Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

In Tibet the day of death is thought of as highly important. It is believed that as soon as the death of the body has taken place, the personality goes into a state of trance for four days. During this time the person does not know they are dead. This period is called the First Bardo and during it lamas (monks) saying special verses are thought to reach the dead person.

It is believed that towards the end of this time the dead person will see a brilliant light. If the radiance of the Clear Light does not terrify them, and they can welcome it, then the person will not be reborn. But most flee from the Light, which then fades. The person then becomes conscious that death has occurred. At this point the Second Bardo begins. The person sees all that they have ever done or thought passing in front of them. While they watch they feel they have a body, but when they realize this is not so, they long to possess one again.

Then comes the Third Bardo, which is the state of seeking another birth. All previous thoughts and actions direct the person to choose new parents, who will give them their next body.


3 thoughts on “Death and Dying in Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

  1. Walid Nouh says:

    a different perspective on hell and paradise ?in this case, the unknown bright light can bring you closer to paradise …

  2. Walid Nouh says:

    And the return to the world is the embodiment of hell … If paradise is unknown for Tibetan Buddhist, hell is pretty clear … So much for the quest for paradise on earth … And the sacred law of governance …

  3. Walid Nouh says:

    At the end of second Bardo, man is still consumed with the illusion of physical body until he realizes that he has relinquished his dense form into a an ethereal form. The Islamic tradition insists on preserving the clay substance of man, both, in paradise and hell. Detailing the sensual pleasures of paradise and the horrific bodily torment of hell is far more relevant to Islamic tradition than the abstract statement depicting paradise a place far beyond the reach of intellect and imaginations. Muslims hate surprises in the hereafter. We demand a clear roadmap on the journey to an unknown metaphysical realm. We are consumed by silly matters such as the gender of hoor een, the immortal youngsters and the chemical composition of wine in paradise, as well as the average height of males and females. Islamic paradise came to answer the yearning of man to our worldy form. Albeit, the heavenly islamic form is genetically superior free from any weakness or susceptibility to disease. The Islamic tradition nostalgic attachment to the world rendered the vision of paradise a mirror of the current life. Muslims paradise is an improved update of this world. It is earthly world 2.0 or 3.0. You may pick the version that fulfills your desires. The Quran challenged the conception of pre-Islamic Arabs into believing in a metaphysical reality beyond the harsh and dense worldy existence. Later, Arabs succumbed and lifted the bars of their creative imagination. How much the nowadays Muslims are different from the ancestors in faith ? Hardly different. Making paradise a never ending worldy oasis is hadly the transcendent leap of imagination and faith to which the Quran invited Muslims. Perhaps, it is a matter of maturity of tradition. There is a benefit in contemplating in more ancient and mature traditions such as the Budhist tradition. There is a wisdom in why we cannot remember much about our previous existence as simple monadic conscience entities. Embracing the unknown demands that we leave our luggage behind us, to burn the ships, and to destroy the stairs. Perhaps, in so doing, we can regain it all after diving into the mystical light of the unknown. But, remember one thing: the most important human faculty that will sustain you on this journey is the passion for wonder and entrepreneurial-ship. In the wise and daring words of Rashmi Bansal: "Stay hungry, Stay foolish".

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