The Great Liberation – Tibetan Book of the Dead synopsis:
The Great Liberation is the second part of the documentary and is narrated by Leonard Cohen. It starts with a direct approach on the subject – Bardo – the state between death and rebirth:
“Soon, we all will die, our hopes and fears will be irrelevant. On the luminous continuity of existence, which has no origin, which has never died, human being projects all the images of life and death, terror, and joy, demons, and Gods.
These images become our complete reality and we submit without thinking to their dance and all the movements of this dance will project our greatest fears on death and we make every effort to ignore it.”
In The Tibetan Book of the Dead, we will meet a lama (a Tibetan priest) and his young disciple as they guide a dead Tibetan villager within the Bardo state.
The lama reads daily from the Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead) and explains the soul’s 49-day journey towards rebirth.
“At death, we lose everything we thought was real. Unless we can let go of all the things we cherish in our life, we are terrified.
If we cannot stop struggling to hold on to our old life, all our fear and yearning will drag us into yet another painful reality.”- The Tibetan Book of the Dead – The Great Liberation documentary quote.
The explanation of the Tibetan term BARDO – it is the state between death and rebirth, an intermediate state. In Sanskrit, it is called antarabhava and usually lasts for 49 days. According to Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead), there are six bardos within the Bardo.
“The first bardo begins when we take birth and endures as long as we live. The second is the bardo of dreams. The third is the bardo of concentration or meditation. The fourth occurs at the moment of death. The fifth is known as the bardo of the luminosity of the true nature. The sixth is called the bardo of transmigration or karmic becoming.” – Karma Lingpa`s quote from Bardo Thodol.
From a different point of view, bardo is a state of mind between past and future, therefore, the present moment is Bardo. Here is a quote of Francesca Fremantle and Chogyam Trungpa:
“Originally bardo referred only to the period between one life and the next, and this is still its normal meaning when it is mentioned without any qualification. There was a considerable dispute over this theory during the early centuries of Buddhism, with one side arguing that rebirth follows immediately after death, and the other saying that there must be an interval between the two. With the rise of Mahayana, belief in a transitional period prevailed. Later, Buddhism expanded the whole concept to distinguish six or more similar states, covering the whole cycle of life, death, and rebirth.”