Re:Framing Death and Buddhism

So we are taking about death. People in China usually don’t like to discuss death because they simply just want to escape the fact that they are going to die someday. However, I think death is not only the end of a life, but also the start of another life.

I was born in a family which most of the family member are Buddhism. As I grew up and read more books about Buddhism, I start to understand how Buddhism explain death.

In my opinion, Buddhism’s views on death is like the life cycle of a piece of leaf. First the leaf grow from the branches of the tree. Then the leaf will be alive for days. At last, the leaf dies and drop out from the branches to the soil. The dead leaf will break down in the elements which provide tree nutrition. Leaf died but it is still alive in another condition and form. And that leaf’s life will keep going and going.

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(The life cycle of a leaf. Photo Credit: Coralise)

Buddhists commonly believe that life and death are a part of a cycle known as Samsara, in which one’s actions in this life and all previous incarnations of life lead to further reincarnation. Actually, we existed before we were born, and we will have another life after death. We will be reborn in another place and the cycle of life and death will continue endlessly.

Samsara and Karma are two interesting and important concepts of death in Buddhism. Samsara is the samsaric (greed, hate, delusion) in your mindit’s not really place. The idea of Samsara in Buddhism refer to the cycle of life, which incorporates birth, living, death and coming back to life. The term can be actually interpreted as “continuous movement.” Samsara is the constantly cycle of birth and death, where creatures push through six states of existence.  In this passgae, it provides detail explaination about the Samsara and there are some cool images about the wheel of life. I believe after read this you will have a deeper understanding for Samsara and death in Buddhism.

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(A common artistic representations of the Six States of Existence, Photo Credit: Tanka)

Karma is the Buddhist version of the law of cause and results. It shows that whatever you get from life is the thing that you sow. Every day gives people the chance to change their Karma, with the opportunity to do great or not to do great.  In Buddhism, whatever you did in this life will influence what you get to be in your next life. According to these, the cycle of Samsara is driven by the law of Karma. This website talks about some information about the karmic results and the relationship between Karma and nirvana.

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(A classic quote from Buddha about death. Photo Credit: Larry Chang)

Overall, Buddhism’s concept of Samsara and Karma encourage people to be kind and grateful in their daily life in order to accumulate good virtue for next life. Buddhism taught me that don’t be afraid of death, just need to live kindly everyday. Value each moment, appreciate my life!

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