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At a time when there was great fascination with the notion of reincarnation and life after death, Trungpa Rinpoche emphasized the power of these teachings as a way of pointing to the traps and opportunities of present experience, rather than as fodder for intellectual speculation. At that time, he was also working on a translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, which he described as a detailed and sophisticated map displaying the potential of confusion and awakening in each moment of experience.
A number of people who were applying very small discoveries from the East to something in the West were making bold claims about themselves and the importance of their discoveries. In contrast, Rinpoche’s approach was much more understated. He didn’t say, “Now I am presenting some of the most ancient and precious teachings of my lineage, and I’m going to show you how these can be practically applied in your culture. ” His method was much more subtle and ultimately much more profound. He told the people at the Allenspark seminar: “Everybody here is involved in a very dangerous game because we are working on the karmic pattern of America.
The bardos arise as the heightened experience of each realm, providing at the same time the possibility of awakening or of complete confusion, sanity or insanity. They are the ultimate expression of the entrapment of the realms. Yet it is such heightened experience that opens the possibility of the sudden transformation of that solidity into complete freedom or open space” (Editor’s Foreword). As Lief also states, Chögyam Trungpa “presented teachings on the realms and bardos as a way of understanding madness and sanity and learning to work directly and skillfully with extreme states of mind.
Cracking in Pressure-Boundary Materials of LWRs (csni87-141)