An old monk walked slowly toward the butter lamps, stopping against the wall for a moment before smiling for the last time.
A realization of death moved within the monk’s soul and he became a body not of flesh, but light.
The monk opened his eyes and peered into the umbra of this bardo, seeing it clearly. ‘Practice was worth it,’ he said to himself.
The monk looked out across the magical fields and saw thunder dragons in the air above him, wind horses racing over the tall grasses…
“Friend, come this way,” a voice close to the monk said. The monk turned and saw a giant of a man standing beside him.
The giant bowed deeply to the monk, showing great respect. The monk returned the bow and then clasped the other in a warm greeting hug.
As the two walked the valley became a vast grassland with many birds and butterflies filling the air around them. Calls echoing everywhere.
After walking what seemed like a very long time the monk began to notice the colors of the sky changing and the smell of water in the air.
The monk slowed for a moment, and they said to the giant, ‘Where are we? Where are we going?’ The giant smiled and said. ‘We are here.’
When the monk looked before him there stood a regal tent. Music could be heard from inside, and laughter, too. The monk smiled.
The giant bowed again, and with a wave walked into the coming darkness. The monk offered a prayer for his new friend, and then went inside.
The monk’s vision adjusted to the brightly lit tent and he was struck by the immense size of the tent’s interior, it seemed to go on and on.
Sounds of drums, sitars, and singers filled the air around the monk. The scents of a feast bombarded his nose and flowers his eyes.
The monk looked out into the gathered crowd as they turned to greet him. The faces were familiar and kind, he felt at home, at peace.
Nearby one of the singers came forward and offered the monk a small cup of tea. The monk took the wooden cup in both hands and bowed.
‘Do I know you,’ the monk asked with a smile in his eyes and upon his delicate mouth. ‘Oh, yes, you do,’ the singer replied mid bow.
The monk was offered a pillow to sit upon. The pillow was decorated with lotus flowers and dragons, as if created for an emporer.
A small group of strangely dressed people stood in a clump around a fireplace, talking and laughing. A young girl caught the monk’s eye and came to sit beside him.
‘Do you understand yet?’ she asked him. The monk looked around at the crowd and slowly remembered them all. They were each a past life, or a future life, depending on your time frame.
Memories flooded into his mind in perfect procession. He was them, they were him. How could he have not seen it sooner? He was the giant… He was the thunder dragrons, the grasses.
He was all of this and more, it dawned on him like a memory coming back, not at all like new knowledge. He already knew all of this, somewhere in his soul.