Bardo Beings: Attraction for the Opposite Gender

Why is it that bardo beings who are to be reborn female feel a sense of distance or separation from the mother and attaction to the father (and vice versa for those who will be reborn as males)?  In his book, “Death, Intermediate State and Rebirth”, the late Venerable Lati Rinpoche writes, “Due to wanting to copulate, if it is to be reborn as a male, it desires the mother and wishes to separate from the father, if it desires the father and wishes to separate from the mother. Then, when it beings to embrace the one that is desired, through the force of previous actions, it does not perceive any part of the body except the sexual organ, whereby anger is generated. This desire and hatred act as the cause of death, and the intermediate being enters the womb.”

Why exactly does anger arise in this situation? Venerable Geshe Lhundub Sopa Rinpoche explains this clearly in his commentary on the Lam Rim Chenmo (Volume 2, p. 320). He says that bardo beings are attracted to places where there are beings similar to themselves, if they are to be reborn as dogs, they see dogs, and have a strong desire to join them. Then he goes on to say, “You may have had an experience something like this in a dream. You see some attractive object and try to reach it, but when you go there you find nothing, or perhaps the attractive object has turned into something else. Even in a dream this can make you angry. For the beings of the intermediate state, when that anger arises, they die, and they are directly born in the place they were attracted to…..All of this happens as the ripening of your karma.”

Putting these two thoughts together, it seems as though beings of the intermediate state get frustrated and angry when they can only see the desired partner’s sexual organ and not the entire body. As a result, they immediately take rebirth out of attachment and anger.

Thanks to Mark C. for asking this interesting question during our Discovering Buddhism class.


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