The purpose of this gallery is to honor the art and artists who have assisted us visually on this journey.
Overview — Bardo of Dying

This bardo presents the single greatest of opportunity for liberation - which becomes more difficult in subsequent bardos. The actively dying process culminates with the dissolution of elements- which has an obvious impact on the physical and mental bodies. After external death (cessation of breathing) the internal death process begins. This can typically take up to three days- and this is why it can be important not to disturb the body of the practitioner. If the dying being has practiced Phowa or has Phowa done on his/her behalf by a qualified Lama this time can be an opportunity for liberation into a pure realm such as Amitabha’s Dewachen or Guru Rinpoche’s Copper Colored Mountain (Zandog Palri).

During the dissolution process contemplative caregivers can provide assistance with purification (vajrasattva) mantra and tonglen. Qualified caregivers might also provide assistance with verbal assurance and instruction.

The internal death, from which there is no coming back, takes place when the white and red bindus meet in the heart center. This has been referred to as the merging of consciousness with space. The white bindu (male energy) descends from the crown of the head to the heart center. There is a vision akin to unequalled pure moonlight in a dark sky. The red bindu (female energy) ascends from below the navel to the heart- and there is a red tinged vision akin to the brightest autumn day. When these two bindus meet there is blackout. This blackout embodies the final dissolution of any trace of duality.

At this moment the Clear Light will appear for all sentient beings.This is a state of pure awareness—vivid luminious clarity. But for most this appearance lasts but an instant - they don’t recognize it and swoon into the Bardo of Death.

Practitioners who have not squandered their time may recognize the light- and unite with it. Some texts suggest that the union with the ground luminosity may last up to five times longer (samadhi days) than one has as been able to stabilize their recognition in the Bardo of Living. For some this might be five seconds or five minutes, and for some it might be five hours. The longer one’s stabilization and recognition – the greater the opportunity for liberation. For the most accomplished siddhis, the heart area stays warm days after external death- because in this space they are simply resting with ground luminosity.

return to bardo of dying