Death and the Art of Dying: The Karmic Bardo of Becoming
Andrew Holecek has created a series of three weekend teachings on the three death bardos: the bardo of letting go, the luminous bardo of dharmata, and the karmic bardo of becoming.
The material offered in this weekend program is the third in the series and it offers an in depth look at the Karmic Bardo of Becoming.
If we are prepared, death is the crowning moment of life, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for enlightenment. The karma that brought us into this life is exhausted, and the karma that propels us into our next one has not yet formed. This gap (bardo) provides a golden opportunity for rapid spiritual progress. Buddhism asserts that there are more opportunities for enlightenment after death than there are during life. This weekend program will show you how to take full advantage of this precious time.
Space is limited.Check back, details on registration will be posted soon!
Overview of the Program
The Karmic Bardo of Becoming – The Cosmic Dressing Room
The karmic bardo of becoming is where we will spend an average of forty-nine days after death. For most of us it constitutes the entirety of our after-death experience. This is where the naked awareness that we stripped down to in the bardo of dying, and fully revealed in the bardo of dharmata, is clothed with habitual patterns once again – heading for rebirth into another life in the endless recycling of confused existence.
The karmic bardo of becoming is an extremely volatile time, when the winds of karma arise to blow us involuntarily into our next birth. With preparation, it transforms into the bardo of opportunity, where we can literally become anything we want by directing these winds in the proper direction. It’s as if molten iron (that melted during the bardo of dying) is about to cool and take solid form. If we can voluntarily pour our formless awareness into the proper form, we will be reborn into a good life. If we cannot, karma takes over and freezes us into an often less than optimal form.
In other words, without preparation this bardo accelerates into the bardo of panic, where a single thought can take on a life of its own and hurl us uncontrollably into an entire realm of existence. Because mind has become reality here, the Dalai Lama says of this bardo: “This is a very dangerous time.” But it is also a very opportune time – if we are ready.
Studying the karmic bardo of becoming shows us what to expect after we die, when to expect it, and what to do about it. This bardo teaches us what it is that reincarnates, and why. It also shows us how to help those who have died, for this is the bardo where we can most effectively help the dead.
Learning about the bardos is also more than just learning about death. They are a condensation of the entire path. Studying the bardos not only helps us have a good death, but to lead a good life.
Padmasambhava Meditation Center (PMC) at 1900 South Cook Street, Denver, CO, founded and directed by Chhoje Tulku Rinpoche, is a place for the study and practice of meditation in the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. With the enthusiastic support of our participants in the Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom program that Andrew offered last year, we are returning again this year. For more information and map and directions visit www.padmasambhavameditationcenter.org
It is not required that you have attended the first bardo weekend programs to attend this one. If you have not attended, simply let us know when you register, and we will provide you with some readings that will give you enough of a background to fully engage with this program on the bardo of dharmata.
Although there are no prerequisites or reading assignments required for attendance to the bardo programs, for those that are interested, there are several resources:
Andrew’s own book, “Preparing To Die: Spiritual and Practical Preparation from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition” is a great companion book resource for the program.
For the academically inclined, Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche’s “Mind Beyond Death,” and Francesca Fremantle’s “Luminous Emptiness” are indispensible. For a more accessible study, Sogyal Rinpoche’s “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” is without peer. “Journey of the Mind” by Thrangu Rinpoche is pithy and practical, as is Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche’s “Bardo Guidebook” and “Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth” by Tulku Thundop Rinpoche.