In some schools of Buddhism, bardo (Tibetan བར་དོ་ Wylie: bar do) or antarabhāva (Sanskrit) is an intermediate, transitional, or liminal state between death and rebirth. It is a concept which arose soon after the Buddha's passing, with a number of earlier Buddhist groups accepting the existence of such an intermediate state, while other schools rejected it. In Tibetan Buddhism, bardo is the central theme of the Bardo Thodol (literally Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State), the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

Used loosely, "bardo" is the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth. According to Tibetan tradition, after death and before one's next birth, when one's consciousness is not connected with a physical body, one experiences a variety of phenomena. These usually follow a particular sequence of degeneration from, just after death, the clearest experiences of reality of which one is spiritually capable, and then proceeding to terrifying hallucinations that arise from the impulses of one's previous unskillful actions. For the prepared and appropriately trained individuals, the bardo offers a state of great opportunity for liberation, since transcendental insight may arise with the direct experience of reality; for others, it can become a place of danger as the karmically created hallucinations can impel one into a less than desirable rebirth.

Metaphorically, bardo can describe times when our usual way of life becomes suspended, as, for example, during a period of illness or during a meditation retreat. Such times can prove fruitful for spiritual progress because external constraints diminish. However, they can also present challenges because our less skillful impulses may come to the foreground, just as in the sidpa bardo.

The concept of antarabhāva, an intervening state between death and rebirth, was brought into Buddhism from the Vedic-Upanishadic philosophical tradition which later developed into Hinduism.[1][2]

Intermediate state in Indian Buddhism

From the records of early Buddhist schools, it appears that at least six different groups accepted the notion of an intermediate existence (antarabhāva), namely, the Sarvāstivāda, Darṣṭāntika, Vātsīputrīyas, Saṃmitīya, Pūrvaśaila and late Mahīśāsaka. The first four of these are closely related schools. Opposing them were the Mahāsāṃghika, early Mahīśāsaka, Theravāda, Vibhajyavāda and the Śāriputra Abhidharma (possibly Dharmagupta) (Bareau 1955: 291).

Some of the earliest references we have to the “intermediate existence” are to be found in the Sarvāstivādin text the Mahāvibhāṣa (阿毘達磨大毘婆沙論). For instance, the Mahāvibhāṣa indicates a “basic existence” (本有), an “intermediate existence” (中有), a “birth existence” (生有) and “death existence” (死有) (CBETA, T27, no. 1545, p. 959, etc.). Bareau (1955: 143) provides the arguments of the Sarvāstivāda as follows:

The intermediate being who makes the passage in this way from one existence to the next is formed, like every living being, of the five aggregates (skandha). His existence is demonstrated by the fact that it cannot have any discontinuity in time and space between the place and moment of death and those of rebirth, and therefore it must be that the two existences belonging to the same series are linked in time and space by an intermediate stage. The intermediate being is the Gandharva, the presence of which is as necessary at conception as the fecundity and union of the parents. Furthermore, the Antarāparinirvāyin is an Anāgamin who obtains parinirvāṇa during the intermediary existence. As for the heinous criminal guilty of one of the five crimes without interval (ānantarya), he passes in quite the same way by an intermediate existence at the end of which he is reborn necessarily in hell.

Deriving from a later period of the same school, though with some differences, Vasubandhu’s Abhidharmakośa explains (English trs. p. 383ff):

What is an intermediate being, and an intermediate existence? Intermediate existence, which inserts itself between existence at death and existence at birth, not having arrived at the location where it should go, cannot be said to be born. Between death—that is, the five skandhas of the moment of death—and arising—that is, the five skandhas of the moment of rebirth—there is found an existence—a "body" of five skandhas—that goes to the place of rebirth. This existence between two realms of rebirth (gatī) is called intermediate existence.

He cites a number of texts and examples to defend the notion against other schools which reject it and claim that death in one life is immediately followed by rebirth in the next, without any intermediate state in between the two. Both the Mahāvibhāṣa and the Abhidharmakośa have the notion of the intermediate state lasting "seven times seven days" (i.e. 49 days) at most. This is one view, though, and there were also others.

Similar arguments were also used in Harivarman’s *Satyasiddhi Śāstra, a quasi-Mahāyāna text, and the Upadeśa commentary on the Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras, both of which have strong influence from the Sarvāstivāda school. Both of these texts had powerful influence in Chinese Buddhism, which also accepts this idea as a rule.

The Saddharma-smṛty-upasthāna Sūtra (正法念處經) classifies 17 intermediate states with different experiences.[3]

Six bardos in Tibetan Buddhism

Fremantle (2001) states that there are six traditional bardo states known as the Six Bardos: the Bardo of This Life (p. 55); the Bardo of Meditation (p. 58); the Bardo of Dream (p. 62); the Bardo of Dying (p. 64); the Bardo of Dharmata (p. 65); and the Bardo of Existence (p. 66).

Shugchang, et al. (2000: p. 5) discuss the Zhitro (Tibetan: Zhi-khro) teachings which subsume the Bardo Thodol and mention Karma Lingpa, terma and Padmasambhava and list the Six Bardo: "The first bardo begins when we take birth and endures as long as we live. The second is the bardo of dreams. The third is the bardo of concentration or meditation. The fourth occurs at the moment of death. The fifth is known as the bardo of the luminosity of the true nature. The sixth is called the bardo of transmigration or karmic becoming.[4]

  1. Kyenay bardo (skye gnas bar do): is the first bardo of birth and life. This bardo commences from conception until the last breath, when the mindstream withdraws from the body.
  2. Milam bardo (rmi lam bar do): is the second bardo of the dream state. The Milam Bardo is a subset of the first Bardo. Dream Yoga develops practices to integrate the dream state into Buddhist sadhana.
  3. Samten bardo (bsam gtan bar do) is the third bardo of meditation. This bardo is generally only experienced by meditators, though individuals may have spontaneous experience of it. Samten Bardo is a subset of the Shinay Bardo.
  4. Chikhai bardo ('chi kha'i bar do): is the fourth bardo of the moment of death. According to tradition, this bardo is held to commence when the outer and inner signs presage that the onset of death is nigh, and continues through the dissolution or transmutation of the Mahabhuta until the external and internal breath has completed.
  5. Chönyi bardo (chos nyid bar do): is the fifth bardo of the luminosity of the true nature which commences after the final 'inner breath' (Sanskrit: prana, vayu; Tibetan: rlung). It is within this Bardo that visions and auditory phenomena occur. In the Dzogchen teachings, these are known as the spontaneously manifesting Thödgal (Tibetan: thod-rgyal) visions. Concomitant to these visions, there is a welling of profound peace and pristine awareness. Sentient beings who have not practiced during their lived experience and/or who do not recognize the clear light (Tibetan: od gsal) at the moment of death are usually deluded throughout the fifth bardo of luminosity.
  6. Sidpa bardo (srid pa bar do): is the sixth bardo of becoming or transmigration. This bardo endures until the inner-breath commences in the new transmigrating form determined by the "karmic seeds" within the storehouse consciousness.

Bardo in other traditions

Sōtō Zen Buddhism

Some Sōtō Zen lineages also teach on the bardo realms. It is taught that kenshō experience is important for preparing for death and facing the bardos. Koshin Schomberg explains:

Very frequently, however, beings die in ignorance and confusion so that, instead of offering everything into Infinite Love at the time of death, they look down in despair and self-blame. When this happens, the opportunity for full reunion with the Eternal at the time of death is missed. But that is not the last opportunity! For a period of up to seven weeks (forty-nine days) after death, other opportunities manifest. At the end of this period (if not sooner), spiritual need that has not found its way back to recognized reunion with the Eternal is reborn in one or more of the realms of existence.[5]


Fremantle (2001: p. 53–54) charts the development of the bardo concept through the Himalayan tradition:

Originally bardo referred only to the period between one life and the next, and this is still its normal meaning when it is mentioned without any qualification. There was considerable dispute over this theory during the early centuries of Buddhism, with one side arguing that rebirth (or conception) follows immediately after death, and the other saying that there must be an interval between the two. With the rise of mahayana, belief in a transitional period prevailed. Later Buddhism expanded the whole concept to distinguish six or more similar states, covering the whole cycle of life, death, and rebirth. But it can also be interpreted as any transitional experience, any state that lies between two other states. Its original meaning, the experience of being between death and rebirth, is the prototype of the bardo experience, while the six traditional bardos show how the essential qualities of that experience are also present in other transitional periods. By refining even further the understanding of the essence of bardo, it can then be applied to every moment of existence. The present moment, the now, is a continual bardo, always suspended between the past and the future.

However, as shown above, Fremantle's idea that it was originally only "between one life and next" was not how it was understood by the Sarvāstivāda school at the outset. Also, the idea that the ascendancy of this idea was due to the Mahāyāna is unfounded, and it is much more likely that it was due to the Sarvāstivāda influence, several centuries before the Mahāyāna had any real influence.

See also


  1. ^ John Bowker, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, s.v. [1]
  2. ^ Bryan Jaré Cuevas, "Predecessors and Prototypes: Towards a Conceptual History of the Buddhist Antarābhava", Numen 43:3:263-302 (September 1996) JSTOR 3270367
  3. ^ "第五章 死亡、死后与出生---《生与死——佛教轮回说》--莲花山居士网". January 6, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-01-06.
  4. ^ Shugchang, Padma (editor); Sherab, Khenchen Palden & Dongyal, Khenpo Tse Wang (2000). A Modern Commentary on Karma Lingpa's Zhi-Khro: teachings on the peaceful and wrathful deities. Padma Gochen Ling. Source: [2] Archived 2008-02-29 at the Wayback Machine (accessed: December 27, 2007)
  5. ^ Schomberg n.d.


Published sources

Online Sources

Further reading

  • The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Awakening Upon Dying. 2013. by Padmasambhava (Author), Chögyal Namkhai Norbu (Commentary), Karma Lingpa (Author), Elio Guarisco (Translator). Shang Shung Publications & North Atlantic Books.
  • Abhidharma Kośa Bhāṣyām. 1991. de la Vallèe Poussin, L.; translated by Pruden, L. Vols. I, II, III & IV. Asian Humanities Press.
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. 1993. Sogyal Rinpoche. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Luminous Emptiness. 2001. Francesca Fremantle. Boston: Shambala Publications. ISBN 1-57062-450-X
  • American Book of the Dead. 1987. E.J. Gold. Nevada City: IDHHB.
  • Death, Intermediate State, and Rebirth. 1981. Lati Rinpoche. Snow Lion Publications.
  • The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. 1967. By Timothy Leary, Ph.D.; Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.; & Richard Alpert, Ph.D. (later known as Ram Das)
  • Natural Liberation. 1998. Padmasambhava. The text is translated by B. Alan Wallace, with a commentary by Gyatrul Rinpoche. Somerville, Wisdom Publications.
  • Bardo Teachings: The Way of Death and Rebirth. 1987. By Venerable Lama Lodo. Ithaca, NY: Snow Lion Publications ISBN 0937938602
  • Mirror of Mindfulness: The Cycle of the Four Bardos, Tsele Natsok Rangdrol, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang (Rangjung Yeshe Publications).
  • The Bardo Thodol: A Golden Opportunity. 2008. Mark Griffin. Los Angeles: HardLight Publishing. ISBN 978-0975902028.
  • Les sectes bouddhiques du Petit Vehicule. 1955. Bareau, A. Saigon: École Française d’Extrême-Orient.
  • The Hidden History of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. 2003. Bryan J. Cuevas. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bardo (band)

Bardo was a male/female pop music duo (Sally Ann Triplett and Stephen Fischer) formed to represent the United Kingdom in the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "One Step Further".

Bardo Chham

Bardo Chham is a folk dance of Sherdukpens, a small community of West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh, Bardo Chham is based on the stories of good and evil. According to the local beliefs, there are both good and evil in mankind. The Sherdukpens mask themselves representing the different animals and dance to show an act of fighting the evil forces.

Bardo Gewog

Bardo Gewog (Dzongkha: བར་རྡོ་) is a gewog (village block) of Zhemgang District, Bhutan.

Bardo National Museum

Bardo National Museum or Musée National du Bardo may refer to:

Bardo National Museum (Algiers) in Algeria

Bardo National Museum (Tunis) in Tunisia

Bardo National Museum (Tunis)

The Bardo National Museum (Arabic: المتحف الوطني بباردو‎, romanized: al-Matḥaf al-Waṭanī bi-Bārdū; French: Musée national du Bardo) is a museum of Tunis, Tunisia, located in the suburbs of Le Bardo.

It is one of the most important museums in the Mediterranean region and the second museum of the African continent after the Egyptian Museum of Cairo by richness of its collections. It traces the history of Tunisia over several millennia and across several civilizations through a wide variety of archaeological pieces.

Housed in an old beylical palace since 1888, it has been the setting for the exhibition of many major works discovered since the beginning of archaeological research in the country. Originally called Alaoui Museum (Arabic: المتحف العلوي‎, romanized: al-Matḥaf al-ʿAlawī), named after the reigning bey at the time, it takes its current name of Bardo Museum after the independence of the country even if the denomination is attested before that date.

The museum houses one of the largest collections of Roman mosaics in the world, thanks to excavations at the beginning of 20th century in various archaeological sites in the country including Carthage, Hadrumetum, Dougga and Utica. Generally, the mosaics of Bardo, such as the Virgil Mosaic, represent a unique source for research on everyday life in Roman Africa. From the Roman era, the museum also contains a rich collection of marble statues representing the deities and the Roman emperors found on different sites including those of Carthage and Thuburbo Majus.

The museum also houses pieces discovered during the excavations of Libyco-Punic sites including Carthage, although the National Museum of Carthage has is the primary museum of the Carthage archaeological site. The essential pieces of this department are grimacing masks, terracotta statues and stelae of major interest for Semitic epigraphy, and the stele of the priest and the child. The museum also houses Greek works discovered especially in the excavations of the shipwreck of Mahdia, whose emblematic piece remains the bust of Aphrodite in marble, gnawed by the sea.

The Islamic Department contains, in addition to famous works such as the Blue Qur'an of Kairouan, a collection of ceramics from the Maghreb and Anatolia.

In order to increase the reception capacity and optimize the presentation of the collections, the museum is the subject of a vast operation which was to be completed initially in 2011 but was not finished until 2012 due to the Tunisian Revolution. The work concerns the increase of the exhibition surfaces by adding new buildings and redeploying the collections. The project aims to make the museum a major pole for a quality cultural development, so that the visitor can appreciate the artistic pieces deposited.

On March 18, 2015, an Islamist terrorist group attacked the museum and took tourists hostage in the building. The attack, which killed 22 people including 21 foreign tourists, was claimed by ISIS.

Bardo National Museum attack

On 18 March 2015, three militants attacked the Bardo National Museum in the Tunisian capital city of Tunis, and took hostages. Twenty-one people, mostly European tourists, were killed at the scene, and an additional victim died ten days later. Around fifty others were injured. Two of the gunmen, Tunisian citizens Yassine Labidi and Saber Khachnaoui, were killed by police, and the third attacker is currently at large. Police treated the event as a terrorist attack.The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attack, and threatened to commit further attacks. However, the Tunisian government blamed a local splinter group of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, called the Okba Ibn Nafaa Brigade, for the attack. A police raid killed nine members ten days later.

Bardo Pond

Bardo Pond are an American psychedelic rock band formed in 1991, and who are currently signed to London-based label Fire Records. The current members are Michael Gibbons (guitar), John Gibbons (guitar), Isobel Sollenberger (flute and vocals), Clint Takeda (bass guitar) and Jason Kourkounis (drums). Bardo Pond's music is often classified as space rock, acid rock, post-rock, shoegazing, noise or psychedelic rock. Some Bardo Pond album titles have been derived from the names of esoteric psychedelic substances. Their sound has been likened to Pink Floyd, Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine amongst others.Allmusic describes Bardo Pond as having "lengthy, deliberate sound explorations filled with all the hallmarks of modern-day space rock: droning guitars, thick distortion, feedback, reverb, and washes of white noise."

Bardo Pond are a taper-friendly band who encourage fans to make recordings of their shows.

Bardo Thodol

Commonly known in the West as the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan: བར་དོ་ཐོས་གྲོལ, Wylie: bar do thos grol, "Liberation Through Hearing During the Intermediate State") is a text from a larger corpus of teachings, the Profound Dharma of Self-Liberation through the Intention of the Peaceful and Wrathful Ones, revealed by Karma Lingpa (1326–1386). It is the best-known work of Nyingma literature.The Tibetan text describes, and is intended to guide one through, the experiences that the consciousness has after death, in the bardo, the interval between death and the next rebirth. The text also includes chapters on the signs of death and rituals to undertake when death is closing in or has taken place.

Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot (French: [bʁiʒit baʁdo]; born 28 September 1934), often referred to by the initials B.B., is a French former actress and singer, and animal rights activist. Famous for portraying sexually emancipated personae with hedonistic lifestyles, she was one of the best known sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s. Although she withdrew from the entertainment industry in 1973, she remains a major popular culture icon.Born and raised in Paris, Bardot was an aspiring ballerina in her early life. She started her acting career in 1952. She achieved international recognition in 1957 for her role in the controversial And God Created Woman, and also caught the attention of French intellectuals. She was the subject of Simone de Beauvoir's 1959 essay The Lolita Syndrome, which described her as a "locomotive of women's history" and built upon existentialist themes to declare her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France. Bardot later starred in Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 film Le Mépris. For her role in Louis Malle's 1965 film Viva Maria! she was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress.

Bardot retired from the entertainment industry in 1973. She had acted in 47 films, performed in several musicals and recorded more than 60 songs. She was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1985 but refused to accept it. After retiring, she became an animal rights activist. During the 2000s she generated controversy by criticizing immigration and Islam in France, and she has been fined five times for inciting racial hatred.

Dollman (film)

Dollman is a 1991 science fiction action film directed by Albert Pyun and starring Tim Thomerson as the space cop Brick Bardo, also known as "Dollman"; he is only 13 inches tall. Bardo is equipped with his "Kruger Blaster", which is the most powerful handgun in the universe. The film also stars Jackie Earle Haley as Bardo's human enemy, Braxton Red. "Brick Bardo" is a character name used by Albert Pyun in films dating back to his second film, Vicious Lips.

The film was produced by Full Moon Features, who also worked with Thomerson on the Trancers series. It was followed by a crossover sequel in 1993 called Dollman vs. Demonic Toys, which is also a sequel to Demonic Toys (1992) and Bad Channels (1992).

Dollman also had its own comic series published by Eternity Comics, who also made comics for other Full Moon films.

Exit (U2 song)

"Exit" is a song by rock band U2. It is the tenth track on their 1987 album The Joshua Tree. "Exit" was developed from a lengthy jam that was recorded in a single take and edited down to a shorter arrangement. The lyrics, which portray the mind of a serial killer, were inspired by lead singer Bono's reading of Norman Mailer's 1980 novel The Executioner's Song, and other related works.

In his trial for the murder of Rebecca Schaeffer in 1989, Robert John Bardo used "Exit" as part of his defence, claiming that the song had influenced his actions.

"Exit" was performed during U2's Joshua Tree Tour in 1987 and returned to their live set in 2017 as part of their 30th anniversary tour for The Joshua Tree. Live performances of "Exit" are depicted in the 1988 film Rattle and Hum as well as the 2007 video and live album Live from Paris.

Iran Khodro

Iran Khodro (Persian: ایران‌خودرو‎), branded as IKCO, is an Iranian automaker headquartered in Tehran. The company's original name was Iran National (ایران ناسیونال). IKCO was founded in 1962 and it produced 688,000 passenger cars in 2009. IKCO manufactures vehicles, including Samand, Peugeot and Renault cars, and trucks, minibuses and buses.

Le Bardo

Le Bardo (Arabic: الباردو‎ El bardow also Bārdaw, Bardaw, and Bardois) is a Tunisian city west of Tunis. As of 2004, the population is 73,953.

Built by the Hafsid dynasty in the 15th century, the name Bardo comes from the Spanish word "prado" meaning a garden. Bardo became a residence of the Tunis court in the 18th century. With the arrival of Husseinite beys, Bardo became a political, intellectual and religious center. The ancient beys' residence was the site of the Tunisian National Assembly headquarters, and the National Museum opened there in 1882.

The city gave its name to the Treaty of Bardo, signed in nearby Ksar Saïd Palace, which placed Tunisia under a French protectorate in 1881.

Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo is a 2017 experimental novel by American writer George Saunders. It is Saunders's first full-length novel and was the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller for the week of March 5, 2017. Saunders is better known for his short stories, reporting, and occasional essays.The novel takes place during and after the death of Abraham Lincoln's son William "Willie" Wallace Lincoln and deals with the president's grief at his loss. The bulk of the novel, which takes place over the course of a single evening, is set in the bardo—an intermediate space between life and rebirth.

Lincoln in the Bardo received critical acclaim, and won the 2017 Man Booker Prize. Time magazine listed it as one of its top ten novels of 2017.

One Step Further

"One Step Further", written by Simon Jefferis, was the United Kingdom's entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1982, performed by the duo Bardo, comprising Sally Ann Triplett and Stephen Fischer.

Ostre Bardo, West Pomeranian Voivodeship

Ostre Bardo [ˈɔstrɛ ˈbardɔ] (German: Wusterbarth) is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Połczyn-Zdrój, within Świdwin County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland. It lies approximately 8 kilometres (5 mi) north of Połczyn-Zdrój, 24 km (15 mi) east of Świdwin, and 112 km (70 mi) north-east of the regional capital Szczecin.

Before 1945 the area was part of Germany. For the history of the region, see History of Pomerania.

Robert John Bardo

Robert John Bardo (born January 2, 1970) is an American man serving life imprisonment without parole after being convicted in October 1991 for the July 18, 1989 murder of American actress and model Rebecca Schaeffer, whom he had stalked for three years.

Stephen Bardo

Stephen Dean "Steve" Bardo (born April 5, 1968) is a retired American professional basketball player who had a brief career in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is currently a college basketball analyst.

Ząbkowice Śląskie County

Ząbkowice Śląskie County (Polish: powiat ząbkowicki) is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Lower Silesian Voivodeship, south-western Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. The county covers an area of 801.75 square kilometres (309.6 sq mi). Its administrative seat is Ząbkowice Śląskie, and it also contains the towns of Ziębice, Złoty Stok and Bardo.

As at 2006 the total population of the county is 69,297, out of which the population of Ząbkowice Śląskie is 16,242, that of Ziębice is 9,234, that of Złoty Stok is 2,930, that of Bardo is 2,860, and the rural population is 38,031.

Topics in Buddhism
The Buddha
Key concepts
Major figures


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.