Buddhist Beliefs on Afterlife
Buddhist Doctrines of Death:
Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.
Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp – a phantom – and a dream.
Buddhism believes that one is either reincarnated or able to transcend from the world of illusion, to the peace of state of mind–nirvana. The latter is the ultimate aim of one’s religious life–to get out of the cycle of death and rebirth.
Buddhism adopts the basic Hindu philosophy of reincarnation. Reincarnation, usually known as transmigration, is a process of taking a new body in the next life, while the spirit is reborn until it reaches the ultimate enlightenment. According to Buddhism, one can be reborn into other worlds outside of humanity:
- Animal Kingdom
- Human World
- World of Jealous Gods
Karma determines one’s next life. Karma is referred to as the tally sheet of good and bad deeds and it follows us throughout the course of our existence. Buddhism beliefs on death is to reject evil, bad and ignorance, and to seek good and truth.
Buddhist religion believes the notion that the desire of craving worldly things is the very cause that leads one to suffering and the death/rebirth process. Hence, the aim of escaping the wheel of life is to be free from desire. As the end of rebirth, nirvana means extinction of all desires. It is the state of final release from the cycle of death and rebirth. It is the extinguishing of all karma, all craving.
Buddhist religion says little about nirvana, since it believes that the liberation from suffering is far more important. Buddhism encourages its followers to give donations of goods, services, and money to monasteries, to recite doctrines and to take part in good deeds, so that they are able to gain merits that can transcend them into a more desirable rebirth which would bring them closer to enlightenment.