So bardo is reminding you that what is disappearing was a dream. And it is very easy when death is coming to see your life as a dream. What else can it be? It is just as if you are waking up in the morning; and the whole night you have lived so much, so many dreams – you may have lived years in the night – but bardo reminds you that it was a dream. It has to be done by a very evolved being – a lama, a master – and he insists that it is time to realize that it was a dream; that you are not dying, only the dream is broken.
And while you are being shifted from one dream to another, the gap is of tremendous importance because in that gap there is no dream – there is simple clarity, absolute clarity, awareness. So the second point to be reminded of is: don’t miss the gap.
And the third thing: don’t miss the entry into the womb. Then you have accomplished something which people need lives to work on.
The person is just falling into deep silence and death is descending. And he is listening to these words from someone he has loved, he has trusted, from someone whom he cannot imagine would deceive him – only then is it meaningful. It won’t work from just anybody. The bardo is available, all the instructions are available, but it is possible only through someone whom you have respected, honored, trusted, loved.
In this critical moment a small doubt about what the person is saying will destroy the whole thing – then the bardo has been futile. But if you don’t miss and you follow the instructions, you are laying a foundation for a new life which will be a totally different life. It will be your last life, because anybody who is dying consciously – who uses the gap to have a taste of absolute purity, enters into the womb alert, is born alert – his enlightenment is guaranteed by nature. He has the seed, the foundation.
So bardo is a simple process, but it can be helpful only to those who have meditated a little, who have been with a master, who have once in a while tasted the silence, the presence, and the beauty of being in the moment. They become capable.
Bardo is the greatest contribution Tibet has made to the world. Tibet has not contributed anything else. It is a poor country, far away from the world – the roof of the world – unapproachable. Even today it is very difficult to reach Tibet.
Tibet developed meditation through Buddhist influence and finally became the only country in history where everybody was meditating, where meditation was a normal phenomenon. Every family had to give at least one of its members – someone who was ready – to a monastery, to meditate totally. So from every family at least one member went from each generation.
Almost the whole country of Tibet became a monastery. Just as Russia has become a concentration camp, Tibet became a monastery. There were hundreds of monasteries in the mountains, in beautiful places. Every family had contributed someone who was truly interested in seeking. It was the only place where people were encouraged to go on the search; it had become part of the style of the whole country.