Bardo translates to the ‘interval”, “intermediate”, or “in-between” state. Whenever we are in-between two moments we are in a Bardo state. The past moment has ceased and the future moment has not yet arisen. There is a gap, a sense of presence, pure openness, before the appearance of the next thing, whether that is our next thought or next lifetime. Therefore Bardo refers to a moment of experience, no matter how long that moment is. An experience of a certain duration of time, marked by a clear beginning, a sense of continuity and distinct end.
There are 6 Bardos that describe our journey through various states of conscious experience in both life and death. Sometimes only four are described, with the dream and meditation states being within the Life state.
- The Natural Bardo of this Life
- Bardo of Dream
- Bardo of Meditation
- Painful Bardo of Dying
- Luminous Bardo of Dharmata
- Karmic Bardo of Becoming
Be here now. All past and future thoughts cease and all energy if focused with pure clarity in the now. The states during and after death can bring about a strong emotional affect. Therefore we practice controlling our mind in the now so that when death comes, we are prepared.
Only you can practice the Bardo and free yourself from samsara. No one can do this for you.
Buddha spoke about Bardos all across his teachings, even in the sutras, but it primarily comes from the Tantras (Vajrayana). It was brought to Tibet by Padmasambhava. It is not restricted to teachings from just the Tibetan Book of the Dead.