Bardo (Skt. antarābhava, Tib. བར་དོ་, Wyl. rigpawiki bar do) — commonly used to denote the intermediate state between death and rebirth, but in reality bardos are occurring continuously, throughout both life and death, and are junctures at which the possibility of liberation, or enlightenment, is heightened.
Sogyal Rinpoche writes:
- Bardo is a Tibetan word that simply means a “transition” or a gap between the completion of one situation and the onset of another. Bar means “in between,” and do means “suspended” or “thrown.”
The different bardos can be categorized into four or six:
The Four Bardos
four bardos (bar do bzhi).
- bardo of this life (skye gnas kyi bar do). The period from being conceived in the womb until meeting with an irreversible cause of death. 'This life' literally means 'being born and remaining alive.'
- bardo of dying ('chi kha'i bar do). The period from the onset of the process of dying until the end of the three subtle dissolution stages.
- bardo of dharmata (chos nyid kyi bar do). The period from dying until emerging in the mental body of the bardo of becoming.
- bardo of becoming (srid pa'i bar do). The period from the arising of confusion and one's emergence in a mental body until entering the womb of the next life. It is the time of seeking a new rebirth. The word 'becoming' here also means 'possibility.'
See also six bardos
The Six Bardos
The four above with the addition of:
- 5. the bardo of meditation (Skt. samādhyantarābhava; Tib. བསམ་གཏན་གྱི་བར་དོ་, Wyl. bsam gtan gyi bar do)
- 6. the bardo of dreaming (Skt. svapanāntarābhava; Tib. རྨི་ལམ་གྱི་བར་དོ་, Wyl. rmi lam gyi bar do)
These two bardos are part of the natural bardo of this life.
- Union of the Sun and Moon (Tib. ཉི་ཟླ་ཁ་སྦྱོར་, Wyl. nyi zla kha sbyor)
- Self-arising Primordial Awareness (Tib. རིག་པ་རང་ཤར་, Wyl. rig pa rang shar)
- Karma Lingpa rigpawiki, The Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, The Profound Dharma of Self-liberated Wisdom Mind (Tib. Zabchö Shitro Gongpa Rangdrol; Wyl. zab chos zhi khro dgongs pa rang grol), which contains the Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo (Tib. Bardo Tödrol Chenmo; Wyl. bar do thos grol chen mo) (see English translations in related article)
- Tsele Natsok Rangdrol rigpawiki, བར་དོ་སྤྱིའི་དོན་ཐམས་ཅད་གསལ་བར་བྱེད་པ་དྲན་པའི་མེ་ལོང་, bar do spyi'i don thams cad gsal bar byed pa dran pa'i me long (see English translation below)
Alternative Translations of the Term 'Bardo'
- transitional process (Wallace)
Teachings Given to the Rigpa Sangha
- For Sogyal Rinpoche's teachings on the bardos, see each of the individual articles on the four bardos.
- For Garchen Rinpoche's teachings, see Six bardos
- Chögyam Trungpa rigpawiki, Transcending Madness: The Experience of the Six Bardos, The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Six.
- Chökyi Nyima Rinpoche rigpawiki, The Bardo Guidebook, Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1991
- Dudjom Rinpoche rigpawiki, 'An Introduction to the Bardo' in Counsels from My Heart, Shambhala 2001, pages 59-75
- Dzogchen Ponlop, Mind Beyond Death (Ithaca: Snow Lion Publications, 2006)
- His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche rigpawiki, Pure Appearance—Development and Completion Stages in the Vajrayana Practice (Halifax: Vajravairochana Translation Committee, 2002), Ch. 2 & 3. (restricted publication)
- Padmasambhava rigpawiki, Natural Liberation—Padmasambhava’s Teachings on the Six Bardos, commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche, translated by Allan Wallace (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1998, 2008)
- Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, revised and updated edition, Harper San Francisco, 2002.
- Tsele Natsok Rangdrol rigpawiki, Mirror of Mindfulness: The Cycle of the Four Bardos, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang rigpawiki (Boston & Shaftesbury: Shambhala, 1989).
- Tulku Thondup, Enlightened Journey—Buddhist Practice as Daily Life, edited by Harold Talbott (Boston: Shambhala Publications, 1995), Ch.6 'Preparing for the Bardo'.
- Tulku Thondup, Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2005) ISBN 1-59030-182-X
- Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, Rainbow Painting: A Collection of Miscellaneous Aspects of Development and Completion (North Atlantic Books, 2004), 'Bardo' chapter.
- See the Tibetan Book of the Dead article for English translations & further reading