Day 49 – Bardo the Intermediate State

Day 49 – Bardo the Intermediate State

In Tibetan Buddhism, it is believed for the spirit to wander up to 49 days until rebirth takes place. This intermediate state between the death and the rebirth is called the Bardo (interval or gap) in Tibetan.

There are six stages of Bardo which are as below:

  1. The Bardo of Waking Life (Kyenay Bardo)
  2. The Bardo of Dreaming (Milam Bardo)
  3. The Bardo of Meditating (Samten Bardo)
  4. The Bardo of Dying (Chikhai Bardo)
  5. The Bardo of Experiencing Reality (Chönyi Bardo)
  6. The Bardo of Rebirth (Sidpa Bardo)

During these of Bardo, the departed soul will start to experience the dark side of unsightly horrible things without realizing that all they see and experience are the figments of their own imagination. As their mind develops clarity, you can then control fear knowing that it is all your mind’s creation. Hence the practice of meditation is highly encouraged in Buddhism.

By Day 21 it is believed the realisation of death dawns upon the deceased and they are then utterly drowned in the sadness of their loss, their attachment to their families, loss of their possessions etc. Between the day 22 and 49, the spirit begins to reconcile with the realisation of death and preparation for the rebirth can then begin. It is believed if the departed souls have the skills to meditate they can navigate their way out of Bardo state quicker.

Tibetans believe this is when we can help them find their way quickly through stages of Bardo by lighting butter lamps (candle), offering prayers, and reading holy scriptures called Bardo Thodol which is translated as “The Book of the Dead”. It is also believed with this help they can see an amazing ray of light and colours with the clarity of their vision beginning to improve. Thus entering into the next form of life.

The Root Verses of the Six Bardos 

Om Ami Dewa Hri, May you attain a swift liberation and be born in the land of Dewachen!


About TYW

I am Tenzin from Devon in England but I am originally from Bhutan. It is a small country in the Himalayas. Famously known as the Land of Gross National Happiness. Tashi Delek!
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