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Home Archives Tibetan Beliefs On Death and Beyond – Part 1 of 2

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What happens after the body turns into a corpse? Where do “we” go? The Tibetan Buddhist have what they feel is the answer. Most people believe that Buddhist believe in reincarnation of the soul and a new, young, fresh body and another life. This is wrong. Buddhists believe that the energy produced by the mental and physical activities of a being brings about the apparition of a new mental and physical phenomena, when this, “once being” has been dissolved by death.

An interesting statement used by the Lamaists, for most of us is a puzzle that requires some contemplation: “He who knows how to go about it could live comfortably, even in hell.” 

The explanation of this statements is what the lamas mean by “thabs," or as westerners would understand, “ the method.” Lamaists think that as well as learning how to live, we also must learn how to die and how to do well in other worlds. 

What is it that goes on after the body turns into a corpse? The answer to this question according to several distinguished Lamaists is the “consciousness “ of the “I” or in other words, it is our “will to live.” The mystic is a person who has mastered the “science of death.” A mystic is able to keep his mind alert as his personality and his spark of life leaves his body and allows the “I” to pass into the next world, fully conscious. As this is the case, there is no need for any last rites of religion nor the help of anyone in a person’s last hours. 

The Lama assisting a dying person to die properly is careful to keep him awake and to stop him from fainting or falling into a coma. He points out to the dying person the successive departure of the special consciousness attached to each sense. He will speak of the diminishing eyesight, the lack of smell, the lack of taste, the lack of hearing and finally the body is the last thing to leave. The final task of the Lama is to make the “I” spring out of its envelope through the top of the head; for if the “I’ leaves by any other opening, the future well-being of the person will be jeopardized.

The extraction of the “I” is produced by the ritualistic cry of Hik! Followed by Phat!

Before speaking these words, the Lama must concentrate his thought to be in tune with the person who just died. He must make the effort that the person should have made for himself to cause his “I” to ascend to the summit of the skull with enough force to produce the fissure through which it can escape.

Mystics who have this ability can commit suicide in this way. Those Initiates who can rise the “I” for themselves will do so when they feel their life’s ending approaching and the cries of Hik! And Phat are their final words. They are able to free themselves without help.

The “I” then begins its strange journey and the answers to, “Where Do We Go When We Die?"

(To be continued on June 20, 2005…)

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