The teachings on the Bardos, classified as a group of six or four intermediate states of existence, are unique teachings within the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. If described as four bardos, the first, the bardo of this life, lasts from the period of conception until death. The second, the bardo of dying, is the period during which the winds and energies of one's body pass through the various stages of dissolution. The third is the bardo of Dharmata, the period lasting from dying until the arising of the mental body of the fourth bardo of becoming, this last one taking one through to another rebirth. In addition to these four bardos, two additional bardos of dreaming and meditation are sometimes added.
By recognizing one's own nature during the various stages following one's death, a practitioner is able, according to his or her aptitude, to realize full Buddhahood, take birth in a pure realm, or choose the situation of his or her next rebirth.
Translated by Khenpo Tamphel. 2002 Summer Teachings at the Garchen Institute by His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche. 11 discs.