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What is Bardo?

In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, there is a great deal of discussion of the Bardo. Bardo means gap. It refers to the interval of suspension after we die, but it also refers to suspension in the living situation. Death happens in the living situation as well. The bardo experience is part of our basic psychological make-up. There are all kinds of bardo experiences happening to us all the time, experiences of paranoia and uncertainty in everyday life. It is like not being sure of our ground, not knowing quite what we have asked for or what we are getting into.

So the Tibetan Book of the Dead is not only a message for those who are about to die and those who are already dead. It is also a message for those who are already born! Birth and death apply to everybody constantly, at this very moment.

From The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation through Hearing in the Bardo, translated with commentary by Francesca Fremantle and Chogyam Trungpa, page 2.

Listen to Chogyam Trungpa’s original talks and read the verbatim transcripts for two seminars on The Tibetan Book of the Dead at the Chogyam Trungpa Digital Library


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