The 4th stage of the dying process

We are continuing the practice of dying to become familiar with death and to recognize the subtlest mind of luminosity, and then meditate on it in life and while dying. This is the quintessential practice leading to enlightenment. It presumes we know something about emptiness and bodhicitta, universal compassion. Sustaining this meditation indefinitely is the path to enlightenment, the deathless state. It is only after the 8 stages are completed that we actually die. Advanced meditators meditate on luminosity and do not die! Some have sustained life after clinical death for 3 weeks. This is called ‘tukdam’. More on this later. Imagine you are dying and entering the 4th stage. Review the first 3 stages’ visions of mirage, billowing smoke, and fireflies in the night. On the fourth stage all movement in the body stops. The heart stops beating, so there is no more blood circulation and no blood pressure. The breathing stops. If an EEG is performed, it would be a flat line signifying no brain (cortical) activity. The doctor pronounces you dead. But you are not dead. There are still 4 more stages to pass through. You witness the vision of the glow of a flame in a jar about to go out. Meditate on that glow.