Written in self-secret “twilight language,” The Tibetan Book of the Dead is unfathomable to most people. This course will show you how to penetrate the text, and bring it fully to life – and death. We will focus on the first of the three death bardos, or “transitional processes,” that structure the book: the painful bardo of dying. Why is it painful, and what can we do to remove that pain? We’ll explore the eight stages of death, and how meditation prepares us to die. What are the reverse meditations, and how do they transform pain? What do we do about sudden death? Learn about the five types of phowa, or “ejection of consciousness,” the role of dream yoga as a way to prepare, and how to transcend anxiety and fear. Why is our fear of death a secondary and therefore inauthentic fear? What are we really afraid of? This course will show you how to help others die, and give you the confidence to face your own death with ease. By understanding The Book, we can transform death into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The bardo teachings proclaim that if we are prepared, there are more opportunities for rapid spiritual evolution in death than there are in life. Upon close reading, The Book is a condensation of the heart-essence of Buddhism, so this course serves as an introduction to the core teachings of this tradition.
Note: This course is complementary to Andrew Holecek’s other Embodied Philosophy course: The Tibetan Book of the Dead – Understanding the Wisdom of Death & Dying from October 2020. Neither course is a prerequisite for the other and they can be taken in any order.
Andrew Holecek has completed the traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and the art of dying. He is the author of Preparing to Die: Practical Advice and Spiritual Wisdom from the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition; Meditation in the iGeneration: How to Meditate in a World of Speed and Stress; The Power and the Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship into Joy; the audio learning course Dream Yoga: The Tibetan Path of Awakening Through Lucid Dreaming, and his latest book Dream Yoga: Illuminating Your Life Through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep. Dr. Holecek is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and has authored scientific papers. His work has appeared in Parabola, Lion's Roar, Tricycle, Utne Reader, Buddhadharma Magazine, Light of Consciousness, and many other periodicals. Andrew holds degrees in classical music, biology, and a doctorate in dental surgery.