Monday, July 11, 2016
What is life and death as per Buddhism?
What is life and death as per Buddhism?
As per Buddhism, the sequence of life and its death is a process of transformation from one stage to another. Buddha said that all of us would pass away eventually as a part of the natural process of birth, old age, and death. As per the creed of the Buddhism, and the mythological stories related therein once a seeker inquired from a Zen Master, “What is going to happen after death?” The Zen Master replied, “I have no idea, rather I don’t know.” The seeker got surprised because Zen Master is mostly the people who possess enlighten the soul. Seeing the seeker’s surprising face, the Zen Master further said, “I am not the dead master.”
Life is enjoyable, but one has to enjoy within the ambit of the moral code of conduct. God has created this beautiful world to spread love and establish the brotherhood; one must help others in their distress and receive God’s light which is the blessings of Him. In the same way, death is also enjoyable, provided we live our lives as per the God’s wishes. Death is a matter of experience. One can have the feeling while dying, but once the death happens then, that experience cannot be shared with anyone. Either, it is a matter of bliss or gloomy. How we lead our lives, how we had given shape to our lives during our living and serve the fellow beings, all these facts matter much what type of death we have to face. Some people die peacefully in the midst of sleep for a sudden health problem, for example, due to heart failure. Some other faces so much, so difficulties for various socioeconomic constraints that they pray to God to take away their lives, and a few are so disturbed because of their chronic disease that ultimately they commit suicide.
To understand this conceptual subject, let us find out what is death? To simplify, when the life ends means one is dead. It is the cessation of life. At the same time, it is not so easy to answer what life is? Life is like a flow of the river. If you want to maintain cleanliness, you can do, means you can lead a balanced life full of fun and frolic and also pain and sufferings. But if you pollute the river with dirt, and you want to waste the precious moment of your life through engagement of frivolous and wasteful deeds and gossip, then you will be responsible for bringing a disastrous to your life. You have to consider the fact of life as the transient. It is a static curve which starts with your birth, and then you grow and reach boyhood, after that, adulthood and finally, old age grapples. At that stage of life, you may remain fit depending on your lifestyle. Or you may be afflicted with many diseases which may even cause your death. Even you are fit at old age, at some point in time; your life will end, means you will die. Buddha calls this as ‘Suchness of life.’ As per Buddhism, death is not the end of life. In fact, Buddhists believe that death is the end of the physical body. Why do we fear death? As long as you are greedy for name, fame, wealth, various types of assets, you will always be under anxiety whether you can receive these, accumulate and then utilize the same. The reason for the tension is that you are not able to fulfill your desires. The reason of fear is how quickly you can achieve the said milestone, and if you able to get how to manage, and how to keep the same under possession? The fear of death comes from the fear ceasing to exist and losing one’s identity with all types of said material comforts. Since we are so accustomed in being recognized based on our name, fame, and wealth in the societies, we are worried under the pretension that any moment we may lose all the said comforts.
Krishna propounds in Gita in a more philosophical style of professing that there is no death. Only forms change because no one dies. As per Him, this eternal truth is presented in Gita. Life is a process of continuous activities, and so death takes place millions of times in the elaborate and colorful journey of an eternal life. Death is just incidental. It happens in between. When we lose some of our beloved members, quite naturally, we become very aggrieved. Gradually, we learn to sedate and continue to live without him/her.
Though we miss them, and occasionally we remember them, we pray to Almighty to keep their souls in peace. But ultimately, death is a painful event. The question is, can we avoid death? No, you can only increase your longevity, but it is impossible to bypass death. As stated above, when someone is much near and dear to you, and if he dies, you will be morose, but the greater the element of sadness of grief and personal loss, the more one tends to feel sorrow for one.
As per Mahayana tradition, it is known as ‘death awareness.’ This tradition is used to arouse fundamental interest in compassion. It helps people to comprehend the impermanence of life. The said knowledge increases our courage and helps us to fight against the concept of death. No sooner, you start fearing death; it is but natural that you have not understood the phenomenon of mortality in right perspective. If you are in a position to view death from Buddha’s point of view, you can ascertain the fact that it is fundamentally faithful to support others when they are on the death bed. At that time, if you comfort them and impart consolation to them, there are many active reactionary forces ahead in your life. You must know that the life is impermanent, and everything is in transient though life is the long continuum. With these thoughts, you may lead a life of non-attachment. Then, the dying person can do “bid adieu,” with a lovable face to all his friends, peers, and superior colleagues. Seeing the miracle demeanor of the deceased person, you may question what is the beginning point? Most of the people will believe that time has come and one who is going, let him go and we should pray for his soul is in peace. But that sentiment is not correct. During the time of death, we must provide enough support to the person so that he can come out from the fear of death and accept the same with courage. As per Buddhism and the teachings of Buddha, “The time of death is a great opportunity for transformation for any sentient being that is aware while dying.