Buddhist Insight Into Death

Buddhist life is chiefly centered around the concept of Nirvana (“Nibbana” in Pali), whether while living or after death.

According to the historical teaching of Lord Buddha, nirvana refers to the achievement of perfect peace of mind and freedom from identity with material phenomena.

Hinduism defines this concept as Sayujya, Yogakshemma, Brahma-upalabdhi, etc. Buddhism, like Hinduism, believes in the concept of rebirth or reincarnation which emphasizes wandering through sams?ra due to craving and ignorance.

“Where there is nothing; where naught is grasped, there is the Isle of No-Beyond. Nirvana do I call it—the utter extinction of aging and dying.”

Rebirth means that when a person dies, he takes birth again due to previous karma and this cycle of birth and death continues until nirvana is attained.

Buddhists, however, do not believe in a permanent soul; rather they lay emphasis on the continuance of the mind, a stream of mental energy.

It is believed that on the night of His enlightenment, Buddha acquired three varieties of knowledge, including detailed knowledge about His own past lives.

You can read more about rebirth and nirvana, as per Buddhist philosophy, at www.buddha101.com and www.buddhanet.net. Moreover, there is detailed information on nirvana at Wikipedia.

Thus, according to Buddhism, death marks the transition from the current life to the next life. It holds immense religious significance because after death, the karmic forces become activated in order to determine the next birth.

Hence, the bereaved family members participate in death rites to assist the deceased in this transition on to an auspicious rebirth.

Furthermore, the death of a loved one reminds the bereaved near and dear ones of the teachings of Lord Buddha emphasizing impermanence.

As for funeral and disposal of the body, though, Buddhists are not very particular about cremation or burial. You can find information on the process of death, on this site. You can get details about death and dying in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, here.

Among the different cycles of death and dissolution, as the mind begins to dissolve, and the person eventually becomes unconscious, there is total emptiness or the mind of clear light which is considered as the final vision of death.

This vision is similar to that experienced by those who have had a near-death experience and seen a brilliant, peaceful light after passing through a black tunnel.

Inspirational Buddhist Quotes about Life and Death

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

“Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.”

“Even the gorgeous royal chariots wear out; and indeed this body too wears out. But the teaching of goodness does not age; and so Goodness makes that known to the good ones.”

“Everything is changeable, everything appears and disappears there is no blissful peace until one passes beyond the agony of life and death.”

“To be idle is a short road to death and to be diligent is a way of life; foolish people are idle, wise people are diligent.”

“Long is the night to him who is awake; long is a mile to him who is tired; long is life to the foolish who do not know the true law.”

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.”

“Without health life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering an image of death.”

“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”