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Tibetan Book of the Dead (Talk 2): On Hell and Hungry Ghosts

by Padmavajra

This is the second talk in a great eight-part series by Padmavajra looking at the marvellous, terrifying, visionary world of the Bardo Thodol, or 'Tibetan Book of the Dead'. In this episode, we plunge fearlessly down into the lower realms of the wheel of life to meet the beings who inhabit - and the Buddhas who come to meet them. A sobering but strongly felt evocation of how we make the worlds with our minds - and what we might do to counteract the dangers.

Talk given at Padmaloka Retreat Centre, Winter Retreat 2005

This talk is part of the series Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol).

Tracks (click play to listen)

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1. The Bardo, day 2 - reading of the root text (5:42) 
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2. Akshobya-Vajrasattva and the dull smoky light from Hell; pushing away Reality - irritation and anger (3:35) 
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3. Hell Realms as creations of our own hatred and anger; the Bodhisattva and hatred (2:43) 
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4. The brilliant white light of the Mirror-like Wisdom; affinity with the poison; metta - loving kindness (2:46) 
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5. Visions of Hell's extreme sufferings; doubts about the wisdom of these - contrasts with the Buddha's teaching; conditioning and social control; mistaken views of karma; the rationalisation of the Hindu caste system (6:18) 
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6. Avalokiteshvara Dharma Raja's soothing deathless nectar (amrita); great pain and transcendent possibility (3:48) 
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7. The story of Kisa Gotami; Padmasambhava - "Hell is the lama of all the Buddhas" (3:37) 
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8. The realm of the pretas (hungry ghosts); Amitabha appears; the brilliant red light of Discriminating Wisdom and the dull yellow light of craving (3:59) 
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9. Closing down the open space of Reality; applying discriminating wisdom to craving; the impossibility of satisfying craving; the need for love (6:19) 
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10. Craving in the modern world (2:43) 
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11. The red Buddha Jwalamukha; sitting with the state of craving; generosity; the arising of a better longing (3:32) 
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12. Reading of an aspirational prayer for generating awareness in the Bardo (1:09) 


Total running time: 46:11

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