The Processes of Birth and Death

A Student wrote in the following question:

I am not clear on the re-birth, re-incarnation process.
How can I best understand it in scientific terms? Or perhaps not even scientific but at least some
sort of idea which I can comprehend or visualize? Is there any information on this? Thank you.

Here is my response:

The process of birth is covered in books called “Lam Rim” which means “Stages of the Path”. My favourite Lam Rims are “The Tibetan Tradition of Mental Development” by Geshe Dhargyey and “The Jewel Ornament of Liberation” by Gampopa. These can be found through Snow Lion Publications.

In describing the process of birth in the chapters on the Suffering of Birth, they describe how the consciousness in the Bardo of Becoming feels restless and even afraid of staying where it is and seeks refuge or a resting place. Once in that resting place, they begin to see couples involved in the sexual act. They feel attracted to a particular couple and then they feel stronger attraction to one of the pair over the other one. They would tend to be attracted to the male, if their tendency is to be born female, and attracted to the female if they would intend to be born male. The being then loses consciousness as the consciousness enters the male through the crown or the mouth and then descends to the sexual organ, where the consciousness then enters the female with the sperm of the male. The consciousness re-awakens during the formation of the fetus and then experiences the creation of the limbs and all of the process of growth and the discomforts of the gestation period, until it once again loses consciousness during the birthing process and then regains consciousness during birth.

As to the dying process, there are several books that can set you on the road to understanding it. First is the commentary in “The Tibetan Book of the Dead” by Chogyam Trungpa and Francesca Freemantle. Then there is “Secret Doctrines of the Tibetan Book of the Dead” by Dietlef Ingo Lauf. There is also “Death, Intermediate State, and Rebirth” by Lati Rinpoche and Jeffrey Hopkins. Finally, there is “Secrets of the Vajra World” by Reginald Ray.

You can find my own summary of these teachings on the process of dying on the Peaceful Garden Website at the following link:

I hope that this answers your questions, please feel free to reply or comment at the bottom of this post.



About larryreside

Technical Administrator for the Westport Lions Club Website and Instructor @ the Peaceful Garden Meditation Group - A Group that studies and practices Buddhist Psychology and Meditation in the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
This entry was posted in Answers to Questions, Vajrayana. Bookmark the permalink.

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