COMMENTARY TO THE BONPO BOOK OF THE DEAD
- The Wheel of the Time of the Bardo
- The fourth cycle of teaching found in this text concerns the time of the onset of the Bardo experience after death (bar-do dus kyi 'khor-lo). The description in the preceding cycle of teaching concerning the mystical anatomy and physiology of the human body, which is the foundation for the practice of vision both in sunlight and in the dark retreat, pertains to the preparations made in advance during one's lifetime for death and the Bardo experience. Just as may be the case in practice, both with sunlight and with total darkness, following upon the onset of the Bardo after physical and psychical death, the archetypal sacred visions of the celestial hierarchies of Nirvana may be experienced in the Bardo of the Clear Light of Reality (bon-nyid 'od-gsal gyi bar-do) and then the profane visions of the various destinies of rebirth in Samsara will be experienced. However, it is likely that the experience of the Clear Light after death will occur so rapidly, almost instantaneously like a flash of lightning, that the individual will fail to recognize it unless one has done practice during one's life time, including both Dzogchen and Tantric practice. So, not every deceased consciousness will experience this Bardo of the Clear Light. That is the reason why prior preparation and practice during the course of one's lifetime is so important. And failing to recognize the Clear Light of Reality, or even to catch a brief glimpse of it, the stream of consciousness flows relentlessly onward, driven on by its individual karma, into the experiences of the Bardo of Existence (srid-pa'i bar-do).
COMMENTARY TO THE BONPO BOOK OF THE DEAD, John Myrdhin Reynolds, http://vajranatha.com/excerpt/BonpoBookoftheDead.htm