Chapter 3: Just Like the Open Sky
This is the whole process of the bardo. Only in Tibet have they developed the art of dying. While the whole world has been trying to develop the art of living, Tibet is the only country in the world which has developed the whole science and art of dying. They call it the bardo.
If you had told the person, “This is good that you have taken one step, you are out of the physical body; but now you have got identified with the psychological body. You are not even that; you are only awareness, a pure consciousness, a perceptivity..” If you could have helped the person to understand that he is neither this body nor that body, but something bodiless, formless, a pure consciousness, then his death would have been a totally different phenomenon.
You saw the change of energy; you would have seen another change of energy. You saw silence descending; you would have seen music also, a certain dancing energy also, a certain fragrance filling the whole space. And the man’s face would have shown a new phenomenon - the aura of light.
If he had taken the second step also, then his death would have been the last death. In the bardo they call it “the great death,” because now he will not be born into another form, into another imprisonment; now he will remain in the eternal, in the oceanic consciousness that fills the whole universe.
So remember it - it may happen to many of you. You may be with a friend or with a relative, your mother, your father. While they are dying, help them to realize two things: first, they are not the physical body - which is very simple for a dying man to recognize. Second - which is a little difficult, but if the man is able to recognize the first, there is a possibility of the second recognition too - that you are not even the second body; you are beyond both the bodies. You are pure freedom and pure consciousness.
If he had taken the second step, then you would have seen a miracle happening around him - something, not just silence, but something more alive, something belonging to eternity, to immortality. And all of you who were present there would have been overwhelmed with gratitude that this death has not been a time of mourning, but it has become a moment of celebration.
If you can transform a death into a moment of celebration, you have helped your friend, your mother, your father, your brother, your wife, your husband. You have given them the greatest gift that is possible in existence. And close to death it is very easy. The child is not even worried about life or death; he has no concern. The young man is too much involved in biological games, in ambitions, in becoming richer, in becoming powerful, in having more prestige; he has no time to think of eternal questions.
But at the moment of death, just before death is going to happen, you don’t have any ambition. And whether you are rich or poor makes no difference; whether you are a criminal or a saint makes no difference. Death takes you beyond all discriminations of life and beyond all stupid games of life.