49 Days in the Bardo

hello everybody, i hope everybody is well and enjoying this mystical experience. in a brief sense i understand that from the buddhist point of view at the point of death there is dissolution of all senses into nothingness as when falling asleep. this void is the ground 0 of all. the background of all happening whether dream or waking, and the gap between thoughts and dreams. hence the unmoving aspect in all movement, awaress, knowing, self, whatever word fits best.

usually presence, or obersving of this state when falling asleep is bypassed, we dream, and “wake up”. sometimes dreams not even remembered. to my understanding this is what happens at death. if you are unaware of the process of dissolution, unaware of the ground 0 of all, unaware of dreams, you simply wake up in a new body and start over again. after beeing pushed around by your own energy 49 days you finally find refuge in a new body to escape. according to my understanding of the teaching, if you can fall asleep conciously, you have the chance to die conciously, ro remain in the no dream space, as to remain in the ground 0 space at the point of death, which would be liberation, nirvana, and the break of the rebirth cycle. as i understand you can choose to be reborn, and have free will and choice of when and where and what.

if you miss the chance of realisation or resting in the self, but then fall right into the 49 days of bardo sensations and appearances of your own mind, you would still have 49 days to become lucid of these sensations and appearances i assume? and therefore recognize your true nature as the observer of all these sensations and illusionary images, such as being in a lucid dream recognizing the dream and that your dream body is also only a dream in order to experience dream. this would also set you free and bring you into the clear light i assume?

from my experience in lucid dreams, becoming lucid in the middle of a dream, flying, or moving, its possible to remain in the unmoving. images and sensations still appear and also flying, or falling, but its observed from a unmoving aspect. just like sitting in a bus, your watching the world pass by, but your body is unmoving and you feel no speed or movement at all you watch all at once.

gazing at dream images in this lucid state or diving into portals into the void dont seem to last long, and the shift into the material body happens after the dream slowly dissovles. this wouldnt be possible in the 49 days as there is nowhere to shift to as the physical body is dissolved, the only other option would be the dissolution of bardo appearance and ground 0 remaining. this would mean that it would acually be “easier” in a sense to rest in the clear light mind at the death bardo stages, then in the lucid dreaming stages?

this was just a interesting thought which i wanted to share and get some feedback on if anyone is interested.


Welcome Gersuch, great way to start a conversation! Do you have any particular sources for your thoughts about the Bardo(s)? It’s great to share those resources and they are always welcome for all of us facing the inevitable “dream at the end of time.”

There are some good resources in the 'Club for The Bardos as well, including here, here and this one too. It’s quite a big subject and it does seem to generate a lot of books and media resources about it.

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What comes to mind reading this part is this: wouldn’t the shift into rebirth be an alternative to maintaining lucidity in the clear light?

While lucid dreaming, we lose awareness, the dream dissolves and we waken to the waking dream of samsara. In the bardo of becoming, do we lose lucidity of clearlight and moved by the force of our karma, waken into rebirth? Of course I don’t know… just stumbling through this rich terrain of study hoping to trip into more understanding. Thank you for your interesting post.

I will check out those references, Barry, thanks.


hello barry, thank you for the warming welcoming. the sources i have were reading certain chapters in books such as dream yoga and the practice of natural light by namkhai norbu, the tibetan yogas of dream and sleep, dream yoga by andrew holecek, the tibetan book of the dead, and also several other books which cover this topic. the thoughts on the bardo are a mixture of soaked in literature and own experience.

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thank you for your reply and insight. yes i agree with you, these would be the only two options that would come into my mind, the arising of a new body when the 49th day has come and at that point lucidity is lost. its a very tricky insight at this point. perhaps i havent read enough detailed material. because losing lucidity aswell as “remembering” / becoming lucid can happen any moment. so if you maintain lucidity for 48 days and one thought is followed in the last day or moment does this lead into non lucid rebirth? also how is time measured of these 49 days? i havent felt the sense of time in dreams, lucid or non lucid. is there any being currently incarnated who can truly know? as all experiences shared are lastly filtered through mind.

all just questions that the mind has, as the mind is always curiouse. at the end, after observing minds questioning, all mind wants in control, and fears the loss of it. is mind ever in control? is there even free will? to my experience, its the illusion of free will when i enquire choices. there is always a push of energy how ever subtle when making choices, these choices are tendencies which relate from past choices or experiences. final observation when mind quiets down is that, whether lucid, non lucid, bardo, or clear light, the underlying truth of all is the knowing of it, the observance of whatever arises or doesnt arise. and when clear light is “missed” who is there left to care anyhow?


Good question addressed recently here.

hm… yes, it would be great to meet some person who has experienced the Bardos lucidly and came back being able to answer these questions first hand with authority by his or her own experience. Who knows, maybe such people exist and one is fortunate enough to meet and be able to ask them.

Some thoughts on some of your points:
I personally don‘t think that it is a matter of just holding on lucidly for roundabout 49 days in the Bardo and then, as a result, becoming enlightened or freed from rebirth.

Lucid awareness seems to be an essential factor but it seems to me that that is one of several consciousness factors that need to be in place.

In a (regular) lucid dream, the dreamer is lucid but still has a dream identity.
The dreaming identity still reacts more or less to the dream visions emotionally, with more or less subtle grasping or aversion. I think that there is indeed a spectrum ranging from interacting lucidly but with emotions from the vantage point of a dreaming identity, to, passively lucidly viewing the dream unfold as a non-entity.
Lucidity is a quality of rigpa but it is possible to be lucid while having a weak connection to one‘s own rigpa. I presume that this is like dreaming lucidly while having a strong identification to one‘s dream body. In this case, one is lucid and knows that the dream is a phenomenon of one‘s mind but still likes or dislikes some aspects of the dream more or less.
One of the qualities which I think is missing here is spacious quiescence.
When both qualities are present, when consciousness becomes more and more still, rigpa shines through stronger.
When both qualities are present and balanced, great bliss arises naturally, which, I guess, is the key to the state of enlightenment.

In such a state, appearances to consciousness are understood to be reflections of consciousness itself and there is no conventional identity, there are no preferences, hence no aversion or grasping, thus no source of polarity. I presume that this lucid, quiescent, blissful state is the stable state of enlightenment.
Of course, this is just speculation:-)

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Hi Gerusch,

This question, 'is there even free will? ’ is a good one and as Barry mentioned, has come up various times lately in talks. Andrew alluded to estimates that 98% of our thoughts and actions arise out of our subconscious minds and this the force that moves us mostly can’t exactly be called ‘Free Will’.

He described it as ‘we only have veto power’. Once the impulse or thought arises if we are lucid, we can refrain or redirect. And I guess we can cultivate getting to know that shadow content using meditation, contemplation and lucid dream shadow work. So much to do! I better get on it! I might be at 99% with a strong addiction to ignorance…yet I do persist anyway. The good conversations here helps keep me from falling off the tightrope and keep going.

Barry, I enjoyed that vid of Mingyur Rinpoche about the 3 death bardos.

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thank you very much. i do agree with your point of view. when enquiring experience whether waking, or dream, this falls right into place. lately i have been putting my focus on the experiencing the void in lucid dreaming. mostly going through portals such as mirrors, dream ground, flying into space. sometimes but very rarely becoming lucid in the void directly. and this brings me to a interesting point. entering the void ist often accompanied by a falling sensation, sometimes a very subtle energetisch sense of body, or bein in the middle of nowhere or no-thingness. i believe this is the last thing mind projects to have some sort of hold. the longer lucidity is maintaned in the void, the less sensations of falling or energetic body there will be and all will merge into one (as it already is anyhow). but is is as you pointed out, whether having bodily sensations, however subtle or dense, whether seeing images or not, whether hearing or not, the more we rest in the self, the space, or as you said “when consciousness becomes more and more still”…it is so very clear that all, whatever happens, is happening in that space and the sensations are projecting of the very space itself. i enquire myself, the only way to true non duality is to include all sensations, to examine them to find out simply this. everything else, which is a trap my mind taps in to very often, is mind wanting to experience no mind.

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You might want to check out what Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche or other teachers have to say regarding the ability to „look nakedly“ at objects. It has to do with a way of viewing/enquiring without intellectual pondering.

In another post, I paraphrased Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche who often said something like „Fixation is almost always on the „what“ … but rarely on the „who“…“

It could be interesting to you to practice looking nakedly at the mind „wanting to experience no-mind“.

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Me too… :sunglasses:

What a fantastic discussion! Nice job @Gerusch

The dream state is a wonderful laboratory in which to practice living and dying within the given constraints of this universe. Working with the unification of the three kayas we can maximize our experience as humans.

I wonder, though, if the real enlightenment may be there for us to find in the liminal spaces between states where we may be able to step outside of the perceived constraints of time, space…and samsara. :wink:

EDIT: Those constraints are actually quite real.


thanks for the reply. the teachings absolutely make sense. these glimpses have been experienced many times over and over again. many unmistaken non dual experiences, whether it be dream, wake, psychedelics, listening to music…every single time so absolutely clear that it always has been, always is, always ever will be just that. whether realized or not. the naked looking at objects is just that, its simply looking, with no person looking. its always that mind divides the looking into two, imagining itself as the looker at a object. this is what filters reality. its been unmistakenly witnessed by experience countless times.

to me personally, the awakening or however you want to call it, “happened” 2 years ago. insight into the self. its been a tricky “chasing my own tail” since then, as mind grabs every experience and wants a piece of the pie. the awakening or realisation, i often mistakend or thought of before hand as the full ride acomplished, realizing only afterwards, its only half the “job” done. or even less than half the job (rupert spira once mentioned this also in one of his talks). from then on its been a reconditioning of conditioned 33 years of mind through the realisation. even after this sentence, its mind that i observe once again placing some sort of final destination in the future when its imagining a job only half done. there is never more than now, never will be, its simply just “what is” (as many neo advaita teachings simply put it). it is just that simple, but mind sometimes needs intellectual understanding to the extent it can grasp the unexplainable stillness. atleast this is my current evaluation at this NOW moment from my filtered personal perspective.

after all books, all experience, all everything, it simply comes down to the simplest of the simplest, just remaining in the self, remaining NOW! so simple that it becomes seemingly difficult.(i think i read this same quote in this forum or somewhere the last days also)… and its blissfully laughable every time when this simpleness is once again unmistakenly flooded in experience.


I find that simply remaining in NOW in meditation, or post meditation, that I am still vibrating, or appear to be vibrating, so maybe that’s why it’ so difficult for me. The speed of thought, grasped or non-grasped, seems to move the winds up and down the body.

I think that you are vibrating because you are always in motion. Even as you seek to remain in the NOW you are realizing that there IS no NOW.

The infinite moment is ceaselessly unfolding. There is…no place to stop that process and say…this is NOW.

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Perhaps it’s luminosity that’s always in motion?


Hmmmm…what is luminosity, really? One way to see it is as clear light that is being reflected by something and made visible. The light that is generated by the sun is clear in outer space as there is no atmosphere to reflect it. The clear light of sleep is black and cool…until it is reflected off our thoughts into dreams.

That light is created by heat, right? Motion creates heat…the continuous motion of us trying to catch up and remain with the elusive infinite moment may be creating the luminosity to which you refer. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I was thinking that if the physical world is made of frozen light as some assert, then unfrozen light, aka luminosity, must be at the foundation of . . . whatever it is I can’t adequately conceptualize.

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‘In a world of light there are neither points nor moments of time; beings woven from light would live nowhere and nowhen; only poetry and mathematics are capable of speaking meaningfully about such things.’

Yuri Manin

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