Bardo Thodol

I have always been fascinated by religious and spiritual books. I want to learn as much about the history and roots of religion and spirituality as I possibly can, and what better way to start? This particular passage is from a Tibetan book called The Bardo Thodol, known here in the west as The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Although it was a long time ago now I read this, one passage always stood out to me.

– thou must have experienced a glimpse of the Pure Truth, subtle, sparkling, bright, dazzling, glorious, and radiantly awesome, in appearance like a mirage moving across a landscape in spring-time in one continuous stream of vibrations. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed. That is the radiance of thine own true nature. Recognize it.

From the midst of that radiance, the natural sound of Reality, reverberating like a thousand thunders simultaneously sounding, will come. That is the natural sound of thine own real self. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed.

What a beautiful way to describe us, no? Beings of white light, streams of vibrations, glorious, radiant, dazzling! A description of our true nature – souls.

The second part, the sound of reality – like a thousand thunders simultaneously. Don’t we know it, that reality can hit like a ton of bricks, like a thousand thunders! But again, it says do not be afraid. Our reality is but a projection of ourselves, of our minds.

bar do, Sanskrit antarabhāva: “transitional state”

thodol / thos grol: “liberation” “enlightenment”

This book actually became quite popular in the west during the psychedelic age, due to the descriptions it contains of the after death being alarmingly similar to descriptions of a psychedelic trip. Possibly due to the releasing of DMT in the brain? The profound questions this raises are endless.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in spirituality, karma, after death, reincarnation, Buddhism, Tibetan culture, plant medicine or even psychedelics.

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