[Buddha-l] Abhidharma vindicated once again

Zelders.YH zelders.yh at wxs.nl
Sun Mar 13 18:19:36 MDT 2011

For those who might be interested ; here, as a last remark, is an answer 
to a question I raised in my last post in this thread.

In Chapter 7 of  'Sleeping, Dreaming, and Dying', [Wisdom Publications, 
1997], a report by Francisco Varela of the 4th Mind and Life Conference, 
held in October '92, HHDL gives an answer to the question whether or not 
people in the 'tukdam' state are considered dead according to 
traditional Tibetan beliefs :

"The clear light of death is something that everyone, without exception, 
experiences, but there is much variation in terms of how long the 
experience is sustained. For some people it may last only a few seconds, 
for some a few minutes, for some several days or even weeks. As long as 
the clear light of death experience is sustained, the connection between 
the very subtle energy-mind and the gross physical body has not yet been 
severed. At the very moment that the severance takes place, the body 
begins to decay, and at that point we say death has occurred."

So someone who appears to be in that exceptional state, even if the EEG 
would show no brain activity for more than 24 hours, is not considered 
to be dead according to traditional belief, even though he or she would 
be considered so by modern medical science. As long as there is body 
heat in the heart region and the body looks fresh and the usual signs of 
decay do not show, such a person would be considered to be still alive.

As I said before, I hardly know what I'm talking about.

Herman Zelders

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