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A life of meditation and spiritual work


Every life is precious (and short), no matter what: 1. it is difficult to achieve and therefore it is precious; 2. the true nature of mind is primordially pure, so it is also precious for this reason; 3. it has the profound capability that it can be used to achieve enlightenment and benefit humans; 4. it is the greatest ornament and ordinary jewels cannot compare to it in worth; and 5. it possesses the unchangeable Buddha nature. So for these reasons it is called precious.

The mainstream media ensures that you be somebody else or to be somewhere else other than who and where you are now: to be happy, you need the clothes, the car, the house, the body and the life that the messages communicate. False!

I had read Sogyal Rinpoche and Andrew Harvey’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying but it wasn’t until I read Ken Wilber’s Death, Rebirth, and Meditation that I fully understood that the actual purpose of this precious human life is to prepare for death; the preparation to die is inseparable from the preparation to live. That requires a life of meditation and spiritual work.

Remember: 1. everyone must die, 2. the remainder of our life span is decreasing continually, 3. death will come regardless of whether or not we have made time to practice meditation and spiritual work, 4. human life expectancy is uncertain, 5. there are many causes of death, 6. the human body is fragile, 7. our wealth cannot help us nor our loved ones nor our body.

A human is reborn with desire, aversion, attachment, hatred, and a gross body. It is at the lowest stage of the Great Chain, and its own growth and development will be a climb back up the stages that it has denied and fled from. How far it gets back up the Great Chain of Being will determine how it handles the dying process and the bardo states when it is time to shed its physical body.

At the point of actual or final death the soul enters the chikhai bardo, which is spirit itself, the Dharmakaya. As the Tibetan Book of the Dead states,

At this moment, the first glimpsing of the Bardo of the Clear Light of Reality, which is the infallible Mind of the Dharmakaya, is experienced by all sentient beings.

This is the point where meditation and spiritual work become so important. Most people cannot recognize this state for what it is. In Christian terms, they do not know God and thus they do not know when God stares them in the face. In fact, they are at this point one with God, entirely and totally in a supreme identity with Godhead. But unless they recognize this identity, unless they have been contemplatively trained to recognize that state of divine Oneness, they will actually flee from it, driven by their lower desires and karmic propensities. As W. Y. Evans-Wentz put it:

Owing to unfamiliarity with such a state, which is an ecstatic state of non-ego, of [causal] consciousness, the average human lacks the power to function in it; karmic propensities becloud the consciousness-principle with thought of personality, of individualized being, of dualism, and losing equilibrium, the consciousness-principle falls away from the Clear Light.

So the soul contracts away from Godhead, from Dharmakaya, away from the causal. Indeed, it is said that the soul actually seeks to escape from the realization of divine Emptiness and “blacks out,” until it awakens in the next lower realm, which is called the chonyid bardo, the subtle dimension, the Sambhogakaya, the archetypal dimension. This experience is marked by all sorts of psychic and subtle visions, visions of gods and goddesses, dakas and dakinis, all accompanied by dazzling and almost painfully brilliant lights and illuminations and colours. Most people are not used to this state and have no idea about transcendental light and divine illumination, so they flee these phenomena and are attracted by the lesser or impure lights that also appear.

Thus, the soul again contracts inwardly, tries to get away from these divine visions, blacks out again, and wakes up in what is called the sidpa bardo, the gross-reflecting realm. Here the soul has a vision of its future parents making love, and if it is going to be a boy it feels desire for the mother and hatred for the father, and if it is going to be a girl it feels hatred for the mother and attraction to the father.


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