Choreography and dance performance by Dominique Gabella. Music by Joe Panzetta. This video flows between three different performances of Bardo recorded in February of 2006, which were part of an evening called “Currents” that included photography by Steve Shelton of the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Dominique performed Bardo in 2007 as well, as part of an evening with her dance company, Next Stage Dance Theatre.
The Bardo is the in-between place that Tibetan Buddhists believe the soul traverses on route to either liberation or it’s next incarnation. It is said that the newly deceased person’s consciousness experiences various realms, which are all in actuality projections of the mind. Depending on their karma, they either recognize that the visions are projections and consciously choose liberation, or they experience them as real and eventually grasp after a womb for a new birth.
The performances that made up Currents were multimedia pieces that showed Shelton’s photography, featured dance by Gabella and other members of NSDT and music by Joe Panzetta. This song, Bardo, is from his 2007 CD “Migration” and it features Joe on guitar, Dave Keenan on violin, Nova Devonie on accordion, and Andy Santospago on theremin. Proceeds from the event went to help families in Sri Lanka hit by the tsunami.
This is a Tibetan Buddhist mantra and visualization meditation. Tibetan Buddhist deities are depicted in very particular ways, with each nuance of their presentation symbolic of a way of being. The intended practice is not to pray to them like Gods, but rather to meditate on the way of being they personify, and through visualization and emulation, manifest this way of being.
Green Tara is always depicted with her left hand facing out in front of her heart, the thumb and ring finger touching in a mudra of love. Her right hand rests on her knee, thumb and first finger touching in a mudra of wisdom. Her left foot rests in half lotus on her thigh, symbolic of her transcendence over desire. Her right foot extended out slightly, symbolic of her readiness to help others. This speaks to the Mahayana Buddhist practice of awakening not just for your ourselves, but for the good of all beings.
A rough translation of the mantra is: OM: The sound of the infinite. TARE: liberation from all discontent. TUTTARE: liberation from fear and delusions. TURE: liberation from duality. SOHA: may the meaning of the mantra take root in my mind.
The practice is to visualize Tara above the crown of your head, being mindful of what she personifies as a being. While chanting her mantra, you visualize 3 lights coming from tara and coming from your won form as well. A white light at the brow point, a red light and the throat and a blue light at the heart. (Note that these colors do not correspond with the colors of the chakras.) The lights come in succession, eliminating negativity and obstacles in body, speech and mind. At the end of the meditation, you visualize Green Tara dissolving and merging through your crown and you take on her energy as your own.
It is good to dedicate your practice for the good of all beings when you finish.