Most amazing was actress Josie Maran. As the vampire queen (pictures above), she was the ultimate nightmare. But when I saw her photo as the
Maybelline girl, I was stunned by her beauty.

Beauty or nightmare, what I saw in the movie were just visual effects. And so it is in real life. The Tibetan book of The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (often translated as the Tibetan Book of the Dead) explains that every sight and scene before us in whatever phase of life we are in (the bardo), is no more than the projection of our mind.

This is particularly important at the point of death and during the transitionary stage before the next rebirth. Our stream of consciousness at this stage will perceive (depending on our religious inclination) gods and Buddhas, angels and Bodhisattvas, horned devils and blood-drinking Herukas. These are projections emerging from the mind.

Therefore, know them as mental projections, recognise them as such, and attain liberation from the cycle of birth, suffering and rebirth, the book urges again and again.

Now, the truly scary problem for me is this:

Whether in a dream or watching a movie, I am always held enthralled by the scene before me. I am unable to recognise that the scene is just a mental projection. So, when I am dead and my consciousness has become even more unstable than in a nightmare, I will be far less able to remember and recognise.

The secret to liberation after death is to study and internalise the instruction of the Dharma (including The Book of the Great Liberation), and practise Insight Meditation regularly while there is still life in me. Study, meditation and living an ethical and a compassionate life, according to the Five Precepts (no lies, no alcohol, no fornication with strange women, no stealing and no hurting or destroying another life) can strengthen and calm the mind to meet the projected terrors of the bardo after death, which are, after all, nothing more than a stuffed lion, the book says.

The text in The Great Liberation admonishes us:

“It is extremely important to train the mind thoroughly in the Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo, especially during one’s life. It should be grasped, it should be perfected, it should be read aloud, it should be memorised properly, it should be practised three times a day without fail, the meaning of its words should be made completely clear in the mind.

“Its words and meaning should not be forgotten even if a hundred murderers were to appear and chase one.”

Several translations of The Great Liberation are available for online purchase. I have profited and have been motivated by an audio recording,  read by actor Richard Gere, well-known for his devotion to the Dharma.

Francis Chin, May 2004

Contents Page

FLYING vampires, howling werewolves, and even Dracula himself are as scary as what computer graphics artists and technicians can make them.

In the movie Van Helsing (screened in May 2004), vampires are dressed in blue motion-capture suits and attached to cable wires to glide them smoothly across a blue stage, says Scott Squires, the visual efects supervisor.

Speaking in a  phone interview from his Industrial Light & Magic studio in California, he tells me that  from the neck down the vampires body was all superimposed animated graphics. The castles, too, were miniatures and the lightnings hand-painted onto the computer.

When I saw the movie, however, the scenes looked real and downright terrifying. There wasnt the slightest hint that they were only effects, and that it was my mind that made them real.
Actress Josie Maran flew" in a motion-capture suit, assisted by a technician. During post production, an animated vampire body graphics, complete with flapping wings was drawn onto her neck. Bottom: Josie the face of Maybelline.
Josie Maran the vampire queen
Vampires in motion-capture suits gliding across the blue screen
Josie Maran