Bardo?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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texastheravadin
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Bardo?

Postby texastheravadin » Sun Sep 19, 2010 12:58 pm

There were several factors that influenced me to begin studying/practicing the Theravada over the Zen Buddhism that I started out with. What really bothered me the most, however, was when I would read the Pālī Canon and see specific teachings of the Buddha himself that were flatly contradicted by Mahayana practice.

One of those things was the idea of an intermediate state, or bardo as my teacher at the Zen center called it. I remember one particular Dharma talk she gave about "transitions". It was extremely insightful...until the issue of death came up (being the "ultimate" transition). She said that in the Mahayana tradition, there's an idea of the bardo, an intermediate state that one finds oneself in after death and before taking the next birth. She stated that this is believed to be a very confusing time...the deceased person is inundated with various images and feelings that can lead to fear or clinging, and that those surrounding the recently deceased should try to project thoughts of calmness and reassurance so that the dead can peacefully make their way to the next life.

I intend no disrespect to the Mahayana, but doesn't that whole notion fly in the face of the teaching on anatta ? What is it exactly that's floating around in this intermediate state? How is it "conscious" enough to be "confused"? Does anyone know where this teaching came from, and how it can be justified when it seems IMHO to contradict the Buddha's teaching on the absence of a self that travels from life to life?

With kindest regards,

Your :shrug: friend in the Dhamma

Josh
"Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine & human beings, awakened, blessed." — AN 11.12

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octathlon
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Re: Bardo?

Postby octathlon » Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:58 pm

Could it be referring to a rebirth in another realm, rather than an "intermediate state"?

5heaps
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Re: Bardo?

Postby 5heaps » Sun Sep 19, 2010 4:51 pm

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

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Dan74
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:01 am

Bardo is a Tibetan teaching found in the Tibetan Book of the Dead. As far as I know it is not found in Mahayana texts and never seen any mention of it in Zen literature.

I don't know of any Zen instructions for the dead (not to say there aren't any) except "do not cling, do not abide anywhere" which also happens to be the essence of the Tibetan Book of the Dead as I recall.

As for the transitional state, yes it does sound inconsistent with Theravada, but to what extent does this affect your practice? Tibetan schools hold varying positions on anatta, some very similar to Theravada, some somewhat different. Generally in Mahayana there is that talk of Buddha nature which some mistake for atta, but it's not. It's another term for the enlightened perspective which is seen to be everpresent but obscured by delusion. Whether this resonates or not, is often the reason why we stick with one tradition over another. But a better reason might be the quality of the available teacher, perhaps.
_/|\_

Nyana
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Nyana » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:19 am


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Ben
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Ben » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:31 am

“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

plwk
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Re: Bardo?

Postby plwk » Mon Sep 20, 2010 1:43 am


Paññāsikhara
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:33 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:37 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

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Dan74
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:41 am

Very educational - thank you, especially Paññāsikhara and Ñāṇa! :bow: :bow: :bow:

Source bias is indeed huge, on the other hand there is plenty for lazy sods like me to sink their teeth into. But not to pretend to have broad knowledge for sure!

PS with the regards to the conflict between the intermediate state and Theravada, my understanding was that Theravada believe that rebirth was instantaneous and that mental factors could not be supported with the body being dead. Is that not so?

PPS I see it's just been answered!
Last edited by Dan74 on Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
_/|\_

Paññāsikhara
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:41 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

Paññāsikhara
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:27 am
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:43 am

My recently moved Blog, containing some of my writings on the Buddha Dhamma, as well as a number of translations from classical Buddhist texts and modern authors, liturgy, etc.: .

plwk
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Re: Bardo?

Postby plwk » Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:45 am


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Lazy_eye
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Re: Bardo?

Postby Lazy_eye » Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:09 am



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