How is death perceived in various schools of Buddhism? Are they all same ? What is death according to Buddhist monk and lay Buddhist? Are there references / materials by monks on death bed about death?

4 Answers 4


In the ancient Pali scriptures, the word 'death' has two meanings: (i) conventional; & (ii) ultimate. In the language of ultimate truth, 'death' refers to the psychological idea that "I" or a "person" or a "being" ("satta") dies (SN 12.2).

The Buddha taught a 'self', 'person' or 'being' ('satta') is only a mental state of craving & attachment (SN 23.2); that in reality, there is no 'being' ('satta') to be found (SN 5.10).

'Death' only happens when there is unenlightened 'self-view'. This is why the Buddha called enlightened selfless nirvana: 'The Deathless'.

He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.' Thus was it said. With reference to what was it said? 'I am' is a construing. 'I am this' is a construing. 'I shall be' is a construing. 'I shall not be'is a construing. Construing is a disease, construing is a cancer, construing is an arrow. By going beyond all construing, he is said to be a sage at peace.

A sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die, is unagitated, and is free from longing. He has nothing whereby he would be born. Not being born, will he age? Not aging, will he die? Not dying, will he be agitated? Not being agitated, for what will he long? It was in reference to this that it was said, 'He has been stilled where the currents of construing do not flow. And when the currents of construing do not flow, he is said to be a sage at peace.'

Dhatu-vibhanga Sutta

In enlightenment, all that occurs at what is conventionally regarded as 'death' is the five aggregates come to an end, that is all.

Form is impermanent... Feeling... Perception... Fabrications... Consciousness is impermanent. That which is impermanent is unsatisfactory. That which is unsatisfactory has ceased and gone to its end.

Very good, my friend Yamaka, very good.

Yamaka Sutta


My rep not enough for comment, So this is not an good answer because I've no reference for you.

Everything that have soul are the same. Animals, people, human, monk, angel etc.

However, The basic precept for every human to close the hell was 5 percepts because these percept make you not exploit other's and your's life.

But for monk there where 227 percepts, This make lay buddhist and others can worship them.

Monk are so much much bigger chance to go to hell. But also much bigger merit for him if he was good.


There's no death.

Beings wander from life to life.

By experience they learn.

By knowledge they destine themselves to future lives.

Until enough knowledge is attained.

Wander no more.


All life is suffering. The transition to death is an escape from the sufferings we bear when we are in life. This is the teachings which the Buddha made about life and we should not have any attachments to this. There are many precepts which teach about these things and death comes when we have had enough experience.

  • You might know this already, but I'll mention it in case it's helpful. I wonder if "All life is suffering" is a misunderstanding of "All conditioned phenomena are unsatisfactory (dukkha)". That only means that nothing gives a lasting satisfaction, they change and stop being satisfactory. The "escape from suffering" is not death. Death only leads to another life. The end of suffering is full enlightenment (Arahant) and is Nibbana. Hope to keep seeing you around here.
    – Sora
    Sep 17, 2020 at 18:08

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