- the natural bardo of this life (Skt. jatyantarābhava; Tib. རང་བཞིན་སྐྱེ་བའི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. rang bzhin skye ba'i bar do) which begins when a connection with a new birth is first made and continues until the conditions that will certainly lead to death become manifest.
- the painful bardo of dying (Skt. mumūrṣāntarābhava; Tib. འཆི་ཁ་གནད་གཅོད་ཀྱི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. 'chi kha gnad gcod kyi bar do) which begins when these conditions manifest and continues until the 'inner respiration' ceases and the luminosity of the dharmakaya dawns.
- the luminous bardo of dharmata (Skt. dharmatāntarābhava; Tib. ཆོས་ཉིད་འོད་གསལ་གྱི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. chos nyid 'od gsal gyi bar do) which lasts from the moment the dharmakaya luminosity dawns after death and continues until the visions of precious spontaneous perfection are complete.
- the karmic bardo of becoming (Skt. bhāvāntarābhava; Tib. སྲིད་པ་ལས་ཀྱི་བར་དོ་; Wyl. srid pa las kyi bar do) which lasts from the moment the bardo body is created and continues until the connection with a new rebirth is made.