Bardo is the name of the state that occurs after death. I’m not sure how the Buddhists get all their information, but the description of the state (or actually, series of states) is quite detailed. The state is described as confusing and scary for the normal person, but an advanced practitioner can use in depth knowledge of the state to optimize the experience and achieve enlightenment and avoid a forced rebirth.
While I am not an authority on the bardo, I have a basic understanding of what goes on. First, when you die, there are many visions and the like that can be confusing and scary. Typically the state of mind that was the predominant state during your lifetime and/or what occurred in your mind at the time of death will define what happens next. For this reason, I am used ThetaHealing soon after Chispa’s death to reach out to her with calm and comfort.
Chispa died in a terrifying experience. She also lead a life that was filled with fear. She was abandoned at an early age and did not have much security. However, she also knew the warmth and protection that I offered for four years. She had been becoming more comfortable with people and had many friends. My hope is that the “reign of terror” was over for her and that she would have an opportunity in the bardo to be reborn free of great fear.
Actually, one of the reasons that Buddhists believe euthanasia is detrimental is that they suspect it may prevent the animal or person from exhausting and completing the suffering of a particular cycle. The idea is that if you don’t get it done in this form, you will just need to come back and do it again. As much as I don’t like the sound of that, since we have better ways to complete karma these days then by “toughing it out”, I can appreciate its relative truth. It is possible that Chispa’s horrible death was really a blessing in that she realized her worse fear and perhaps in some way cleared it.
Another interesting thing about the bardo is that we are not formless. We actually take on a form that is similar to what we will be reborn as. If we are coming back as a human, our bardo body will be human like. However, it will be in miniature – not a baby, but the size of a child. The bardo body only lasts seven days. If we do not find a suitable rebirth situation, then we will be reborn in a second bardo body. This cycle can repeat seven times. Using earth time the longest amount of time someone can be in bardo is 49 days (seven times seven).
This means that every seven days after someone dies they have the possibility of a different rebirth. For instance, it seems to me that even if the first bardo body is “dog” the second one could be “human”. In addition, the transition between bardo bodies is a opportunity to realize truth and become enlightened.
How does rebirth happen? This is where the spacelessness nature of bardo comes in. Actually there is space, but bardo beings can move lightening fast. If two parents are copulating anywhere and they are a suitable match to the mind state of the bardo being then the bardo being is attracted to the activity and shows up in time to enter the womb and be born again. My understanding is the bardo being enters the womb due to it’s attraction and then is subsequently “trapped” there. Sure, we “choose” our parents, just not voluntarily.
Can I help Chispa in her bardo state? As a ThetaHealer Instructor, I regularly teach people how to talk to angels and deal with other beings in the unseen world. Geez, if I can do that, I figured I should be able to talk to Chispa’s bardo body. I gave it a shot.
I was able to make contact and I wasn’t talking to a dog anymore. It was promising that I felt in contact with a human. I got the sense that I would meet this “person” when they were in their late teens. I was actually glad the dog was dead and she was taking on a form with higher potential.
I’ve heard people talk about having a better relationship with people after they have died. I now have a better understanding of that possibility. Chispa was no longer limited by her dog persona. I didn’t have much in common with her when she was a dog. Now she was free of “dog” and in a sense wiser than me. She could finally appreciate all that meditation I had been doing.
I wondered if there was some type of practice I could do with her in theta that would get her enlightened rather than being reborn. What was possible? I was already dedicating everything I was doing to her enlightenment. While it is not possible to change her karma, it is possible to influence what seeds are ripening or her. If she is experiencing the security and calm of being with me, then she will naturally create a rebirth with a similar vibration even though there was the potential of a fearful rebirth.
Since our thoughts influence the environment which a deceased being is immersed in, it is very important for us to think positive. This is the reason that it is not good to let grieving and remorse linger. Our prayers and offerings have a direct effect on the mental environment and can benefit our deceased friends.