Time Passage in the Bardo?

I have read that we must trust our sense doorways to lead us to true wisdom.

My first experience with Bardo contact was unequivocally sensual. She called me by name as I was in the liminal sate between dream and waking. Her voice was clear and uniquely characteristic. She said that she could not remember her name. Seconds later I awoke…knowing her name.

I googled that name and found that she had passed less that a month earlier. I have read of the 49 days of Bardo.

Last night was different. It was the night after a galantamine night of very strong lucidity. This night I woke up repeatedly with many dreams that seemed to blend the dream state with the liminal state. He came to me suddenly as I was in a casual observational dream and wrapped himself around me…legs around my waist, arms around my neck. I knew immediately who he was. He…was insistent.

He used to work for me years ago…it has been15 years since I saw him or thought of him. I moved to another dream scene and he was still there, standing next to me. I exited the dream.

Upon waking I went in and googled him. He died two years ago. He was 49 years old.

I am not well versed yet in the Bardo. Could he still be there…lingering and looking for rebirth?


This is amazing Steve!

I have no idea except if there are ghosts, this might explain who/what they might be—beings who have not passed on for various reasons. My mother died in 1980 and I was in Nepal when it happened. Fast forward to 2019 we were back in Nepal and I had a dream about my mother being trapped in a Bardo-like “school” and unable to leave. We were at a Milarepa Monastary on the outskirts of Kathmandu Valley so my wife asked the Rinpoche there to help my mother, ostensibly guide to her out of the Bardo she was in and onto whatever comes next for her. He did the appropriate prayers and I never heard from her again, but who knows?

One of my ghost stories involves a room at this Air Force Base in New Mexico where I was initially stationed. In this new billet I kept dreaming about someone being in the room but no one was ever there when I awoke. After a few weeks one of the supervisors visited me in the barracks and pointed to a patched and a painted hole in the wall where a bullet had lodged after the previous resident had killed himself only a few months before. No one had told me about that but it gave me the creeps! I asked someone who knew about these things what to do and after doing it, I no longer sensed that this deceased airman was there.


This seems reasonable. Your stories about dealing with those “ghosts” also resonate.

I am just finishing a long weekend alone where I went into “retreat” of sorts…lots of meditation, contemplation and dreaming. Yesterday I felt a distinct unease after this contact so in a late morning meditation I reached out to him and gently suggested that it was time for him to move on and that he had the strength to do so.

The unease lifted and I was left with an interesting clarity.


If it was a non-embodied being then it“s good to know that you can communicate by visualisation, if you wish.
The substrate consciousness realm is their realm of expression/communication.

Additionally: if you have a connection to tibetan dharma rituals you could either learn to do or have someone do a surchod ritual among other options like a bardo ritual that @_Barry mentioned.

Non-embodied beings respond usually positively to incense and the smoke can be given as a simple offering with positive intent for the benefit of the being. Smoke is something interesting, between the worlds.


Also good to know it’s a two-way street.


This is excellent information!

It felt as if he was stuck in the Bardo and desperate to get out. Somehow I seem to have become a beacon of sorts…it felt like a moth to a light kind of thing.



I’m literally blown away by all of your experiences! I’ll just add my story, not of my own dream, but my partner Brian’s.

He and I travelled with my parents and siblings to Malta in 2013 and we rented an apartment for the month.

There were three rooms and the first couple nights we stayed in one room and then my sister wanted to rotate rooms as she didn’t like the one she had.

The first night we stayed in this alternate room (that she and her partner were just in and had no issues), Brian started having these episodes where he’d wake up in the middle of the night and try to run out of the room in a panic. He’d wake up as this was happening and he said he felt panicked but it would eventually pass. This happened at least once or twice per night while we were in the room.

I believe he was being possessed or something and unfortunately we couldn’t ask the owner if something had happened in that room.

Brian is sensitive to paranormal activity and can see ghosts as he sees them from time to time. His bedroom was absolutely haunted (the one he had at his parents house) and one night having slept over I awoke to these shot glasses all flashing (they were shot glasses that you smack hard on that table to start flashing etc.) For all of them to be flashing together was the freakiest thing ever.

I refused to stay over at his house after that! Haha

When we moved into our first home together years later, we had a few incidents at our new home. He saw a woman at the stair case when he approached it to go to bed. He saw her for a good two or three seconds before she disappeared. Another time he and I could both hear the light switch being turned on and off in the hallway several times, we weren’t near the switch but we could see the light shining on and off. That was the last thing to take place and I was thankful for it. I think he was too as it was a bit unerving.

I have to say because of these events, I question the literal translation of time in the bardos. People speak of places being haunted for years which leads me to believe any time references must not be literal.

Anyone else wonder the same thing?

  • Chantal
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At the risk of another woo-woo: After viewing my brother’s body in the morgue in New York we drove home about 200 miles away. When we walked through the door my wife informed me that something had come along with us and that we needed to send it on its way ASAP. So I started down the three stairs to the main floor—as she lit incense and a candle—and I was thrown down the steps and hit the ground hard, hit my head and shoulder very hard. Not sure how I tripped but my wife quickly finished up the little ceremony and that was that. No more trouble and she informed me that it had gone. A friend once told me “you can’t live in Nepal and not believe in ghosts.”


I definitely agree with that assessment, Chantal. I have read that time spent in the Bardo can be lengthy if one ends up…wandering. I have much more to learn about this. I will say, though, that the very concept of time passage is something that may be specific to our human field of reference. Quantum theory tells us that all things may exist at once. Time in the bardo…may not exist, at least as we understand it.

Smiling at that… :sunglasses:

It is strongly suggested in many texts that we learn to trust that which we receive through our sense doors. Those of us who have learned and are practicing the various lucid dreaming and dream yoga protocols may just be opening those sense doors a bit wider. And…there are likely to be those, like your partner @c_scerri , who are naturally predisposed to…wider reception.

As we move consciously through the trikaya transitions from waking to sleep to dreaming we are mimicking, and even experiencing, those same transitions in the bardo…and thus gaining a deeper understanding of them.


Just to add some additional point to what has already been said… many cultures believe that there are many classes of beings, some of those in our „desire realm“ as the buddhist call it and some in other realms, not inhabiting a physical body. In the tibetan tradition it is believed that certain Non-physical beings can and will interact with beings in the physical, desire realm, depending on the circumstances.
E.g. Nagas, or earth spirits may react with aversion against pollution or disturbance to their environment.
if one encounters non-physical entities, it may not necessarily be one which is in their transitional bardo (i.e. just died), it may be an encounter of two conscious lively entities being conscious of one another’s energies.
In any case, a friendly relaxed attitude is the best way to go, so it is said :slight_smile:
Somebody once said it’s like encountering a new neighbor from a foreign country, who speaks a different language.


I wonder how this might tie in to the “Many Worlds” concept where multiple “universe bubbles” exist together, each having different physical conditions that would, it seems, give rise to differing forms of sentient life.

Those presences might be physical in their “world” but unable to present as “physical” in ours when the “bubbles” coincide.


Different dimensions could explain this.


Dear friends,

Thanks for the great posts.

What I took from buddhist teachings is:

  • beings can indeed spend some indeterminate time in some kind of special bardo depending on their karma. So people with good karma will move on to their next rebirth or enlightenment. People with sufficiently negative karma will go on to the hell realms. All those in between (neither sufficiently good nor bad karma) get stuck. And this seems to be so for the majority of people. That’s why there are that many bardo beings.
  • samsara, nirvana and the states after death take place in (one’s) consciousness on different wave lengths. That’s why it is possible to communicate with people in other “realms” or rather consciousnesses that are currently attuned to another wavelength.

Best wishes,


And bardo beings react positively to smell. It’s not just incense. It’s odour in general. So you can invite them when you cook or eat to join you smelling.


That really caught my attention. I found one very interesting article that directly references this in this excerpt:

Vasubandhu describes the body of a being in the intermediate process as being of mental origin, and says that it resembles the body of the beings in the realm one is destined to be reborn in. A being in the intermediate process eats odor, and can move swiftly through air and unobstructedly through solid objects.

Here is a link to the entire article which appears to be very well sourced:


Thanks for this @Flenibo :slightly_smiling_face:


Makes sense. When we’ve had recent deaths in the family my wife will set out some very aromatic food for those who have passed on with certainty that they will come to “eat it.”

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I find the teachings of Trungpa and others interesting in which all realms have to do with predominant states of one‘s mind. E.g. an predominantly angry mind stream is naturally attracted to hell realm, where there is … anger.


So that’s why there is so much “Hell on Earth.” I’ve been there.


Thanks Steve, for the article. Interesting new angle


"Makes sense. When we’ve had recent deaths in the family my wife will set out some very aromatic food for those who have passed on with certainty that they will come to “eat it.”

That makes it so interesting, I feel. In streams of consciousness stuck in the bardo, might arise a feeling of gratitude because we offered them the odour of our food. And this feeling of gratitude that arose might make all the difference for a bardo being and might make them move on to a better place.