It truly was an honor to be able to interview Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche. His book entitled “Mind Beyond Death” is wonderfully written about the Buddhist culture and the levels of transition we make in preparation to death. The Rinpoche speaks in this interview about the concept of the “bardo” which is the intermediary state and has become the catchphrase in Buddhist circles. As the Rinpoche says this book is as much about life as it is about death.
There is a level of existence that is experienced between death and birth, and according to the Buddhist there are three levels: the existence of death, the existence of birth, and the existence of what lies in between the two. The Rinpoche encourages the readers to reverse their attachment to the appearances of this life and extract the most meaningful essence from their precious human existence.
I love the examples that the Rinpoche uses in the book, he explains that the moment we step outside our house and close the door, we begin to leave our life behind. We say goodbye to family and friends and to the familiar rooms and routines that we inhabit. We might feel regret mixed with excitement as we climb into the taxi and that will take us to the airport. As our vision of home recedes, we are both sadly parted and joyfully released from all that defines us. The further we go from home the more focused we become on our next destination. We think less of home and more about where we are going. We begin to look at a new map; we start to think about where we will land, about the new people, new customs and new environment–the new set of experiences to come.
Until we reach our destination, we are in transit–in between two points. One world has dissolved, like last nights dream, and the next has not yet arisen. In this space, there is a sense of total freedom: we are free from the business of being our ordinary selves; we are not tied to the day-to-day world and its demands in quite the same way. There is a sense of freshness and appreciation of the present moment.
This interview with Rinpoche is an enlightening dialogue about life, death and the in between. We discuss our fears, and how to learn to live in the moment without fear of our transition through death.
I know you are going to enjoy my interview with Rinpoche about his book entitled “Mind Beyond Death” If you would like to learn more about his teaching you can visit the his website by clicking here or you can visit the website of the Nalanda West Center for American Buddhism where he teaches.