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How it is to be really dead

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Article III

How it is to be really dead


The Egyptian ‘Book of the Emerging into the Light’ deals with the judgment of the soul during and after death. Anubis, a jackal headed divinity, leads the soul of the departed human safely through the dark recesses of the after-death

Thoth as Divine Scribe

Thoth as Divine Scribe

world, and brings him to the place where he will meet his higher self, his true jīva, named Osiris. In the presence of long rows of karmic assessors the heart (i.e. soul) of the defunct is put on the scale of a balance against the feather of truth on the other scale. If his soul be as pure as truth itself, the soul may move on to spiritual life and esoteric knowledge through many gateways towards ultimately conscious immortality. Everything is written down by Thoth, the ibis-headed god of spiritual discernment, science and secret knowledge.  The text being very positive and apparently meant as a lucid example for good people rather than as a threat towards the evil or as yet imperfect side of life, in the texts the soul always succeeds. However next to the balance waits the triple monster Ammit, which will devour the heart of those who were not pure during their life on earth. The monster consists of three animal characters in one, characteristic of the major sins against the spirit: a crocodile head, a lion body and a hippopotamus’s hind part. Those who are devoured by the monster are thrown back into wandering cyclic existence.

Anubis and Ammit at the balance

Anubis and Ammit at the balance

As soon as one dies, i.e. when the sequence of processes and experiences belong to the process of dying described in the previous article are completed – that is when one has totally separated oneself from the physical body – one takes on another body (within a split second, according to Jainism.) Theosophy Jainism as well as Buddhism teach that this body consists of subtle matter and appears immediately. It can and does change form and color continuously and can pass through all material objects. There are no physical obstructions and it can pass through mountains or walls as if non-existent, because this subtle matter has a different frequency and different properties compared to the physical. The Tibetan Bardo Thodol says clearly that the mind is present and active as well as the sense organs belonging to that subtle body. Probably the experience is quite different from mind and perception as we are used to, still it is we ourselves. The forms and colors of these beings reflect their inner moods, and these can be evil and unpleasant or good and pleasant. Jainism, for example, recognizes 8,400,000 hells together situated in seven layers of increasing gloom downwards in which beings can exist, and 63 types of heavens of increasing fortune and wisdom. Other eligions reflect the same basic idea. Hells and heavens are states of consciousness and well-being rather than places, but of course a body may be said to occupy a place in the realms build of subtle matter. Symbolically the hells may be situated below and the heavens above the ‘middle world’ or mundane existence, the plane on which we live our physical lives and do our work. Of course the deeper the hell, the darker the color and the greater the misery, and the opposite applies to the heavens. All suffering as well as wisdom is the product of the mind during life and its choices. Violent thought and action and all other immoralities leads to manifestation of the disharmony from nature’s spiritual laws before a nude and defenseless consciousness, because of the absence of physical matter. The same is true for all negative thoughts when these have been prevailing during life. Positive spiritual effort and ethical life, restraint of lower physical and mental tendencies and impulses, lead the passed-away human being to an existence as a god for a long time, and enjoy superior semi-spiritual or spiritual enjoyments according to one’s merit and development. But the gods of Jainism and Buddhism are of a lower nature than the fully accomplished human who has conquered every illusion, even the divine illusions. Both in Jainism and Buddhism there is no God or creator above the perfected human – who is pure by his bery essence. However in Mahayana Buddhism, Theosophy and various ancient religions hierarchies of beings such as Dhyāni Chohans, Dhyāni Bodhisattvas and Dhyāni Buddhas, who have passed the human stage in the far past, and are taught to exist in infinite hierarchies beyond the perfected humans or buddhas. Five Dhyāni Buddhas (five manifested, two still to come, according to the esoteric teachings of Theosophy, because each of them presides over one of seven great cycles) play a crucial role in the state between death and rebirth for those who undergo the highest occult initiations as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

The Dhyāni-Buddha Amitābha

The Dhyāni-Buddha Amitābha

The Tibetan teachings pay special attention to the various phases or opportunities of spiritual recognition after death. The clear light of bliss which is the actual last phase of the dying proces is said to take 3½ days on average, bur may be shorter or longer. For average people, all those who are not high yogi’s, the consciousness faints before entering the clear light, and awakens only when the period of recognitions is over.

The Bardo Thodol describes the tests and opportunities between death and rebirth (physical or mystical) Though it is the habit in Tibet to read the 49 phases in 49 days near the ear of the deceased person, hoping to remind him of the illusionary nature of all phenomena which are all but creations of one’s own mind-consciousness, the dead person will receive little result from it when he does not recognize the true nature of what his accompanying monk or expert is reading or reciting. In popular belief one can reach final enlightenment (nirvāa or moka) by just listening to the text after death, even when the last life has been quite sinful. The person having left his body by natural death by occult initiation is facing many opportunities to become a Buddha right away, i.e. within 49 days. But one has to be acquainted with the text and the deities beforehand and to have meditated upon them to be able to recognize them. This by itself excludes perhaps some 99% of the world population outside the Tibetan tradition – and this can hardly have been the intention of a Universal Order of Compassion. But even among the Tibetans, how many have real understanding about the inner realms of one’s consciousness and how these are derived from the ruling deities of the great cycles of the evolution of life during the existence of our whole planet – who have realized the difference between Truth and illusion millions or billions of years ago by reaching their human nirvāa, and have proceeded spiritually since that time? Only when one has consciously understood all that can be learned in the human worlds and then can transcend all mental fetters and karmic limitations by recognition of the spiritual Truth of which all phenomena are but reflections, can one reach enlightenment.

The reward for success in recognizing this during the clear light at death or one of the subsequent 49 phases is instant Buddhahood. The clear light of death gives the adept in meditation the opportunity to take on the dharmakāya, and from then on he will no longer reincarnate and be part of the cycles of birth and death or joy and misery. He then becomes an arhat and may enter – ‘selfishly’ – the highest state of bliss possible in the universe for the rest of the cycle without paying further attention to those still struggling on the path. It is indeed ‘the great dying’ for and from the world, if one does not choose the path of compassion. But the initiant does not have to make this choice. When he has true compassion for all living beings (including humans, gods, and subhuman beings), the ‘buddha-body of emanation’ or nirmāakāya arises spontaneously from the expanse of the dharmakāya whenever appropriate, in accordance with the diverse dispositions of sentient beings. The nirmāakāya can appear to selected pupils (who can see them) if he decides so, or at particular opportunities visibly before pupils or before people having high (from the point of view of decision-making for the benefit of humanity) positions in society at important karmic moments. Thus they can, for example, inspire such persons to prevent wars, or ‘prevent worse’ when the receiver takes it seriously.

As soon as the non-fainted consciousness has passed through the ‘clear light of bliss’ without reaching nirvāa, it separates from the body and is reborn by a reversal of the death process described above. The deceased person experiences the ‘autumn-sky’ visions described in the previous article again in the opposite order, and regains all the mentalities of conceptions left behind during the dying process. The only difference with ‘normal’ rebirth is that the new body is subtle, not coarse physical. But it has all senses and mind there – astrally, not physically of course. One can even see one’s own dead body if it is still there, and the friends and family around it, the Tibetan texts say. But whatever the dead person may try, physical communication of the departed soul with them is impossible.

The initiant or ‘dead’ person is now going to be tested as to the state of spiritual discrimination or understanding one has reached. He will be confronted with all his karmas built up in the past, for good as well as for bad, and he has to see the illusionary (i.e, ’empty’) nature of all these. One enters or is born in the first of the 49 intermediate states (bardo) between death and rebirth1 and undergoes a vision of spiritual truth represented by one of five (or seven) Dhyāni Buddhas. Those Buddhas … manifest themselves in their specific pure lands.2 in their sambhogakāyas. These pure lands or abodes are created for the benefits of others. In those lands it is easy to hear and practice the higher (esoteric) religion. A person can be reborn in such a pure land by “the transfer of some of the huge stock of ‘merit’ of a Land’s presiding Buddha, stimulated by devout prayer (cf. Wikipedia).)) The vision is experienced as a blinding bright colored light (recognition) of Truth, and the derived worldly illusion (a dim light). The last is the totality of his karma and habit. The unprepared ego will immediately shy away from the too bright Truth and will embrace its illusion, just as one usually does during physical life – thus spoiling his chance to escape rebirth and live in a pure land in his sambhogakāya. Truth is too much for the impure and ignorant consciousness to handle. One is unable yet to stand face to face with one’s true inner self. If one can though, one will be immediately reborn in one of the pure lands and stay there for innumerable years and not be reborn on Earth.. The vesture one takes on is the sambhogakāya((The second and intermediate robe, the sambhogakāya, often translated as ‘Enjoyment Body’ or the vesture of sambhoga – delightful participation – is that lofty ethereal body in which a Buddha or a god may partake of a certain portion of the wisdom and bliss and repose of nirvāa and the freedom from earthly concerns and at the same time retain his self-consciousness as an individual. In this vehicle a Buddha can appear in an “enjoyment-body” to teach bodhisattvas through visionary experiences. According to tradition, those skilled in meditation, such as advanced Tibetan lamas and yogis, as well as other highly realized Buddhists, may gain access to the sambhogakāyas and receive direct transmission of doctrine.))

If one fails, which is only due to one’s own build-up karma, one dies again via the above described processes (except the physical) and then one is reborn in the second ‘day’ and gets a new opportunity. The first is the highest, and can only be recognized by those who have become the most accomplished souls through long experience. One gets another change, but on a little bit lower level. If one fails, then another. Thus you can maximum go to seven times seven classes (=49) of bardo states before you are reborn in one of the realms of existence or gatis. All of these 1 to 49 opportunities makes one into a sambhogakāya. The nirmāakāya, which the mahātma of compassion chooses to take on during the clear-light mediation, being the lowest of the three kayas or ‘buddha-bodies’ is a very lofty being who has learned all that a human soul can learn, who does not have to incarnate anymore, and remains as a helpful agent for the world close by the visible realm. Such beings are such as the bodhisattvas or mahatmas or ‘masters’ of Theosophy. A sambhogakāya is taken on by very highly developed beings3. The Tibetan Book of the Dead states that when one takes one of the opportunities, one will enter nirvāṇa. This is probably true, but it is clear that this can not be so easy for the average mortal man in the present stage of evolution as to whisper some verses in a dead man’s ear. It would apply only to the highest yogi’s.


The average personal human consciousnesses is then born in two worlds, says Theosophy: in kāmaloka (kāmadhatu) and/ or in devachan (a rūpaloka), first in the one, then in the second, due to the various types of karma created during the last physical life and that depends on the lower or the higher mental tendencies one has nurtured during physical life. Both are clad in various grades of subtle matter which accompanies the jīva during life and death, and in these are the storehouse of all the good en bad power in man. “The Auric Egg, reflecting all the thoughts, words and deeds of man is: (a) the preserver of every karmic record; (b) The storehouse of all the good and bad powers in man, receiving and giving out at his will – nay, at his very thought – every potentiality, which becomes, then and there, an acting potency: this aura is the mirror in which sensitives and clairvoyants sense and perceive the real man, and see him as he is, not as he appears; and (c) As it furnishes man with his astral form, around which the physical entity models itself, first as a foetus, then as a child and man, the astral growing apace with the human being, so it furnaces him during his life, if an Adept, with his māyāvi-rūpa [Literally his ‘illusion-form’, not his nirmāakāya, which term has sometimes also been translated with ‘illusion body’ in other literature – Ed.] … ; and after death, with his devachanic entity and kāmarupa4 In the former case, that of the devachanic entity, the [reincarnating] Ego, in order to be able to go into a state of bliss, as the ‘I’ of its immediately preceding incarnation, has to be clothed (metaphorically speaking) with the spiritual elements of the ideas, aspirations and thoughts of the now disembodied personality; otherwise, what is it that enjoys bliss and rewards? … it must be the good karmic records of the deceased, impressed upon the auric substance, which furnish the human soul with just enough of the spiritual elements of the ex-personality to enable it to still believe itself that body from which it has just been severed, and to receive its fruition, during a more or less prolonged period of ‘spiritual gestation.’ For devachan is a ‘spiritual gestation’ within an ideal matrix state, that ends in the new birth of the Ego into the world of [joyful] Effects (the Devachanic state). [So not on earth, which is the world of causes] [Only after devachan is ended follows] the next terrestrial birth …” (H.P. Blavatsky, Esoteric Instruction III, in: Collected Writings XII: 608-609.

As most people live both in their higher and in their lower minds during their life on earth, his ‘in between’ (bardo) can not only exist of ‘hell’ or of ‘heaven’, and both are limited to the time needed for the karmic energies on that level to work out. There is nothing like an eternal hell orr heaven.

As said, first most of us will experience kama-loka, the world of desires. Normally these are not extreme and not very evil, and kāma-loka will not be very intense. But is they were extreme and truly evil, selfish, sadistic and what not during life, kāma-loka can be very intense and be regarded as the darkest or most torturous of hells. Our thoughts and feelings become our torturing monsters, and in that darkness we lack the wisdom to see the self-created, empty, illusionary nature off them.

The subtle matter or our auric substance will than serve to compose the kāma-rupa, desire-form. In that case “it is from the animal dregs of the auric envelop, with its daily karmic record of animal life, so full of animal desires and selfish aspirations, that it is furnished.”

The liga śarira that served as the model of the physical body has dissipated shortly after death, “and astral entity then has to be created (a new liga śarira provided) to become the bearer of all the past taṇhās [karmic elements or elementals, sometimes (like in Jainism) called ‘the karmas’] and future karma. How is this accomplished? The [kāma-rupa] fades out and also vanishes in its turn as an entity or full image of the personality that was, and leaves in the kāma-lokic world of effects only the records of the misdeeds and sinful thoughts and acts.” This fading out “is accomplished in more or less time, according to the degree that the personality (whose dregs it now is) was spiritual or material. If spirituality prevailed, then the larva, ‘spook,’ will fade out very soon; but if it were very materialistic, the kāmarupa may last centuries and – even survived with the help of some of the scattered skandhas (‘germs of karmic effects’) which are all transformed in time into elements.” It is these tahic elementals “which – upon entering into the composition of the ‘astral form’ of the new body, into which the ego, on its quitting the devachanic state, is to eenter according to karmic decree – from that new astral entity which is born within the auric envelop [which never dies – Ed.] and of which it is often said, ‘karma with its army of skandhas, waits at the treshold of devachan. For no sooner is the devachanic state of reward ended, than the Ego is indissobly united with (or rather follows in the track of) the new astral form. Both are karmically propelled towards the family or woman from which is to be born the animal child chosen by karma to become the vehicle of the ego which has just awakened from the devachanic state. Then the new astral form, composed partly of the pure ākāśic essence of the auric ‘egg,’ and partly of the terrstrial elements of the punishable sins and misdeeds of the last personality, is drawn into the woman. Once there, nature models the model of flesh around the astral, …” (Ibid. p. 609)

Until that time ‘we’ have the opportunity to win nirvāa and go to a ‘heaven,’ or rather a ‘pure land.’ (not devachan, because devachan is still a (lofty) illusion. As said, this is only for high yogis. Of average people, according Theosophy, every departed soul has to go the struggle (which is almost always won), called by her in her Esoteric Instruction nr. III ‘gestation period before birth in devachan‘ This will lead to either entering ‘devachan‘ or not so. There are many levels in devachan, the highest very close to nirvāṇa5

When one has no merit at all to enter devachan, one will normally be quickly reborn into human physical existence and experience no devachan. Failure at all of the 7×7 opportunities to reach nirvāa may leads to immediate rebirth in the physical realm, but usually in one of the other gatis, including kāmaloka – the desire-worlds of which there are as many as there are individuals – or long-lasting god-realms. The gatis, esoterically, include all realms of cyclic existence for all living beings, including the gati of the nirmāakāyas who remain in cyclic existence by compassionate choice. Exoterically some are heavens, some hells, one is animal and one is human. The personal consciousness then resides first in kāmaloka, in which it is clad in a kāmarupa, an appropriate astral form or body, and after that in devachan. When one dies in kāmaloka, ‘only’ records of his or her record of their misdeeds and sinful thoughts remain. The karmas which prevent or allow spiritual recognition in one of the 49 bardos seem to be equivalent to one’s stage of evolution, because the pure lands are presided over by the Dhyāni Buddhas of the various human and cosmic principles.

Buddhism teaches that each being since the beginning of its cycle starts in ignorance. Theosophy teaches the same, relatively, but each being inherently possesses the wisdom of his past. There would be a difference between the ignorance of an animal or that of a human – and between each individual human. Theosophy teaches, that there are seven dvīpas (islands, globes) for every planet (and that our physical, visible, Earth is the central one of the seven ‘Earth-dvīpas‘), and that every soul (= jīva, monad, reincarnating ego, or ātma-buddhi) successively embodies in seven subsequent ‘races’ or evolutionary phases on each dvīpa. The souls destined to become humans only receive a self-conscious mind after four and a half dvīpa. Before that moment or period in history, humans were like animals, like still mindless children. From that moment on only, emancipation or the reaching of human perfection is possible. But one has to go through every phase. Therefore as average half-way human beings as we are, we can impossible recognize all spiritual essences presented to us after death. Therefore we must reembody in one of the gatis or realms of existence to learn more instead of reaching omniscience with the option to enter nirvāṇa – and I suppose that this is the reason why we continue to incarnate and remain turning around in the cycle of joy and suffering or kālachakra, i.e. the time cycle.

Tibetan Buddhist bhavachakra with Chenrezigs in each of the six gatis

Tibetan Buddhist bhavachakra with Chenrezigs in each of the six gatis

The gatis or realms of rebirth are classed as four in Jainism: subhuman (animals, plants etc.); human, hellish and heavenly. It is depicted as a svastika. Buddhism has five or six gatis, depicted as a (five- or) six-spoked wheel (bhavachakra), adding insatiable ‘hungry ghosts’ (who were humans on earth) and often a semi-heaven where the demi-gods or ‘jealous gods’ live – comparable to the lower heavens in the Jain system. Theosophy has seven gatis in agreement with seven levels of consciousness non-nirvāṇic living beings from the lowest to the highest can be in. They include all beings which by karma or by voluntary choice remain within the cycle of existence, physically or not. They include the highest deities within the grant Order of Compassion. The explanations of the gatis in exoteric Buddhism are that they are several hells and heavens, the human and the animal kingdom. Only in the human stage one can reach emancipation from the cycle of mental illusion and rebirth. In the Buddhist system, in each of the gatis the god of compassion6 is present. In hell, for example, he carries a sacred book, so that one can start taking knowledge of religion even under the worst circumstances.

The ancient Quiche Maya of Atitlan (in present-day Guatemala) in their sacred book called Popol Vuh, described death and occult initiation (which are the same – the first without conscious control, the second with conscious control) by the dual mind (described as a twin) of man to be called by a messenger of the thirteen ‘evil’ lords or initiators into the underworld Xibalba, the terrible world or world of death. The lords carry the names of awful mortal diseases, or what we could call ‘karmic situations’. The twin knowingly obeys the call but fails even the first test and choose the wrong direction. Still they have to go through all the subsequent tests and fail them all, and finally they are killed by the lords, which are but the lower aspects keeping the human soul in check. The skull, representing mind, is put in a leafless tree, until much later, when they incarnate again, through the lap of an ‘disobedient’ curious daughter of the lords of the underworld. The lords of the underworld keep all people, on earth and below it, in check like tyrants, and suffering of disease and death continues indefinitely. The ‘skull’ reincarnates as two human children, who grow up, and develop higher cultures and ultimately chase their still living brothers, from their former life into the treetops and change them into moneys. Then again they are called to Xibalba, meet all the challenges, and overcome them. They survive, but then die voluntarily, and are then born as great magicians: the human mind is liberated from the fetters of the underworld which is ones own lower being.

Lords of Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld

Lords of Xibalba, the Mayan Underworld

Interestingly this same Popol Vuh7also describes the coming into existence of the dual universe from non-dual spirit-substance, and the dual God8 representing cosmic mind measures it out in four directions and then ‘creates’ the various stages of ecological evolution, in which every creature is given its destined place and duty, their niche. Thus they bring not only creatures into being, but also their ecology. After several failures to create humanity. The first effort simply dissipates like mud. Other failures can not speak, nor think, and tough they learn to use tools they are finally killed by their own tools. None of them can recognize their own divine origin. When the time has come – as determined by the reading of destiny in the presence of the appropriate gods, they create ‘modern’ humanity, who can think and recognize and listen to the gods.

Summarizing, Theosophy teaches that as humans we all multiple, composed, beings, and have various monads or jīvas: an animal one, a human one, a spiritual one and a divine one (actually there are seven). As said above, after human death the human ego of the human monad (i.e. ‘we’) has to face a realm or situation called kāmaloka, a subtle realm where we reside in subtle bodies, and experience the animal and personal desires we have given rise to during life, dependent on their intensity. Of course this situation will be terrible and intense for self-conscious evil humans, especially for black magicians, voodoos, etc.: for every thought and act there is a retribution: as many hells as there are minds. This however is temporary although perhaps long-lasting, and ultimately these energies lose their power and if we conquer, we will die a second death, after which we enter and awaken in a new period, indicated with the Tibetan term devachan9.

At that moment of the second death at the end of kāmaloka, before entering devachan we again experience a retrospect of our past life on Earth, like when we died our first death, but which more indications of our future life which is going to be the logical karmic consequence of the past. The reincarnating ego, by its own, unobstructed nature is omniscient according to Theosophy. Therefore it can see past and future as well as mistakes made and their karma. Before we can enter into devachan after death, we will have to win the battle of spiritual recognition, also called ‘gestation period’ in which we can only fail if we have practiced nothing spiritual whatsoever in our past life, and this is extremely rare. What we have learned in innumerable past lives has become part of our inner experience, and we should be able to recognize this. If not, the merits of our present life are so low that it has been in vain – we have nothing of value to add to the reincarnation ego. This ego that proceeds after its kāmaloka towards a next incarnation without any remembrance or fruit of the most recent one. The lower mental consciousness will bide its time in the realms of lower desires, and than cease to exist. But normally we ‘enter’ into the state of bliss called devachan10 in Theosophy, where our consciousness (which includes an awareness of being oneself and our body) will receive all rewards of its good efforts and also will receive a balancing reward for injustices any experienced as such during physical life. The latter can only be understood when we accept the innate wisdom and omniscience of the reincarnation ego during its period of being free from the trammels of matter. Whatever high purpose the mind aspired to accomplish will now come true for one’s consciousness. The fulfillment of purpose can however not be greater than our mental person can make it, but a higher light shines on it and thus the devachani is higher and wiser than he or she was ever during life. The seeds of mental aspiration turn into realities. What has been aspired will be accomplished, and no more. So in that sense this ‘heaven’ is a self-made illusion.11 There are many layers in devachan. All normally good people will experience devachan, or what Jains call the lower heavens where there is enjoyment. Devachan also stretches up to the highest ‘regions’ of consciousness where the wisest and noblest, but not yet fully accomplished people ‘reside’ for a very long time. The highest regions of devachan practically touch nirvāṇa, but even then the devachani has to return to physical human existence at last to reach liberation from all illusions and be free. When he reaches nirvāṇa in that life, either during his natural dying process or due to compassionate occult help while in physical existence, he can choose nirvāṇa (which is, however spiritual it is, still selfish), or to remain as a nirmāṇakāya in the invisible spheres close to earth (or one of the other gatis, I presume, as Buddhism teaches?) and help humanity at crucial or critical moments. Such a high divinity will usually not be able or allowed (by karma) to give personal help to petty individuals however much they pray in their churches or temples.

In devachan or the heavens all one’s wishes are fulfilled. But if that wish is, truly compassionately (not just out of mental compassion – which rather lengthens devachan) to help those who are suffering, ignorant and deluded by false teachings in physical existence, the period of heavenly existence may be shortened. It is the experience of the ego which will reincarnate again when devachan is over. It is the ego resting and experiencing its heavenly castles of the mind enlightened by buddhi and a sixth sense beyond the five we know on Earth, carried in the bosom of the jīva, but it has no conscious part in the peregrinations of the jīva during death which can only be experienced by the truly pure jīva itself. Only humans can experience devachan, because its experiences are created by the higher mind. It continues, usually very much longer than kāmaloka, but not always. It depends on the individual: it is one’s own character quality and energy put in it which one receives. If one fails to win the battle during and at the end of kāmaloka, we will be immediately reborn as a human on earth, which may according to our karma be ‘hellish’ or heavenly’ or both and anything in between, and where we can be helpful, positive, wise and compassionate, and study and think with focused concentration. We have the opportunity to make quick progress and we can consciously choose between doing good or evil. At the end of devachan, i.e. when the ego is dying from devachan, before connecting to a just inseminated egg cell to begin the processes of incarnation which takes some 21 years to be completed one again experiences a review of the past life, but focused on the karmic future and the chosen duties and challenges. Then memory is lost, because the physical vehicles are to coarse to represent it. Through birth the soul and its karmic covering enters into one of the gatis.

All described situations are really existing experiences of consciousness and of its suffering or joy.

The whole cycle of existence, our semi-eternal treadmill, derives from one original desire creating one original karma: our inmost soul chose to put us on the path to self-conscious omniscience in stead of its unselfconscious omniscience. The universal ecosystem is thus a gigantic brotherhood of pilgrims on its way to the same holy of holies: itself.

The cause of evil or ignorant tendencies of living beings keeping them within the cycles of illusion and suffering is ignorance. The great impulses to evil come from fear for death, greed, i.e. fear to lose the cherished illusions, ignorance about the existence of the spiritual world, ignorance about the true nature of the soul and its intrinsic immortality, our shortsightedness of emphasizing one’s own well-being above that of the vast universe of life. Out of this ignorance we make wars, cheat others, defend our illusionary interests, create borders between countries and put bombs to eradicate evil outside oneself in stead of inside and destroy our natural environment, and out of ignorance we define a duality between good and evil people instead of recognizing a universal brotherhood of pilgrims towards the same spiritual goal: to become pure, to become oneself. Every being is in existence to support other beings in their effort.

– Rudi Jansma

  1. This is the first ‘day’ of chonyid bardo in Tibetan – which follows the clear-light or chikhai bardo []
  2. “Pure Abodes,” (Śuddhāvāsa) are distinct from the other worlds of the rūpadhātu (worlds of form) such as devachan in that they do not house beings who have been born there through ordinary merit or meditative attainments, but only those who are already on the path to Arhat-hood and who will attain enlightenment directly without being reborn in a lower plane. []
  3. E.g. Gautama Buddha’s perfected human ego became a nirmāakāya, while his spiritual ego became a sambhogakāya []
  4. The kāmarupa is the desire form or body or ‘spook’ if manifesting itself as such []
  5. Devachan or bde-ba c(h)an is a Tibetan term. In traditional Mahayana Buddhist countries, there are a number of translations for Sukhāvatī. In Tibetan Sukhāvatī is bde ba can (devachan) and signifies peaceful bliss or ultimate bliss. Nine levels of birth in this realm are described by the Buddha in the Amitāyurdhyāna Sūtra: the highest, the middle and the lowest grade of the highest grade; the highest, the middle and the lowest grade of the middle grade; the highest, the middle and the lowest grade of the lowest grade []
  6. Avalokisteśvara in Sanskrit – the very compassionate essence of one’s innermost being; in Tibetan Chenrezig. []
  7. See article The Popol Vuh. []
  8. Tepeü-Gucumatz. []
  9. Tibetan: bde-ba-chan, i.e. sphere or realm or state of unalloyed happiness []
  10. Devachan is comparable to the Hindu Svarga or Svarloka (the third loka – the physical earth being in the first or lowest loka) and is seen as a transitory place for righteous souls who have performed good deeds in their lives but are not yet ready to attain nirvāṇa. []
  11. Immense growths, for example, of knowledge itself are possible in devachan, for the spiritual entity which has begun the ‘pursuit’ of such knowledge or artistry and so on during life. Nothing can happen to a spirit in devachan t of which he keynote has not been struck during life; the conditions of a subjective existence are such that the importation of quite external impulses and alien thoughts is impossible. But the seed of thought once sown, the current of thoughts once set going (the metaphor may freely be varied to suit any taste), and then its developments in Devachan may be infinite, for the sixth sense there and the sixth principle are our instructors; and in such ‘society’ there can be no isolation, as physical humanity understands the term. The spiritual ego in fact, under the tuition of his own sixth principle, need be in no fear of being dull, … H.P. Blavatsky, Collected Writings Vol IV p 443-445 – C.W. IV, p. 443-445 []