Bardo is a Tibetan word. Bar means between and signifies place or island. So
it can be translated as "in-between place" or "intermediate state." The term bardo is used to describe the primary transitions through the various levels of experience constituting the process of embodiment and reincarnation. There are many different ways of understanding the concept of bardo.
Bardo teachings are about the continuity and ongoing nature of mind and
experience. These instructions relate directly to everyday life as well as death. If we can recognize what is happening right here, while we are alive, we can go forward with confidence.
According to the Buddha, all sentient beings are naturally enlightened and
have been pure since the beginning. However, due to a small mistake, a little
grasping develops into ego-clinging and a state of delusion. As long as we are deluded, awareness of our true nature is obscured. The bardo is the interval from the beginning of delusion until the return to the state of primordial nature. All our wandering in between is the bardo. Until we reach enlightenment, everything we feel, know and experience, is bardo phenomena. Even now, we are wandering in an intermediate state. This will continue as long as we persist in dualism, clinging to the belief in the inherent existence of self and world.
The bardos do not exist outside of us. They are the context of our experience.
This is very important to understand. Do not think that you are only in the bardo at certain times. The entire universe of samsara and nirvana happens within the bardos. From the onset of our dreams until we completely wake up is all bardo territory. As long as we are trapped by ego-clinging and attachment, we are in the bardo.
Even highly realized beings and great practitioners arise within this process,
but they are already awake so that they do not make false distinctions between the bardo and pristine awareness. They understand that everything which appears is a display of primordial wisdom.
Khenchen Palden Sherab