Your mind itself turns into a still more subtle, vividly black state; nothing else appears. This is

Your mind itself turns into a still more subtle, vividly …

Your mind itself turns into a still more subtle, vividly black state; nothing else appears. This is called “near-attainment” because you are close to manifesting the mind of clear light. The mind of black vastness is like a moonless, very dark sky just after dusk when no stars are seen. In the beginning of this phase you are aware, but then you lose awareness as you slip into even thicker darkness. 8. When the mind of black appearance ceases, your mind itself turns into the fully aware mind of clear light. Called the fundamental innate mind of clear light, this is the most subtle, profound, and powerful level of consciousness. It is like the sky’s natural state at dawn (not sunrise)—without moonlight, sunlight, or darkness. The passage through to the mind of clear light can be fast or slow. Some people remain in the final stage, the mind of clear light of death, for only several minutes; others stay for as long as a week or two. Since the mind of clear light is so powerful, it is valuable to practice, so many Tibetan practitioners rehearse these stages of dying on a daily basis. I myself practice them six times daily by imagining the eight levels of mind one by one (without, of course, the physical changes in the first four stages). The eight levels of mind are: 1. mirage 2. smoke 3. fireflies 4. flame of a candle 5. vivid white sky-mind 6. vivid red or orange sky-mind 7. vivid black sky-mind 8. clear light.

Dalai Lama XIV