Human Development

Bardo consciousness

The [bardo] are "intermediate" states, the term normally referring to those states which are experienced between death and rebirth. Various deities are encountered in these states; it is said that liberation is achieved when these are recognized as luminosity and emptiness of one's own mind. The dying or dead person is guided through the intermediate stages of the departed soul to ensure a profitable rebirth or freedom from the cycle of rebirth. This is done through complex ritual involving reading from the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
In broader terms, [bardo] can refer to any situation of radical transformation where the psyche is in a confused and buffeted state between fear and longing. The recognition that this is a state of transition helps deal with the confusion and one can traverse it without fear.
The six bardo awarenesses enumerated in Tibetan Buddhism include three which are passed through in the process of dying - the bardos of the life-state, dream-state and meditation-state. These constitute, in a large part, the determining characteristics of the bardos in the after-life which are passed through in the subsequent 49 days before rebirth: death-bardo clear-light awareness, heaven-reality awareness and rebirth-seeking awareness.