acquainted and really familiar with the nature of mind in your

lifetime through spiritual practice. And this is why, rather surprisingly,

it is said in our tradition that a person who is liberated

at the moment of death is considered to be liberated in

this lifetime, and not in one of the bardo states after death; for

it is within this lifetime that the essential recognition of the

Clear Light has taken place and been established. This is a crucial

point to understand.


I have said that the bardos are opportunities, but what is it

exactly about the bardos that makes it possible for us to seize

the opportunities they offer? The answer is simple: They are

all different states, and different realities, of mind.

In the Buddhist training we prepare, through meditation, to

discover precisely the various interrelated aspects of mind, and

to skillfully enter different levels of consciousness. There is a

distinct and exact relation between the bardo states and the

levels of consciousness we experience throughout the cycle of

life and death. So as we move from one bardo to another,

both in life and death, there is a corresponding change in consciousness

which, through spiritual practice, we can intimately

acquaint ourselves with, and come, in the end, completely to


Since the process that unfolds in the bardos of death is

embedded in the depths of our mind, it manifests in life also

at many levels. There is, for example, a vivid correspondence

between the degrees in subtlety of consciousness we move

through in sleep and dream, and the three bardos associated

with death:

• Going to sleep is similar to the bardo of dying, where the

elements and thought processes dissolve, opening into the

experience of the Ground Luminosity.

• Dreaming is akin to the bardo of becoming, the intermediate

state where you have a clairvoyant and highly mobile

"mental body" that goes through all kinds of experiences. In

the dream state too we have a similar kind of body, the

dream body, in which we undergo all the experiences of

dream life.

• In between the bardo of dying and the bardo of becoming

is a very special state of luminosity or Clear Light called, as

I have said, the "bardo of dharmata." This is an experience

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