(Part 1/5) The Great Liberation follows an old lama and novice as they guide a Himalayan villager into the next life using readings from The Tibetan Book of the Dead. The dead's 49-day journey to rebirth uses actual photography of rarely seen Vajrayana rituals interwoven with groundbreaking animation by acclaimed filmmaker Ishu Patel.
|A vigil for the dying in Tibet|
The bardo is the "intermediate state" between death and rebirth. Like the life one has lived, what happens there is a strong determinant of where one will be reborn. At any time adventitious karma (seed of past actions) may assert themselves and serve as the basis for a new life on a particular plane of existence with qualities and features appropriate to other actions will, carried out, and accrued as "merit" (a blessing) and "demerit" (bearing an unwelcome result). The Tibetans, Vajrayana (or esoteric tantric Mahayana) Buddhists still engaged in an admixture of Bon magic and the Dharma, thought that an individual could be guided to a good destination if, at death, one were to follow advice on what one will see in the weird world of spirits just on the other side of our world. Past the hungry ghosts, titans, demons, animals, chimeras, and hellions, there are pleasant spirits, aides, and helpers. The worlds are partially are own creation. Realizing this we may be able to overcome fear, attachments, and delusions to see what is best for our progress with an eye to the limited options we have created for ourselves by our deeds in this and uncountable past lives.
|The former Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet now overrun by invaders|