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Parachuting through the bardo
on 18 February 2017
In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the dead man is asked not to give in to astonishment. The Lama says, ‘Don't be distracted by the fireworks’. But, of course, saying fireworks is an analogy and the actual after death experience has never been experienced by you or me while in these bodies, and especially in this ego. So, I think, the astonishment of not dying and being there will overwhelm the newly dead person.
Imagine being thrown out of an aeroplane and some guy in your headphones tells you not to give in the astonishment. This is impossible. You will panic and be very alarmed. Go down a giant water park slide and the first time you shoot off you shit yourself. The third time you feel more calm. So the more you do it the better you get. And it is the same with death and parachuting. Unfortunately for us, we only die once from this body. So how do we even begin to prepare for the after-death state the Tibetans say will happen?
You have to at least parachute a few times in your life to even get used to falling off an aeroplane, then you can practice keeping calm without the parachute! If you got pushed out of the plane and you've never parachuted in your life, you will panic!
In India they call the practice ‘spiritual sadhana’. You must do sadhana to prepare for the big occasion.
The parachuting lessons are a practice before the big fall. Buddhists say a good spiritual practice is like those parachute lessons. The more lessons, hopefully you'll be fine!
The Tibetans whisper into the ear of the corpse, to guide him through the chaotic states. In ancient times, the dead man did his spiritual sadhana while alive and he’s a better chance of being guided by the voice. So one who has done much practice in this life will hear the voice clearly and hopefully keep calm.
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a good start.
If the Tibetan’s are right, then they must have somehow gotten this knowledge. In his introduction to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, near the end, as a throw away line, Jung asks whether the Tibetan’s somehow solved some riddle, and cracked into the fourth dimension. Jung here is making a personal, and to some obvious, but to most not interesting, observation.
Many a materialist, a scientist or a celebrity snake oil salesman will never take these questions seriously. They will dismiss anything they can’t see.
Here is a line from Goethe’s Faust:
"I see the learning in what you say.
What you don't touch, for you lies miles away
What you don't grasp, is wholly lost to you
What you don't reckon, you believe not true
What you don't weigh, this has for you no weight
What you don't count, you're sure is counterfeit".
Goethe is describing the mentality of the modern sceptic.
So C.G. Jung leaves the question with a sigh. It is too good to be true that the way the Egyptians mastered the pyramid the ancients near the Himalayas mastered the death states, if they even exist and there is no reason to believe that they do exist.
Even when we think of the sleeper and the corpse being in the same state. Both laying down, not moving. In fact they say that death is just going to sleep, so blank. But when we do go to sleep we dream. An observer standing over the sleeper only sees the body. When I wake up I report a crazy dream. How do we know the corpse is not dreaming? The Tibetan’s say that he corpse is dreaming. The only difference is that I wake up every morning and report my adventure and the corpse in this dream never wakes up again.