Sunday, February 8, 2015

Buddhist Thanatology

The Merriam-Webster defines “Thanatology” as “the description or study of the phenomena of death and of psychological mechanisms for coping with them.” Buddhism has a great deal to say about death and hence it will be beneficial to discuss everything that Buddhism has to say about the phenomenon of death  under the term “Buddhist thanatology.” Prince Siddhārtha might not have become a buddha had he not witnessed death. What is death? What are the causes of death? What are the signs of death? What is the Māra of Death? Can one overcome death? How can one overcome death? Who can overcome death? What is deathlessness? Is there such a state called immortality? Is immortality desirable? What is command over the span of life? What happens during the death? What happens after the death? How should one deal with the dead? What are the procedures and rites and rituals connected with death? What is a ’das log? What is “buying” or “cheating” death? There may be many more issues that can be discussed under this term “Buddhist Thanatology.”

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