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The moment of Death Experienced by all sentient beings...
When the expiration hath ceased, the vital-force will have sunk into the nerve-centre of Wisdom 1 and the Knower 2 will be experiencing the Clear Light of the natural condition 3. Then the vital force, being thrown backwards and flying downwards through the right and left nerves 4 the Intermediate State (Bardo) momentarily dawns.
There follows a progressive descent into lower and lower states of the Bardo existence, and finally rebirth. immediately after the first state of Chikhai Bardo comes the second stage, when the consciousness-principle leaves the body and says to itself. 'Am I dead, or am I not dead?' without being able to determine.
But even though the Primary Clear Light be not recognized, the Clear Light of the second Bardo being recognized, Liberation will be attained. If not liberated even by that, then that called the third Bardo or the Chonyid Bardo dawneth.
In this third stage of the Bardo, the karmic illusions come to shine. It is very important that this Great setting-face-to-face of the Chonyid Bardo be read: it hath much power and can do much good.
About this time [the deceased] can see that the share of food is being set aside, that the body is being stripped of its garments, that the place of the sleeping-rug is being swept; 7 can hear all the weeping and wailing of his friends and relatives, and, although he can see them and can hear them calling upon him, they cannot hear him calling upon them, so he goeth away displeased.
At that time, sounds, lights, and rays-all three-are experienced. These awe, frighten, and terrify, and cause much fatigue. At this moment, this setting-face-to-face with the Bardo [during the experiencing] of Reality is to be applied. Call the deceased by name, and correctly and distinctly explain to him, as follows:
0 nobly-born, listen with full attention, without being distracted: There are six states of Bardo, namely: the natural state of Bardo while in the womb; the Bardo of the dream-state; the Bardo of ecstatic equilibrium, while in deep meditation; the Bardo of the moment of death; the Bardo [during the experiencing] of Reality, the Bardo of the inverse process of samsaric existence. These are the six.
0 nobly-born, thou wilt experience three Bardos, the Bardo of the moment of death, the Bardo [during the experiencing] of Reality, and the Bardo while seeking rebirth. Of these three, up to yesterday, thou hadst experienced the Bardo of the moment of death. Although the Clear Light of Reality dawned upon thee, thou wert unable to hold on, and so thou hast to wander here. Now henceforth thou art going to experience the [other] two, the Chonyid Bardo and the Sidpa Bardo.8
Thou wilt pay undistracted attention to that with which I am about to set thee face to face, and hold on;
0 nobly-born, that which is called death hath now come. Thou art departing from this world, but thou art not the only one; [death] cometh to all. Do not cling, in fondness and weakness, to this life. Even though thou clingest out of weakness, thou hast not the power to remain here. Thou wilt gain nothing more than wandering in this Samsara. 9 Be not attached [to this world]; be not weak. Remember the Precious Trinity.10
0 nobly-born, whatever fear and terror may come to thee in the Chonyid Bardo, forget not these words; and, bearing their meaning at heart, go forwards: in them lieth the vital secret of recognition:
Alas! when the Uncertain Experiencing of Reality is dawning upon me here,
With every thought of fear or terror or awe for all [apparitional appearances] set aside,
May I recognize whatever [visions] appear, as the reflections of mine own consciousness;
May I know them to be of the nature of apparitions in the Bardo: When at this all-important moment [of opportunity] of achieving a great end.
May I not fear the bands of Peaceful and Wrathful [Deities], mine own thought-forms.