THAT rusty, lol.

I think one of the keys to understanding the bardos is that we are never anywhere but in a bardo, as far as that goes. The word "bardo" itself means, literally, "between," every bardo leads to another, and the nature of the bardos in the deepest sense teaches the three characteristics of all phenomena: anicca-transience, dukkha-suffering, and anatta-no-self. Pay attention in whatever bardo you find yourself in, and see those three characteristics at work, and that is the work of meditation, that paying of attention. It's like topology, the mathematics of n-dimensional space: we're looking for truths that apply across all bardo lines, in any bardo at any time, whatever spatio-temporal dimension you may find yourself in. That, and, of course, an old soul who knows how to fish, lol.

love, tim

Yes, Tim and Gin, In-Between state
The bardo teachings of Tibetan Buddhism are profound and precious teachings that address both how to approach the transitory, momentary experience of this life and how to use this wisdom to skillfully and intentionally navigate the process of our own dying and rebirth. At its heart, the bardo teachings are concerned with the core teaching of impermanence, both in life and in death, and with the liberation that comes with recognizing the real nature of the mind in the midst of all that changes.
Sam Gentile, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Interesting story!
agnostic, modified 8 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Is the Tibetan Book of the Dead (literally "Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State") really about what happens to us after we die? Or is it a complex allegory about how we assume different identities moment to moment in this very lifetime. My advice FWIW ... figure out what you are first before worrying what happens to when you die. There's a reason nibbana is sometimes translated as "the deathless" emoticon 
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svmonk, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Not meaning to troll or anything, but this recently came by in my Slashdot feed about brain rhythms and OOBs.

Also, Susan Blackmore has done a lot of writing on the topic, from a scientific standpoint.
Tim Farrington, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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svmonk:
Not meaning to troll or anything, but this recently came by in my Slashdot feed about brain rhythms and OOBs.

Also, Susan Blackmore has done a lot of writing on the topic, from a scientific standpoint.

This is what I was getting at when i mentioned the epistemological depths. I am all for bringing the bardos home to the human psyche, and thank you svmonk for making the issue so explicit. Susan Blackmore is awesome on this stuff, because she encompasses the entire journey from a very literal reading of the experiences she had up to a state of the art internalization-view, backed by neurological discoveries. The parallels to how to best and most fruitfully read the Tibetan Book of the Dead seem clear to me, and indeed there is a lively contemporary field of thought that takes the bardos as psychological states/gestalts and works with them now, for the benefits of liberation in this body (and so of all beings of course, lol, let us properly consecrate and dedicate the fruits of our practice).

There is a good discussion of the six realms (the types of bardos) and the five elements (the tibetan/tantric schema of the substances of all beings, and reading them "psychologically") and the real-time here-we-are-incarnate-liberation-in-this-body-is-where-it's-at implications for practice going right now on Siavash's practice log, with some great stuff by shargrol on these topics.  https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/20832167

cf also this excellent piece along these lines, the Dalai Lama himself declaring that the bardos are to be interpreted "psychologically", not as literal after-death states:
In 1993 His Holiness the Dala’i Lama said that he no longer believed in the existence of the six realms as actual locations. Maybe now we can all relax. Maybe now we can explore this subject in terms of our own patterns and projections. This might offend the more traditionally minded; however, from whatever position you may wish to adopt – even from the point of view in which the six realms are actual locations – it needs to be understood that they are all contained within each other. Even from the medieval point of view there are six realms within each of the six realms and so on into infinity. That’s the bad news. Merely being human doesn’t make my rebirth a ‘precious human rebirth’ – it rather depends on whether I entrench myself in conditioning, or whether I allow my constructs to be challenged. However, there is some good news: you don’t have to die physically to be reborn and gain a precious human rebirth. This can be attained at any moment – by recognising that we’re trapped in a web of patterns; and that at the very least, we’re ambivalent about whether we want to remain with those patterns or not.

Ngak’chang Rinpoche


http://www.aroencyclopaedia.org/shared/text/r/realms_ar_eng.php

love, tim
Gin Arnold, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Hi All, I seem to be having some tech problems with my posts, in that I made one yesterday that I have not been able to find and also sent 2 PM's that have not been acknowledged. I also am unable to find either pm. Certainly, perhaps they have not been answered due to lack of time, but I want to be sure I am not making a mistake----which is very possible. If someone would provide me with their email address I might be able to discover in a one on one what I am doing incorrectly. I am impressed with the site and hope I can participate.  
Tim Farrington, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 2460 Join Date: 6/13/11 Recent Posts
Gin Arnold:
Hi All, I seem to be having some tech problems with my posts, in that I made one yesterday that I have not been able to find and also sent 2 PM's that have not been acknowledged. I also am unable to find either pm. Certainly, perhaps they have not been answered due to lack of time, but I want to be sure I am not making a mistake----which is very possible. If someone would provide me with their email address I might be able to discover in a one on one what I am doing incorrectly. I am impressed with the site and hope I can participate.  

hey Gin, i've never been able to use the pm much, for whatever reasons. my email is tim_farrington@msn.com     But i'll be no help on how to use the PM, lol.
Gin Arnold, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Thanks much Tim and you should have me email. 
An Eternal Now, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

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Gin Arnold:
I tried to read Padmasambhava's Tibetan Book of the Dead, and found it to be far over my "pay grade". I have recently started Robert Thurman's translation of the same, and find it very interesting. I have never been able to accept a "creator god" be he/she Christain or otherwise, and that is after being a Candidate to the Episcopal Seminary. I have read almost all the work by Carlos Castenada and Don Juan's explanations were for me, clearer. I have been attracted to Buddhism for years but only in the last year have I started a practice, and cannot say I have had any breakthroughs, but something drives me to arise each day at 4 am to try. I have always had a belief
in reincarnation, and some seem to recall past lives and yet I have read that you do not remember specifics, as far as other people and what you may or may not have done. Since I am new to this site, and 78 years old, I  will appreciate any help offered. Living in a small village in the Andes does not offer many to talk with and I would hope to find a sangha to interact with. I guess w/out realizing it I have put my faith in the 3 jewels and only need a sangha. Perhaps a younger brain and certainly body would help. Thank you for your warm welcome.  
Padmasambhava's Tibetan Book of the Dead are Dzogchen teachings.

I was attending Arcaya Malcolm Smith's Dzogchen teachings by video/Zoom online (recommended - http://www.zangthal.com and https://www.facebook.com/groups/387338435166650/ to keep track of future teachings this year) last month.

He said that Dzogchen practitioners generally either attain full realization in this very life while living, or, most of them actually attain full realization at the time of death in the bardo (this is what the Tibetan Book of the Dead teachings are about) (update: Malcolm: In the case of Dzogchen there are three opportunities to achieve liberation: in this life (only those with the highest capacity), in the bardo (medium down to high average) or in other buddhafields after taking rebirth there. This is all detailed in such tantras as the Rig pa rang shar and so on.). In the very very worst case, one gets reborn in a family of dharma practitioners and attain full realization in a maximum of 3 lifetimes. That's just from having received teachings/direct introduction in Dzogchen. So that's the 'advertisement', mentioned this as you believe in reincarnation and I think it is good to get acquinted with this lineage (especially since you have an interest in them) and a realized and knowledgeable teacher ( https://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2020/07/dzogchen-retreat-with-arcaya-malcolm.html ).

A bit about Arcaya Malcolm Smith: did three year retreat and was given title Arcaya - higher than lama, was asked to teach Dzogchen by his Dzogchen guru that attained rainbow body/full Buddhahood. I met up with him (by good karma/coincidence as both I and Malcolm didn't live there) last year at San Francisco with his student Kyle, who also realized the equivalent of MCTB 4th path more than 8 years ago ( http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2014/10/advise-from-kyle_10.html ) and whom Malcolm Smith said was the first person to totally get his teachings. Malcolm in recent years started Zangthal* Sangha.

Another interesting 'technical' point since this is DhO. There was a point in his retreat where Arcaya Malcolm Smith described how at the mature phase of Dzogchen practice, the 'vidya'/'rigpa' (the knowing/knowledge) is exhausted where the vidya and dhatu (something like knowing and field of experience) totally collapsed in a 1:1 synchrony (and he gestured two circles coming together), whereas before that point [the exhaustion of vidya] there is a sort of out of phase issue between vidya and dhatu. That's said to happen in the fourth vision (in terms of bhumi map, Malcolm mentioned years ago that's 8th to 16th bhumi based on some text). Somehow it really reminded me of one of Daniel's descriptions in MCTB on fourth path. His student Kyle did inform me that it is the same as what I call anatta realization [which I realised almost 10 years ago, it is the same as MCTB's fourth path]. Also, Malcolm mentioned many people have the wrong idea that Vidya/Rigpa is some eternal thing that just goes on forever, but it too is exhausted later along with all other phenomena [although this is not annihilation as appearances/pure vision still manifest] (elaboration: http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com/2020/08/acarya-malcolm-on-dzogchen-and-advaita.html ).



(Left to right: Osa, Malcolm, Kyle, Soh - myself)

*Zangthal is referring to the quality of pristine consciousness which is transparent, all-penetrating, pellucid, the union of emptiness and clarity... as opposed to mental cognitions.

Kyle Dixon: Cognitive clarity is your cognizance reified as a subject, a self, while zangthal is that same aspect totally freed of all extremes and conditions.
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 203 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
     Hello, from one old timer to another.  When old age becomes reality it's inevitable to think of what comes next, after the body has reached it's limit. I remember vaguely reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead maybe in my 20"s. I also read Carlos Castaneda, both were very popular in the late 60's. My first brush with death was as a newborn. I was a "yellow baby" and my devoted Catholic parents had a priest give me the last rites. I don't know if anything was imprinted in my brain from that, so early, experience. That I have lived long enough to see my children's children is enough to be grateful for. 
     I found a site 
https://medium.com/energy-life-sciences-institute/what-my-teacher-carlos-castaneda-taught-me-about-death-a8a2670e65c5 , while trying to refresh my memory.  The author says "Throughout the years of my apprenticeship with Castaneda, he talked about death often. He would say death is a reminder to be alert, a reference point to behave with kindness, a push to set priorities, an inspiration for change or to shake off the pettiness of daily concerns."  You mention starting to practice. My practice has always been Shikantaza.  When I experienced the disappearance of the sense of self, one of the immediate results was the loss of the fear of death.  I had the distinct impression that life and death are two sides of the same coin. Settle into your practice, be kind to yourself, and alert to the "gestalt", the totality of the experience of being alive.  Surrender into the field of awareness and you will discover that dying is nothing to be concerned about.
Gin Arnold, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/8/20 Recent Posts
What a treat to get this mail, esp since I just sent Tim Farrington an email trying to fig some tech things out, so yours came at a perfect time. I met a guy in Ubud, Bali years ago, a Mexican guy from Chiapas and we really had a great time talking about Castaneda and Don Juan. Here we are in Indonesia talking about Oaxaca. Turns out he was a waiter in LA at one point, and this guy comes in for a meal. He did the usual, I once was a bartender, and the man asked him to sit down and being his busy lunch time, he apologized and said he could not. With that, my friend turned around and stopped, as the whole damn place was empty. I spent 4 months a year importing stuff and when I returned he had moved to Japan, but for me he was as real as rain. Thanks for the post, and maybe I can get this thing down so at least I can read and post. 
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 203 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
It's good to meet another friend in this online sangha. I too wish somebody would write a DHo Posting for Idiots (idiot me, not you :smugemoticon tutorial. Tim is a Master, especially of quotes. He also seems to be a lightning fast typist judging by how prolific he is. Let's recruit him. 
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Angel Roberto Puente, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 203 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
You see, I could'nt even get the smiley right.
Gin Arnold, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/8/20 Recent Posts
When I read the sits people are doing for hours and retreats for days, I have to wonder what I could hope to be able to do, as after a few minutes my attention is either 5 years ago or next week. Tim seems to be in the groove OK and quite a few more. Maybe they will take pitty on us and throw a few gems our way. :
Chris, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 6 Join Date: 6/18/17 Recent Posts
You can try the "American Book of the Dead" by E J Gold. Its a modernized, 'americanized' version of the tibetan book of the dead.  Of all the books of the dead Ive come across, this one has been the most accessible to me.  One can perform the readings as a practice and see what that does for them in meditation and daily life. It tends to help with not getting too obssessed with and lost in "the dream" so that work toward awakening can seem more accessibile...in the sense of...not getting lost in the mind as much, such that it may become more clear during practice whether or not one is actually doing the work of awakening or just playing with their emotions and/or minds. After using it for a while i find that it helps remind me when im getring stuck, snd helps to keep my attention open to greater opportunities for clarity. It seems like it almost tricks the mind into working better.

It also seems to present an interesting mix of metta/compassionate/wishing others well practice combined with insight practice given all the references to "the clear light of objective reality" while performing the reading for the benefit of others. Seems like it kinda yokes the two together. Its pretty cool. Those are my thoughts on it anyway.
Gin Arnold, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/8/20 Recent Posts
Thanks Chris and I have a similar one, Mind Beyond Death that is devoted to the bardo and much easier for me. Rinpoche Ponlop. I am terrible on sp anything  but that is close and makes it clear that some get englitened by themselves and others spend years and move to the next life, but the impt part for me is there is not just one path. At my age I don't have a lot of years and if I get to some place good but in the meantime I will simply do my sits, even if the chair works better for this old frame, and keep trying. 
John H, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 18 Join Date: 4/17/18 Recent Posts
Gin Arnold:
I tried to read Padmasambhava's Tibetan Book of the Dead, and found it to be far over my "pay grade". 
Perhaps over most anybody's pay grade. One way to think of the Tibetan Book of the Dead is as a Terma (or mind discovered treasure) version of the practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa with a special emphasis on Phowa which is the transferrence of consciousness from one body to another. In this case the aim is to be reborn into a buddha field or to achieve buddhahood in the bardo between death and rebirth. The Six Yogas of Naropa is a tantric method for achieving Buddhahood in this  life. See here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Dharmas_of_Naropa#cite_note-:4-65 or one of the several books by Glenn Mullin on the subject. It seems to me that Tummo and the four emptinesses from the Six Yogas are in some sense equivalent to the Jhanas. My understanding of the purpose of Book of the Dead is to serve as a guide for the newly dead person to achieve enlightenment in the bardo. It is I understand frequently read by a Lama in the presence of the newly dead person to serve as a reminder of what is to come in the bardo as a in order to achieve a better rebirth. 
Gin Arnold, modified 7 Months ago.

RE: The Tibetan Book of the dead

Posts: 15 Join Date: 8/8/20 Recent Posts
I believe it was Milarepa that said, "

One should not be over-anxious and hasty in setting out to serve others, but have the one resolve to attain Buddhahood. I think something I try and remember. 

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