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Sacred Bardo Promise
2022, September, Issue 11
The death bardo revealed unlimited potentiality for me. It gave me great confidence in the spiritual teachings that I had received over the years, especially teachings of love and compassion, and of Dzogchen. Among certain very advanced spiritual practitioners that I have spoken with, they found it surprising that talking about death and writing about the death bardo was a source of pain, discomfort and depression for me. This seems especially surprising if you have heard me speak about that amazing light, beyond explanation, or this sense of well-being that is experienced when we are not burdened by this sense of self. Being in a state of awareness for an eternity is quite blissful.
Here's the rub: We can remain in that brilliant condition, beyond the worries of a human life if we awaken. If we awaken, we will want to return to help all beings to awaken. This is depressing, because it does not leave any room for our selfish motivations of finding unlimited peace and well-being. It’s a dilemma. We can’t remain as long as beings suffer. If we don’t awaken, we can’t remain. It’s depressing on a selfish level.
From time to time, I encounter someone who is truly rude or attacks me about me being here, doing what I’m doing, saying what I’m saying or what I write. They seem to have a problem with my very existence. My first thought is that I don’t really want to be here, I’d gladly leave once and for all. It’s for the benefit of rude people like this that I’m here and they don’t even want me to be here. This selfish part of me that I mentioned, that part of me that I don’t provide oxygen, screams at me to just stop what I’m doing and leave at once, to let all beings alone in their suffering, to give no one even the slightest bit of help.
It is with some relief that I’m, fortunately, accustomed to such things popping up in mind, or even in my face, knowing just what to do with that sort of thing. I simply let that go, giving it no energy whatsoever. My task here is not complete; so, I need to remain. I have a task to complete before I die. This task involves that ineffable condition beyond our ordinary comprehension. The notion of that was formed in awareness, in that brilliant light while in the death bardo.
This notion that I must remain until my task is complete may seem somewhat arbitrary; however, that was a sacred promise, or samaya, that I made while in the death bardo, while I was fully engaged in the light of Dharmakaya, as I appeared in the energetic condition where consciousness arises. I’ve written and spoken about this. Being convinced otherwise by disturbed confused people wishing for me to go away doesn’t work with that samaya. I suppose that they would also be upset if I suddenly disappeared into rainbow light.
Many people ask me to give them teachings and to continue with my work. It is because of these wisdom beings who wish to awaken that I continue, not being dissuaded by various individuals who object to me being alive, or who wish to stomp me out entirely. I’m very fortunate to have people who want to hear what I have to say. It would be very easy for me to simply give up, if I listened to detractors.
What I understand about people who object to me being here and to what I have to say is that they carry great suffering. And, with this great suffering is great ego, attachment to this world, conflict, confusion, anxiety, delusion, etc. They’re really trapped in this great cycle of samsara. They don’t want to awaken.
What they don’t know is that I find joy in their aggression, outrage and objections. Tough cookies, I’m going to be here until I’m done with this place is what I tell myself. It makes me laugh that the same people who have an issue with my existence are the same people who have some sense that they are flying wildly out of control through this bardo of life and death and rebirth—and they want others to suffer the same. People like that are a gift to me, as I can better understand suffering.
With your spiritual journey, I pray that you never let anything stand in your way, that you never cease in this endeavor to awaken. Many beings will try to discourage you. People who you may have thought were advanced spiritual practitioners may behave very badly. They will try to stop you from awakening. Don’t give in to these childish egotistical confused beings! Stay focused on your endeavor to awaken! Look at mind. Meditate as often as you can, looking inwardly for all the blessings and knowledge you will ever need. If you do so, this promise that I made in the death bardo will become your promise as well. We will be the same in the light of Dharmakaya. We will awaken if we never give up, no matter what.
Support those who wish to awaken. Encourage them, celebrate their awakening. We will all awaken, if we never give up.