Teachings on the Bardos given by H.H.Dudjom Rinpoche

This was provided by Rinpocheteaching, California in 1980.

First is the bardo of birth and life; second, the bardo of meditation; 
third, the bardo of dreaming; fourth, the bardo of death 
and dying; fifth, the bardo of the true nature; and sixth, the bardo
 of becoming.
These six can be abridged to four: the bardo of birth 
and life, the bardo of death and dying, the bardo of true nature,
 and the bardo of becoming. Of these four the bardo of birth and
 life is most important because right now we all have a precious
 human birth with the eighteen endowments.

We have available 
to us teachers who are to a certain degree well qualified, and the
teaching we receive is a wish-fulfilling jewel, the very precious 
teaching of the sutras and tantras. It is rare to have such a precious opportunity. Don’t waste your timewhen you have everything going for you.

First, you should contemplate the significance of the four
thoughts that can turn the mind from the futility of samsara. Train
 your mind again and again by returning to that contemplation.
 Combine this with a deep, heart-felt devotion to the three jewels 
and the three roots, which are brought into one state in your root
 teacher who is the embodiment of three kinds of kindness and 
inseparable from Guru Padmasambhava. What is devotion? It is 
having joy and appreciation for your opportunities, for the lama
 and the dharma.

What are these four thoughts? First, think how difficult it is to 
obtain the freedoms and endowments of the precious human
 body. Second, consider how life and compounded things are
 impermanent. Third, recognize the inexorability of karma, of
 results invariably following from causes. Fourth, observe that
 none of the three realms of cyclic existence is beyond trouble and 
suffering. The main point of this contemplation is to reduce 
attachment and grasping to the activities of samsara.

Then begin the practices of the extraordinary ngondro.
Knowing the supreme qualities of the three jewels and thoroughly
 understanding the difficulties of samsara, take refuge with clarity
 and a profound aspiration to achieve the state of buddhahood
 beyond samsara.

It is imperative to develop unshakable 
bodhichitta to benefit all the limitless numbers of sentient beings
 who have experienced uninterrupted difficulties throughout all their lifetimes. Develop unconditional love and compassion to 
liberate all beings from suffering. Again and again practice
 “wishing bodhichitta” and “performing bodhichitta” according to
your capability, combining it with emptiness meditation.

To achieve the dharmakaya and the rupakayaenlightenment,
 we must remove the two obscurations, and this can be 
accomplished by accumulating both merit and wisdom. There are
 many methods of accumulation, but one that is simple and brings
 big results is the mandala offering practice. The means to instantly
 destroy all faults,

downfalls, and obscurations is to meditate on
 Vajrasattva, who is lord of all the families of deities, and to recite 
the hundred-syllable mantra, the king of the secret mantras. To
remove obscurations and increase merit quickly, the ultimate 
essence of the vajrayana path is guru yoga combined with
 meditation on shamatha and vipashana. Whoever follows these 
practices is making their life more meaningful, and therefore, the
 bardo of birth and life is more meaningful.

As I said, this bardo of birth and life is so very important. If 
you can recognize this bardo as nothing more than a dream and a
 magical display and combine that recognition with uncontrived
bodhichitta born from your heart, then you will master this bardo
of birth and life. When you master the bardo of birth and life, you
 will master all the other bardos. And if you achieve that, you will
 have become a great hero or heroine, not frightened by birth,
sickness, old age, and death. Then there will be no need for special
 instructions concerning the bardo of death and dying.

However, to make sure the bardo of death and dying will be a
 journey under your control, make sure right now you really
 understand that the time of death is uncertain, the cause of death 
is uncertain, and life is impermanent. Because compounded
 things are not free from the fourendings, they are impermanent. Therefore, the end of gathering is dissipation, the end of building
up is falling down, the end of birth is death, and the end coming 
together is separating.

Therefore regard everything you see in
 samsara as dreamlike. Your current circle of closest friends is as 
fleeting as acquaintances bumping into each other at a fair. It’s all
one big magic show. It was like that in the past, it’s like that now,
and in the future it will be the same. Why be troubled by fear and
 attachment? It won’t help.

Therefore, think, “I will never be afraid
 or attached” and keep on thinking it as often as you can in this, your current life. Then make offerings of all your belongings,
 including your body, to the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten 
directions, particularly to Amitabha.

Just as you would plan for a
 trip, plan for your death, considering how and where you’ll go.
 Your destination isDewachen; your conveyance is togal, trekcho, 
and phowapractice; your attitude, without any fear or sadness, is 
joyful and confident. Now, when you possess vitality and all your
 faculties, is the time to practice generosity, giving as much as you 
can to others, thereby accumulating merit.

If you can’t do this
 now, how will you do it when death is near? You’ll be sick and
 your mind scattered. Your feelings of attachment to and worry
 about your life, loved ones, and possessions will be even more 
intense when you have no alternative but to leave everything as it
 currently stands. To avoid that eventuality, prepare now, perform
virtuous activities, ensure that you have no fears and regrets.

 we all have the great fortune to receive these clear light, Dzogchen
teachings, and if you practice them with joyful effort and
commitment, you can in this very lifetime achieve the level of a
vidyadhara. If that level is not attained, then at the very least your
mind will be clear, stable, and relaxed at the time of death.

Rehearse your lama’s instructions once more like an actress 
glancing at herself in the mirror just before going on stage, then
 die with a smile of joy and confidence. With courage born of an 
unshakable view allow the dissolving stages to gradually occur, 
and you will have the fortunate opportunity to be liberated in the
 dharmakaya or thesambhogakaya. Thus, he thoroughly presented the teachings.
From LIGHT OF FEARLESS INDESTRUCTIBLE WISDOM: The Life and Legacy of His Holiness Dudjom Rinpoche

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