Buddhism Religion Afterlife
Pages: 9 (2100 words) /
Published: Apr 9th, 2013
The idea of death and the afterlife is a topic that everyone can relate to. Whether one has a bigger belief towards western religion, eastern religion, or no religion at all (atheism), the idea of life after death exists in the minds of many. All the major world religions teach that life continues after death. As for my religion, Christianity; the beliefs can be generally classified as a linear, whereas the faith traditions such as Buddhism and a few others can be classified as mainly cyclical. Cyclical is the opposite of linear, People do not just live and die once, but can be reborn a number of times (and live a series of lives) before reaching their final end-state. After death, the soul (or the essence of a person) is reborn in this world to live a new life. The process of being re-born into the world is also known as reincarnation. This continuous cycle of life is known as samsara, and it is the aim of every Buddhist to achieve freedom from it so that they will no longer be reborn into the world.
Buddhists believe people are continually reborn into this world, unless they have achieved liberation (freedom) from samsara (the continual process of birth, death and rebirth). The Buddha experienced samsara when he saw the effects of old age and sickness, leading to death. Freedom from samsara occurs when a person has reached nirvana. Buddhism began as a way to address the suffering that exists in the world, and was not overly-focused on ultimate salvation. Salvation in early Buddhism was nirvana; it is ultimately not a place or state, but the end of rebirth. Buddha said little about nirvana, because he felt that the alleviation of suffering was far more important, and that focusing on the goal of ultimate salvation would only lead to more attachments, and therefore more suffering. Nirvana literally means “blowing out”. It describes the state of mind people have extinguished, all the desires which promote selfish attitudes (greed,