The Mind in the Bardo State
Many people have had out of body experiences that make us wonder what’s going to happen after our mind is no longer connected to our body. Scientists have also been researching this question and have achieved some impressive results in bringing greater understanding to the scientific community and others. This knowledge can help us pay more attention to the mind and become less attached to our bodies.
Can the mind know what is going on with the body during the first three days after death?
Basically the mind has different levels, i.e., the gross mind and the subtle mind. When the gross mind has no awareness, the subtle mind may still stay in the physical body or travel in the Bardo state without any physical restriction. The subtle mind won’t stay just in a certain place but can be anywhere in the body. Sometimes we can feel it according to the dead body’s temperature as the body remains warm for a long time. So the subtle mind does exist, and can leave and return to the body after death and there are various situations. Given the fact that sentient beings have different karma, their minds can exist in all different ways.
In Buddhist stories, there are persons whose minds left their bodies and after the mind came back, they felt so sad because the bodies were already gone. There are such stories in Buddhism. Similarly, the American psychiatrist, Dr. Weiss has conducted a lot of research on life and the mind. He has gathered more than 20,000 cases about different situations of the mind. In some cases people had out-of-body experiences and in some cases people recalled past-life memories under hypnosis.
What happens to the mind if the body is burnt during the first three days?
That’s why in the Tibetan tradition, the dead body is kept at least for three days, and otherwise the mind will have no home to return to.