Death and Dying in Hinduism and Buddhism

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Death and Dying- Customs and Rituals
Hinduism and Buddhism

Religious and cultural beliefs play a significant role in the processes of death and dying. These beliefs have created rituals that provide a conceptual framework for understanding the experience of death. Cultures across the world have different, unique rituals surrounding death and dying. This can be proven by comparing Hinduism and Buddhism. Their pre-death rituals, burial rites and concepts of afterlife are very different. Hindus and Buddhists have diverse pre-death rituals. When death is imminent, Hindus are brought home to die. They are placed in either their room or the entryway of their house with their head facing east. A lamp is lit near their head, and the person is encouraged to focus on their mantra. The Hinduism religion states that a mantra is a word repeated during mediation. Family members sing hymns, pray and read scripture for the dying person. When Buddhists are dying, it is up to their family to keep them positive. Loved ones must free themselves of disturbing emotion. It is their responsibility to help the dying person accept death as a natural and inevitable part of life. Hindus rituals are scripted, religious and self-dependant while Buddhist’s rituals are low-maintenance and mostly dependant on family members. In conclusion, Hinduism and Buddhism are very different in regards to pre-death rituals. Hinduism beliefs about the afterlife vary significantly from Buddhism beliefs. Hindus believe that humans go through a never-ending cycle of birth and death. Hindus believe in karma. Karma is “action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman” (Collins English Dictionary, Web). Buddhists believe that every soul is reborn until it has been cleansed. In Buddhism, the goal is to achieve Nirvana. Nirvana is “freedom from the endless cycle of personal...