The essence of Buddhism has always been the same throughout infinite time and space. No matter what plane of existence that it is found, no matter what language that it is taught in, and no matter what culture that holds it, the essence has always, and will always be wisdom and compassion.
Just how the sun shines on to this world without ever discriminating, the compassionate wisdom energy of all of the buddhas pervades everything. No matter where you are, no matter what you do, this energy is always there, it is always with you.
But just as you need to open your eyes to experience the light of the sun, you have to open your mind with unshakable trust, gratitude, and devotion to experience the blessings of the energy of the buddhas. The more that your mind opens, the greater the blessings that will energize your mind and power your practice all of the way to your enlightenment.
Self-doubt can riddle us with guilt and paralyze our actions.
We are all valuable people in different ways yet we sometimes forget. Opening the heart and focusing outward towards others brings confidence and courage to face adversity without drowning.
Even the thought, “we are all the same in wanting to be happy and not hurt” can elevate our mood, particularly if it is repeated like a mantra. Care brings care. It ripples outward and inward creating safety. Anxiety and fear are reduced. Meaning is cultivated. This leads to well being free of guilt.
As we mature we learn to recognize self-doubt as “old stuff” that is not functional any longer, not that is ever was functional. This is self-compassion and care of the highest order.
Just as a flower will grow and flourish, so it must wilt and die. Often, we find it hard to accept the inevitability and inseparability of death. We want to change it, resist it, and this can make things very challenging. This is why, in the end, it is really about accepting it. We trust that we all have the power, we all have the ability to accept death. We don’t need to pressure ourselves, but instead can take things one step at a time.
Every day, if we are able to accept a little form of death, a little form of the reality of life, then death itself can be experienced as peaceful and meaningful. Just as living is meaningful, so death will become meaningful too. ~ Thaye Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwa Karmapa
A king’s robe or an old blanket can keep you warm. A gold throne or the bare ground can be your seat. A grand palace or a mud hut can be your shelter. A jeweled plate or a wooden pot can hold your food. The external world does not destroy your inner peace, But your attachment and aversion will.
There are a vast amount of Buddhas already, and each one manifests countless forms simultaneously throughout all of the planes of cyclic existence for the benefit of all beings. However, at any given time, each individual being will have a stronger karmic connection with certain Buddhas, compared to other Buddhas.
Likewise, if you were a Buddha, since a huge number of beings throughout cyclic existence would have a stronger karmic connection with you during certain times, you would be able to benefit them much more directly than the many other Buddhas would be able to. Do not forget this.
The deeper you realise this, the greater your bodhicitta motivation becomes – in other words, the greater your compassionate wish to attain the enlightened state of a Buddha for the benefit of all beings, as soon as possible!
While beginning my study of ‘The Tibetan Book of The Dead,’ I came across the word, Bardo. Bardo means a gap or transition. A space between.
I think of Bardo as being like a moment when you step toward the edge of a precipice; such a moment, for example, is when a master introduces a disciple to the essential, original, and innermost nature of his or her mind. The greatest and most charged of these moments, however, is the moment of death. ~ “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche.
There are many bardos. Our life is full of these junctures: bardos of sleep, bardos of dreams to name only a couple. The space or gap between death and rebirth is a bardo and probably the one most people think of first. It is vital to understand this word when we think of life and death.
When we see that death is a space between, a temporary place where we pass through, then the fear is lessened. What is within that space is of importance.
This small article is not an exhaustive study of the ‘gaps’. It is only a light touching of the meaning so we can move forward with some understanding as we dig deeper into Bardo Thodal.
Death is not the end but the beginning of another chapter. So let us live with love and compassion during this life and have no regrets when the bardo of dying arrives. We can and should make use of our life to find meaning now.