Bardo Thodol

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The  Bardo Thodol is the reference book to achieve liberation.

Each one experiences a heightened sense of perception when in an extreme situation. Some times this results in a a kind of “super power” intelligence  we are fueled with in order to un-stuck ourselves. What if we could use this at will? Instead of waiting for a limit to reach us… That is what Padmasambhava achieved and presents in The Bardo Thodol. Actually the correct translation is “Liberation through Hearing in the intermediate (bardo, border) state”. While the Bardo Thodol uses as an example the death of an individual, as an intelligent reader I understand that death is just another limit, therefore any limit in my life is trascended using the teachings outlined in the Bardo Thodol.

First insight: It is through HEARING that one liberates.
Why is it through hearing and not through thinking or feeling? Well, because I’m not the owner of my own thoughts! I can’t help but think of a Pink Elephant when I hear those words. Same happens to my feelings upon someone cheering or attacking me, I automatically feel the situation. But with Hearing I’m conscious, I can discriminate what I hear from what I see and/or feel… It is through that discrimination that I’m able to liberate myself. This is further explained by Padmashambava in his book.

Second thought: in the intermediate state
Liberation from a limit will only be achieved once that limit is pierced. Crossing through the border is the only way to avoid the border re-building itself later on in life. Going around a border is to avoid what caused that border to connect with myself. Therefore, I achieve liberation when I set myself in between two states.

LIBERATION                 =

HEARING             +

LIMIT

The Book’s Structure

The Bardo Thodol analyzes four stages where liberation is posible:

0 – Preliminary Bardo – One should prepare oneself before being upon a bardo (limit) by applying to oneself the lessons. learned in the Bardo Thodol.

1 – Chikhai Bardo – Light at the moment of death (or any other limit). Where one recognizes that the external reality’s connection to the internal reality.

2 – Chonyd Bardo – Light immediately after death. When the previous Bardo wasn’t enough to hear and recognize, this Bardo will present Peaceful and Wrathful deities (both being the same) for one to recognize them as illusions from one’s own mind.

3 – Sidpa Bardo – If the previous Bardo wasn’t enough to hear and recognize one-self as one’s own limit, the closing of the womb door of the following incarnation presents an opportunity to achieve liberation.

The Illustration

What follows is a work of intelligent beauty! I apply the Bardo Thodol lessons in my life and by doing so de-signedL it’s visual representation.

  • Liberation is illustrated as the outreaching upward movement of a clear white light. Reincarnation as a contracting movement in a dull-grey light.
  • Liberation can be achieved in any of the four stages, meaning each of the four stages can always move toward the clear white light section. Even in the Preliminary stage, there is an overlap with the clear white light section.
  • The Sidpa Bardo is the movement from the clear white light, that seems as liberation,  back to reincarnation where the overlap with the dull-grey light section is.
  • The Chonyd Bardo is the most lengthy stage of the Bardo, with two directions as it presents one self with Peaceful and Wrathful deities. These two deities reach out in the form of external illusions in an attempt to incentivize reincarnation through the love for relationships and goods.
  • hen one crosses between one section and another, a blazing yellow light allows oneself to see if one’s moving in the correct direction.