From the Tibetan Buddhist point of view, we can divide our entire existence into four continuously interlinked realities:

1. life; 2. dying and death; 3. after death; and 4. rebirth.

These are known as the four bardos:

1. the natural bardo of this life,
2. the painful bardo of dying,
3. the luminous bardo of dharmata, and
4. the karmic bardo of becoming.

The bardos are particularly powerful opportunities for liberation because there are, the teachings show us, certain moments that are much more powerful than others and much more charged with potential, when whatever you do has a crucial and far-reaching effect.

I think of a bardo as being like a moment when you step toward the edge of a precipice; such a moment, for example, is when a master introduces a disciple to the essential, original, and innermost nature of his or her mind. The greatest and most charged of these moments, however, is the moment of death.