The Bardos: Preparing for Death and Living Mindfully

When our lives end, there will be a separation of body and mind. The body will perish; the mind, however, will continue its journey in the bardo realms. (The term bardo is used to describe the state of existence between death and rebirth, also known as the “intermediate state”.)

The following six root verses of the six bardos can be recited in one’s  practice, or can be used as synopses or short reminders for one to reflect on the six bardos.

(1) The natural bardo of this life

At this time, when the bardo of this life appears to you,
Abandon laziness since there is no time to waste.
Establish yourself in the meaning of hearing, contemplating and meditating without distraction.

Taking the path of appearance-mind, actualize the three kayas.

(2) The bardo of dream

At this time, when the bardo of dream appears to you,
Abandon the heedlessness of the delusory sleep of a corpse.
Enter into the nature of mindfulness and non-wandering.
Recognizing dreams, practice transformation and luminosity.

(3) The bardo of meditation

At this time, when the bardo of meditation appears to you,
Abandon the accumulations of distractions and confusion.
Rest in the nature of non-wandering and non-fixation free from extremes.
Achieve stability in the development and fulfillment stages.

(4) The painful bardo of dying

At this time, when the bardo of death appears to you,
Abandon attraction, attachment and fixation to all.
Enter into the nature of the clear oral instructions without distraction.
Transfer into the unborn space of self-arising awareness.

(5) The luminous bardo of dharmata

At this time, when the bardo of dharmata appears to you,
Abandon all shock, terror and fear.
Enter into the recognition that whatever arises is pristine awareness.
Recognize the appearances of the bardo in this manner.

(6) The karmic bardo of becoming

At this time, when the bardo of becoming appears to you,
Hold the one-pointed mind of intention.
To continuously perform excellent activity
Closing the entrance to the womb, remember to reverse samsara and nirvana.
This is the time to be steadfast and to hold sacred outlook.
Abandoning jealousy, meditate on the guru and consort in union.

Source: Ponlop, Dzogchen. Mind Beyond Death. Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.