“I’m never going to die. Never heard of death. Energy can never be destroyed – only the flesh.” ~ Nas
I’ve read the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Tibetan Book of the Dead side by side and they pretty much say the same things, with different details:
There is not only life after death, there are LIVES after death. There’s not just another side beyond death, there are innumerable other SIDES. These realms range from the heavenly, to the hellish and everything in between, including our human world. Where we wind up after experiencing life in the material world depends on our karmic energy. In the Egyptian Book, your heart must be as light as a feather once crossing the bridge into the after life, lest one tip over and fall from the weight of a heavy heart. According to ancient Tibetans, one must be able to, through good karma, recognize all the higher forms of ones own self, i.e. dazzling lights, deities and Buddhas which come in both peaceful and terrifying forms to receive one.
A material, human incarnation is considered rare and precious due to the many ups and downs this world has to offer as an education for one’s higher self, or soul, or astral body. So what happens when we die, exactly?
We are dead, and we may not know it until we see and hear family and friends crying over our bodies, at which point confusion and fear may strike us. This is why some spiritual traditions offer prayers to guide dead souls. In Tibetan Buddhism, it sounds like this:
“O nobly-born, that which is called death hath now come. Thou art departing from this world, but thou art not the only one; [death] cometh to all. Do not cling, in fondness and weakness, to this life. Even though thou clingest out of weakness, thou hast not the power to remain here. Thou wilt gain nothing more than wandering in this Sangsāra. Be not attached [to this world]; be not weak. Remember the Precious Trinity.”
Death gives us several chances to pass on to other carnations, or other realms, heavenly or hellish, or in between, depending on when and how we cross over. First there is light, then Peaceful deities, then wrathful deitites, then the intermediate stage and finally, the judgement by the Lord of Death.
Now, at the beginning stages of death, gigantic, dazzling lights will strike upon us. We must recognize them as part of our own self and not run from it. If we run from heavy karma in fear of the light we have to wait longer to cross, or risk falling into hell realms. If we carry a heavy heart or lots of bad karma — greed, lust, wrath, etc. into our death, we will likely flee from the dazzling lights that come to recieve us into heavenly realms. For the first seven days, if you have not crossed into the light, peaceful deities will emerge to strike upon you. Recognizing them as part of your own self, and not running from them, you will attain Buddhahood. If after the seven days you still haven’t crossed over, those same peaceful deities will return from days 8-14 in their wrathful forms, unrecognizable, to strike upon you. If you flee from them you will fall into hell. If you recognize them as part of your own intellect and pray or meditate upon this, you will attain Buddhahood. Now, in Tibet, hell nor heaven is indefinite. They may last for a looooong time, but you will not be there forever.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead also says there is also an Intermediate Stage of death, after day 14, where you have more chances to be liberated or reincarnated. If you still have not been liberated, you meet the Lord of Death, who will weight out your good and bad karma with white and black pebbles. This Lord is also part of oneself and any harm he inflicts upon one is only mental, as both you and it are not material. The Tibetan book goes in to explain how we can consume only what is offered to us, and that meditation is key to crossing over in a delightful way to a delightful place. Because it is through meditation that we correct karmic energy and recognize the truth of ourselves and the world.
Whether or not you believe this, the one thing you should take from it is Karma. We are all going to die. What we do here before death carries on with us in this world and the next. Even if you hate the idea of heaven and hell and punishment and sin you have to admit that we even created a justice system here because it is all about cause and effect. Some evil people will have to answer for their sins in hellish realms of misery for a long time. And good people will be rewarded with reincarnation on Earth or life in a blissful dimension. But it all depends on them, on you, on the person, and not some external God who decides you did not believe in him enough. Believe in the power of your self. Believe in karma. Believe in love.
Excerpt from Tibetan Book of the Dead:
“Nobly-born, when thy body and mind were separating, thou must have experienced a glimpse of the Pure Truth, subtle, sparkling, bright, dazzling, glorious, and radiantly awesome, in appearance like a mirage moving across a landscape in spring-time in one continuous stream of vibrations. Be not daunted thereby, nor terrified, nor awed. That is the radiance of thine own true nature. Recognize it.