• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare the Buddhist understandings of life after death with on other view

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Compare the Buddhist understandings of life after death with on other view We are all aware that, at least in a physical sense, we will one day inevitably cease to exist, yet this universally known fact has produced many different conclusions about what may happen after and Buddhist thought differs extremely from that of Christianity. The issue is inexorably linked to eastern and western views of causation and what constitutes personal identity as these play a major role in influencing beliefs about the afterlife. Indeed to even talk of 'life after death' seems linguistically problematic; we are trying to approach two contradictory phrases 'life' and 'death' and to reconcile them. The way in which to do this largely depends on whether one's personal view is that of a cyclical universe or a linear one, for example it may seem easier from a Buddhist viewpoint to literally talk of 'life after death' as the belief in rebirth means that to a Buddhist there is literally a life, another living existence, after one's earthly body has died. From a Christian perspective however the phrase has an entirely different meaning, through resurrection and the intervention of God one continues to the afterlife although in a very different way than reincarnation. The most obvious point that should be made in reference to Buddhist understanding of life after death are the doctrines of karma, anatta, nirvana and rebirth. ...read more.

Middle

Some Christians believe that when people die their souls rest or 'sleep' and are unaware of time passing, until Judgement day in which God raises all beings, who are then Judged and will enter either Heaven or Hell, others believe that after death those who followed Jesus are immediately resurrected and enter 'the kingdom of God' (1 Corinthians 15). Other Christians have rejected the idea of a literal Heaven and Hell believing instead the concepts are in fact states of mind, or that Heaven does exist and it is being in the presence of God, whereas Hell is not a place of eternal torture but rather self exclusion from God. Despite the large contrasts between these two forms of belief there are some similarities and parallels albeit rather tenuous. Many people have often compared the Pure Land in some forms of Mahayanism to that of Heaven, the idea of a place of 'eternal light' and 'goodness' and to get there you must have faith in the grace of another being, God or Amitabha respectively. However for Pure Land Buddhists the Pure Land realm is not the ultimate destination or aim as in Christianity, it is still in Samsara and thus viewed as a favourable place to cultivate the necessary qualities to reach nirvana but is not Heaven as in Christian belief. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are also other more obvious contrasts. The Christian view of life after death is linear, you are born, you live, you die, you go to Heaven or Hell. Your existence was created purposefully by God and you only have one unchanging eternal soul and thus you are only ever one person. On the other hand however the Buddhist understanding is of a cyclical universe in which sentient beings are trapped and the ultimate aim is to attain nirvana and escape. Therefore the beliefs on what it means to live after one has physically died are extremely different. Parapsychology could be used as evidence by either belief, those who recall past lives under hypnosis may add weight to the belief in rebirth. Equally however those who have near death experiences or other religious experiences may support the Christian view. Ultimately however neither understanding of life after death is more valid than the other. Both religions are approaching the topic from different stand points and although there are parallels the presence of a personal God in monotheism means that Christian view points are evidently going to differ hugely from the cyclical non theistic view of Eastern thought. We have no way of knowing or testing either belief and as we are all yet to experience our own deaths perhaps the only way we will know is eschatologically. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Buddhism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Buddhism essays

  1. Buddhism is one of the biggest religions founded in India in the 6th and ...

    teachings of Buddha to accommodate a greater number of people: the "Greater Vehicle," or Mahayana Buddhism. The "Great Vehicle" was the name that the Buddhists came up for this new way of thinking, Mahayana Buddhism. The Buddhists spent much of their lives concentrating on reaching nirvana, which was balanced with everyday activities.

  2. Today is a result of yesterday, tomorrow is a result of today.(TM) To what ...

    Acting morally means acting right at this very moment. Acting right at this moment is the only true morality. It can be discussed right and wrong as abstract concepts, but those abstractions are always detached from the real situation in front of a Buddhist now, and so they are partial

  1. Determination of Human Behaviours and The Metamorphosis

    Society destroys the relationship of Gregor as well as the relationship within his family. Furthermore, the description of his father's uniform highlights this message. His father wears the uniform at home as if he is "always ready for duty" (41)

  2. Buddhism - : Training the mind properly is more important than acting correctly Do ...

    Also, this rule means that you should believe that nothing lasts forever (annica), so that if you lose anything you won't sorrow over the loss of anything (dukkha). If you follow this rule you will automatically follow the rules for actions (right action, right speech, and right living).

  1. Emergence Of The Buddha

    The origins of Buddhism are closely connected with the origins of Hinduism. Buddhists don't believe in a God they just worship the highest in the caste system, the Brahmin. The Buddha is a highly respected person in the Buddhists Society. Buddhism is an amalgamation, an adaptation of Religions over time.

  2. Teachings Now the ...

    a milkmaid named Nandabala, and she offered him some rice pudding to eat. He accepted it. The other holy men thought that Siddhartha was giving up his fast and as a consequence, they then decided to desert him.

  1. Explain the Concepts of Anicca and Anatta

    using microscopes, people would be able to see that the atoms and molecules the objects are made from are constantly changing their configuration.

  2. Buddhism. Many aspects of the belief system represent notions of continuity and change ...

    The main story in the Buddhist tradition is the legend of the Buddha?s life and his search for enlightenment. This places high sacred significance on the location of Bodh Gaya and the Bodhi tree found there, where it is said Siddhartha found enlightenment and became Buddha.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work