It is really common to hear reports of Near Death Experiences among Christians. As such, you sometimes hear them talk about the vision of Jesus Christ. But, then, what about Buddhists? Are there any Near Death Experience reports among Buddhists?
Although, there are lots of knowledge to share from the Tibet Book of the Dead. Likewise, with intense research, Buddhismzone has come up with lots of Near-death Experiences. Generally, these experiences are among different Buddhist monks and in recent times.
Before we start to share the testimonies, let us first answer the underlying questions of a near-death experience in Buddhism.
Thus, you may ask…
What is a Near-Death Experience?
A near-death experience (NDE) is a personal experience associated with death or impending death. When positive, such experiences may cover a variety of sensations including detachment from the body. Similarly, others include feelings of flying, total serenity, security, warmth, the experience of absolute dissolution, and the presence of a light.
When negative, such experiences may include sensations of torment and torture. Thus, NDEs are a recognized part of some transcendental and religious beliefs in an afterlife. This is so especially when linked to Buddhism.
What Really Happen During the NDE?
Many people report seeing a bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel after a near-death experience. Also, other reports of near-death experiences sound the same. Hence, may include a welcoming white light and a replay of memories.
But now, this article aims to detail what really happens to the body, mind, and soul. Particularly, when someone is on the verge of dying.
What Really Causes the Replay of Memories?
Scientifically, lack of oxygen triggers temporal lobe seizures which cause hallucinations. As a result, it may be similar to a near-death experience. But, the most widespread explanation for near-death experiences is that of Tibet Book of the Dead Written by Dawa Drolma. The book’s title is Journey to Realms Beyond Death.
What Did the Tibet Book of the Dead Preach About It?
It discussed Delok. Hence, emphasizing a curious phenomenon, little known in the West, but familiar to Tibetans.
In Tibet, delok means returned from death. And, traditionally deloks are people who seemingly “die” as a result of an illness. Afterward, they find themselves traveling in one of the six bardo realms. That is to say, one of the six Tibetan Buddhist afterlife states. Furthermore, they sometimes visit the hell realms. As a result, they witness the judgment of the dead and the suffering of hell. Or, on the other hand, they go to paradises and Buddha realms.
Thereby, a deity can accompany them. The deity is to protect them and explain what is happening during their journey through the Bardo. Subsequently, after about a week the delok will return back to the body with a message from the Lord of Death for the living. Most times, the message Urges them toward spiritual practice and a beneficial way of life.
Often, the deloks have great difficulty making people believe their story. So, they spend the rest of their lives recounting their experiences to others. In general, this is in order to draw them toward the path of wisdom.
Where There Verified Stories to Prove It?
Yes, of course, there are biographies of some of the more famous deloks. For example, that of Dawa Drolma, one of the great lamas of the century.
At the age of 16, she fell ill and died. But, she returned to her body after five days. For the benefit of others, she recorded every detail of her experiences in the Bardo and pure realms. Hence, the experiences of deloks were often sung all over Tibet. Especially, by traveling minstrels.
Certainly, with the message from the Lord of Death to the living, she returned to her body and recovered. Afterward, she spent the rest of her life telling of what she learned. Basically, the phenomenon of the delok was not simply a historical one. Therefore, it continued up until very recently in Tibet.
Are There Similarities of the NDE?
There are many similarities to the teachings of the afterlife. Thus, as the Tibetan Book of the Dead and NDE reveals. In the NDE, the mind is momentarily released from the body. Thence, it goes through a number of experiences similar to those of the mental body in the “Bardo of becoming.”
As a result, NDEs very often begins with an out-of-body experience. Thereby, making it possible for people to see their own body. And, also, the environment around them.
Nevertheless, this experience coincides with what the Tibetan Book of the Dead describes. Hence, in the Bardo of becoming, the dead are able to see and hear their living relatives. However, they are unable, sometimes frustratingly, to communicate with them.
Therein, the mental body in the Bardo of becoming as described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead is “like a body of the golden age,”. And inclusively, as having almost supernatural mobility and prophecy.
Also, those who experienced NDE found that the form they had was complete. More so, they were equally in the prime of life. And, they also found that they could travel instantaneously, only by the power of thought.
Were NDE Experiencers Able to Converse with Others Who Have Died?
In the Tibetan teachings, the mental body in the Bardo of becoming meets other beings. On that note, NDE experiencers are often able to converse with others who have died.
Moreover, in the Bardo of becoming, as well as many other kinds of visions, the mental body will see visions and signs of different realms. As a result, a small percentage of those who survived an NDE describe images of inner worlds, paradises. And, most of all, cities of light with transcendental music.
Are There Remarkable Encounters During Death?
Of course, the most amazing similarity is the encounter with the Being of Light. Or, otherwise, referred to as the “Clear Light”. Basically, this is as the Tibetan Book of the Dead described. And, this happens at the moment of death according to the Tibetan teachings. The Clear Light dawns in all its splendor before the dying person. It says:
“Oh, son/daughter of an enlightened family … your Rigpa is integrated luminosity and emptiness and dwells as a great expanse of light; beyond birth or death, it is, in fact, the Buddha of Unchanging Light.“
Actually, Tibetan teachings stress that you can recognize yourself as this Clear Light. And, when this happens, you will attain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. As such, many NDE experiencers have this conviction that the Being of Light is their Higher Self. This is certainly in agreement with the Tibetan teachings.
What Message Do the Experiencers Carry Along?
There is a central message NDE experiencers bring back from their encounter with death. That is to say, after they experience the presence of the Being of Light. This message, in general, is the same as that of the Buddha and of the Bardo teachings. Thus, the essential and most essential qualities in life are love and knowledge, compassion and wisdom.
Definitely, the Bardo teachings tell us that life and death are in the mind itself. As a result, many NDErs seem to have so much confidence after this experience. Thereby, reflecting a more in-depth understanding of consciousness.
Notwithstanding, not all NDE reports today are positive. Also, this corresponds to the Tibetan teachings as well. Consequently, some people say terrifying experiences of fear, panic, loneliness, desolation, and gloom. All vividly reminding us of the descriptions of the Bardo of becoming.
As a result, the following events would explain the experience survivors of NDE recount.
The First goes,
The Story of Near Death Experience by Lingza Chokyi, A Famous Delok of the Sixteenth Century
Lingza Chokyi was a famous delok who lived in the sixteenth century. In her biography, she tells how she failed to realize she was dead. Thus, how she found herself out of her body and saw a pig’s corpse lying on her bed, wearing her clothes.
Frantically, she tried in vain to communicate with her family. As they set about the business of the practices for her death. She grew furious with them when they took no notice of her and did not give her a plate of food.
When her children wept. She felt a “hail of pus and blood” fall, which caused her intense pain. More so, She tells us she felt joy each time the practices were done. And, immeasurable happiness when finally, she came before the master who was practicing for her and who was resting like mind. And her mind and his became one.
After a while, she heard someone whom she thought was her father calling to her. And she followed him. She arrived in the Bardo realm. Which appeared to her like a country. From there, she tells us, there was a bridge that led to the hell realms. And to where the Lord of Death was counting the good or evil actions of the dead.
In this realm, she met various people who recounted their stories. And she saw a great yogin who had come into the hell realms to liberate beings.
The Waking Up
Finally, Lingza Chokyi was sent back to the world. As there had been an error concerning her name and family. And it was not yet her time to die. With the message from the Lord of Death to the living, she returned to her body and recovered. And spent the rest of her life telling of what she had learned. The phenomenon of the delok was not merely a historical one. It continued up until very recently in Tibet.
(source: DELOG: Journey To Realms Beyond Death)
The second event goes,
How A Near Death Experience Changed the Life of a University Professor.
Just that fateful day, a cobra bit her in her kitchen. After the incident, she was put in a coffin which was placed in a Buddhist temple. She remained there for three days before reviving.
Her NDE began when she was unconscious and could hear cries of her family members and two kids shouting on top of their voices.
However, her NDE began when she arrived in the Bardo realm. She then found herself in front of her house.
Two men in western clothes appeared and told her to get up. They said they wanted to take her for a walk. She looked back and found that the house had disappeared
The path in front of her was misty. The weather was cool and pleasant. She saw crowds of people from which emerged an older man who she referred to as uncle (father’s elder brother) ‘Pong’.
‘Pong’ told her that he was dead, and was there to welcome her. (he had, in fact, died over 15years ago).
Two men not described came to take her for judgment.
She came before a ‘judge’ (the lord of death). Who said her name was not the right name. It was actually another person of the same name who was to have been taken.
The Waking Up
At last, the two took her back according to the judge’s instruction. Although, before that, she inquired on the existence of heaven and hell. This made the judge instruct the two to take her on a tour to confirm for herself. During the tour, she passed through the heavenly realm where there were abundance and beauty. Subsequently, she also came to the hell realm where there were torture and sufferings.
After the tour was over, she revived and began to beat on the lid of the coffin.
The monks in the Buddhist temple ran away in fright. Of course, they thought she was a ghost. However, a family member of hers had to open the coffin, and finally let her out.
(Source: Eleven Thai Near-death Experience: Todd Murphy)
Advice for Living a Life of Meaning and Joy
Increase Your Intake of Wonder
Whether it is through nature, people, or your pet’s extraordinary antics. Maintaining wonder about the world around you can help you grow in so many ways. Although, you do not need to stay in this state for long. But, look for it every day. Above all, do not wait for it to come to you. Find it.
Be Kind to Others, And Notice How That Makes You Feel
See what happens when you smile at someone. Afterward, reflect on how it makes you feel. Active reflection is something you can trust to be very empowering. Therefore, take the time to digest your experiences. Above all, reflect on your feelings. This can generally help you see clearly through to the origins of true happiness.
Do Not Use Your Mind as A Garbage Container
A happy mind is free of anger and resentment. As a result, keep your mind clean for your own sake. If you are a visual person, imagine these negative emotions like a garbage bin filling your head.
Decide to take a path of finding meaning and asking what it is to be a human. However, brace up for the challenges that will inevitably arise. If you read the yogic texts, you will see the emphasis placed on developing kindness and wisdom for the benefit of all and yourself included. Therefore, take this idea into your very heart and keep going through the ups and downs with a smile.
As a dedicated Buddhist, you should not be a “dumbed down” while here on earth. So, you should not focus on physical things out there. Thereby, ignoring or forgetting all about the higher wisdom which you have access to. Basically, this is where you look inward and ask for guidance, ideas, and solutions from the Buddha.
Always express gratitude, even if only to the clouds and sky.
We are accountable for the way we treat others. Hence, everything is on record. Also, bear in mind that you will judge yourself and have regrets for the way you lived. Especially, when you have to watch it in a life review at the end.
Also, to avoid regret about your life, you can do something about it while you still have a chance.
We should learn not to obsess over things. Most especially, things that have very little significance. Nor, should we ignore the essential elements.
The only important thing we should practice as a Buddhist is our capacity and willingness to love ourselves and others.
To learn a lot, we should keep an open mind to all knowledge that comes our way.
In many NDE reports, a border or limit is occasionally perceived. Moreover, one reaches a point of no return. At this border, the person then returns to life. Sometimes, this happens in the presence of light.
Of course, in the Tibetan Bardo teachings, there is no parallel to this. Generally, because they describe what happens to a person who dies. And, it occurs that one can view NDE as an evolutionary device to bring about a transformation in humanity as a whole. over the years, in millions of persons.
Whether this is true or not depends on all of us. On whether we dare to face the implications of the NDE and the Bardo teachings.
Hence, by transforming ourselves, we change the world around us. More so, by stages, the whole future of humanity.