Aug 6, 2023
What lessons could a centuries-old Tibetan book hold about living life in the modern era? Turns out, some really important ones.
President of the Jigme Lingpa Center and creator of the Meditation Pro Series, Mordy Levine & Vajrayana Buddhist teacher and director of the Jigme Lingpa Center, Lama Lhanang Rinpoche, join me in this episode to share lessons from the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This text is full of wisdom and guidance for masters to walk people through life, death, and rebirth.
Listen in to hear what Tibetan wisdom has to say about all things karma - working on your karma in preparation for dying, creating karma for yourself, how it manifests in your next life, and more!
Topics We Discuss:
[1:02] Handling difficult situations. Everything is impermanent, good and bad. Living in the moment and remembering the impermanence of everything will bolster your resilience.
[3:03] What is the Tibetan Book of the Dead? A Buddhist book written in the 8th century. It was originally only taught to advanced practitioners. It was translated (not very well) to English about 100 years ago and is very dense with teachings. It is hard to understand if you don’t have a deep understanding of Tibetan Buddhism. The core of the book is for practitioners to be able to lead their students through the dying process and afterlife for them to have an auspicious rebirth.
[4:54] Do we have to be actively dying to use this wisdom? Preparing now is the best way because death can come at any time. Focus on the present.
[7:43] Working on your karma in preparation for death. Learn to enjoy the present moment every day instead of wanting for more to die in peace. You can work on your karma to change it in this life. We have to start with our minds, speech, and actions.
[15:08] When are we creating karma for ourselves? In moments when we want to react in a negative or harmful way toward others, we have a choice. If someone yells at you, you can either yell at them or respond with compassion. Our thoughts can create negative karma for us. Try reframing your thoughts.
[26:37] How does karma manifest in our next life? The way you are today affects who you are tomorrow. The things on your heart when you die will carry over to the afterlife and to your next life.
[28:50] Choosing your next life. Anyone can choose their path. Some masters leave a letter to their students telling them how and who they’ll be reborn as so they can be found and brought back to the monastery to continue their studies. Regular people can choose to make better choices and create good karma going forward in life.
[40:39] How to know a reborn master is actually that same soul? Many children remember their past lives. High lamas can sometimes recognize each other and will do tests with objects of the deceased master to confirm identities. Some institutions carry out research on children and past lives.
[45:21] The Bardos. These are transitional dreamlike states between birth, death, and rebirth. A good lama can walk your consciousness through these. If you start working on your karma now, you can also go through it on your own without getting distracted by distortions of your mind and karma. Knowing how to walk through it is like lucid dreaming - you’re aware of what’s happening.
[47:52] How does the son of a Jewish rabbi turn into a Buddhist? Mordy found out as a teen that his father, a rabbi, had a Ph.D. studying death, dying, and mourning. He shared this interest with his father and began reading about NDEs and past lives until he knew that he couldn’t deny the existence of the afterlife and reincarnation. Eventually, his Orthodox Jewish mother asked him to teach her how to meditate when she was dying.
[52:13] “How we live is how we die.” Living in the present moment so we can shape our realities is the most important thing we can do for ourselves. Prioritizing peace and joy now sets us up to experience more of that in our current life, the afterlife, and beyond.
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CONNECT WITH MORDY LEVINE & LAMA LHANANG:
Find Mordy and the programs he offers on his website.
Find the Lama at the Jigme Lingpa Center.
Mordy and the Lama’s book, “The Tibetan Book of the Dead for Beginners: A Guide to Living and Dying” is available on Amazon. (affiliate)
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