Fremantle (2001) states that there are six traditional bardo states known as the Six Bardos: the Bardo of This Life (p. 55); the Bardo of Meditation (p. 58); the Bardo of Dream (p. 62); the Bardo of Dying (p. 64); the Bardo of Dharmata (p. 65); and the Bardo of Existence (p. 66).
Shugchang, et al. (2000: p. 5) discuss the Zhitro (Tibetan: Zhi-khro) teachings which subsume the Bardo Thodol and mention Karma Lingpa, terma and Padmasambhava and list the Six Bardo: “The first bardo begins when we take birth and endures as long as we live. The second is the bardo of dreams. The third is the bardo of concentration or meditation. The fourth occurs at the moment of death. The fifth is known as the bardo of the luminosity of the true nature. The sixth is called the bardo of transmigration or karmic becoming.
- Kyenay bardo (skye gnas bar do): is the first bardo of birth and life. This bardo commences from conception until the last breath, when the mindstream withdraws from the body.
- Milam bardo (rmi lam bar do): is the second bardo of the dream state. The Milam Bardo is a subset of the first Bardo. Dream Yoga develops practices to integrate the dream state into Buddhist sadhana.
- Samten bardo (bsam gtan bar do) is the third bardo of meditation. This bardo is generally only experienced by meditators, though individuals may have spontaneous experience of it. Samten Bardo is a subset of the Shinay Bardo.
- Chikhai bardo (‘chi kha’i bar do): is the fourth bardo of the moment of death. According to tradition, this bardo is held to commence when the outer and inner signs presage that the onset of death is nigh, and continues through the dissolution or transmutation of the Mahabhuta until the external and internal breath has completed.
- Chönyi bardo (chos nyid bar do): is the fifth bardo of the luminosity of the true nature which commences after the final ‘inner breath’ (Sanskrit: prana, vayu; Tibetan: rlung). It is within this Bardo that visions and auditory phenomena occur. In the Dzogchen teachings, these are known as the spontaneously manifesting Thödgal (Tibetan: thod-rgyal) visions. Concomitant to these visions, there is a welling of profound peace and pristine awareness. Sentient beings who have not practiced during their lived experience and/or who do not recognize the clear light (Tibetan: od gsal) at the moment of death are usually deluded throughout the fifth bardo of luminosity.
- Sidpa bardo (srid pa bar do): is the sixth bardo of becoming or transmigration. This bardo endures until the inner-breath commences in the new transmigrating form determined by the “karmic seeds” within the storehouse consciousness.