A Buddhist View on The Concept of Life After Death
Life is unstable. After reaching the world, there is no certainty for the survival of a human being. The tenure of survival can be few second, minutes, decades and even century. However, focusing on the bitter part of reality, we all have to grow and die one day. Generally, people think that death ends everything. It is a thing to lament and despise. But, Buddhism has an entirely distinct concept for death. Buddhism says that life and death do not merely start when we come in this world. In actual, we all existed from quite before. It’s just that we reborn and receives another life in the unending cycle of death and life. The constant birth is a bigger problem than the end of life and occurrence of death is.
When one talks about life after death, it just does not mean that everything has come to an end. Instead, it’s the beginning of something new and something better. People fear death. But actually, there should be nothing about it to feel scared. It should be taken as New Year which is marked with joy and prosperity. Hence, as long as we all are living, we should be happy and celebrate our wealth and health, and should not feel afraid even if ailments or death happen.
The death types
- Life`s end: no matter how long has our survival been, once the life that was obtained from our past deeds is finished, we suffer demise. It is just like a lamp in which light extinguishes as soon as the fuel goes off. There is no alternative to death. We all have to face it at some or the other point of our lives.
- The merit exhaustion: just like a human sentient needs groceries, shelter and clothing to lead the life. Some of the people may die much before they reach their old ages because of exhaustion of their merits.
- Dying at a critical point of life: some of the people may suffer the end of their lives because of fires, flood, sickness and Lower nutritional levels. These kinds of deaths are quite different from the ones mentioned above.
In pertinence to death, a Buddhist follower must remember that one can die any time irrespective of age or prosperity. Unforeseen exhaustion and merit exhaustion are some of the unexpected events. Life is prone to get ended. Therefore, we all should be very diligent in practicing the Bodhisattva.
Life should be never misunderstood to be determined by the past karmas only. In fact, it is primarily influenced by the actions performed in the current life. If we indulge ourselves in wrong doings and bad karmas then we may eventually turn poor and die out of hunger in the middle or lower age group itself.
A good life can be only obtained by following the eightfold path of enlightenment. Initiating good actions will make life easier, while the wrong actions will turn life tougher. The rebirth of a person totally depends upon the deeds done in past lives. A human may receive the life of a ghost, animal, demi-god, or a human. Receiving the life of a human after dying as a human is a rare concept. This is indeed escapism from the samsara cycle.
- Heaven: there are 37 heavens altogether which encompass eternal happiness and peace. The person who receives heaven after death does not suffer from hunger, pain, sadness or any worldly discomfort. Such a person always remains at a state of bliss. Buddhism says those who want to receive heaven after death should do good karmas and help others.
- Human life: the kind of human life received is accordance to our karmas and faith.
- Demi-gods: The demi-gods can clearly see the superior positions of god and therefore they feel envied constantly. They are marked with jealousy and constant struggle as they always remain dissatisfied with their lives.
- Animals: if a human who has committed lots of evil deeds and has killed lots of animals will surely become an animal. Animals do not have any freedom and are constantly hunted by humans. Some of the animals are a subject to human entertainment as well.
- Hungry ghost: the ones who have always been cruel and evil will eventually receive lives of hungry ghosts who feel eternally frustrated because of hunger and thirst. These ghosts exhaust themselves in continuous and unfulfilling searches.
Buddhists do not believe in souls and god
Buddhists believe that everything eventually changes and nothing has an eternal existence. Therefore, god cannot exist. Dissimilar to other religions, Buddhism does not believe that there is any eternal create or eternal being called the soul. Instead of souls taken rebirth, Buddhists believe that energy gets reborn.
Buddhists truly believe in life after death because they think that each human takes birth infinite times. Until nirvana is achieved, human beings continue to rotate in the cycles of birth and death. The cycle continuously traps the living sentiments in their chakras till they release the true path and its importance. As soon as nirvana is achieved, the enlightened individual dies physically and does not take any rebirth. The Buddhist monks preach that one is able to achieve nirvana, and then the world can be seen as a reality. Nirvana means to accept the truth and remaining awake to reality.
Some of the Buddhist followers believe that the enlightened individuals can take rebirths in order to help others to attain nirvana. They believe that attainment of nirvana is the end of all world sufferings and sorrows.
Buddhists suggests that the humans have to make wise decisions by selecting amongst the paths of wealth and nirvana. The teachings of Buddha preach not to fear and do good deeds so that the rebirths are good. Buddha could recall his previous lives after attainment of nirvana. Even the Tibetan scriptures have various teachings of life, death and rebirth. The Tibetan imageries mentioned in these scriptures showcases the realms of Buddhists beliefs.