1

Does self end after death?

Please note:

In my question »death« means: the physical processes of brokenness, graying, wrinkling, break up of the aggregates, casting off of the body, interruption in the life faculty which turn the physical body into dust. Materialistic death, physical death, the ending of life death that we see happening every day on television, i.e. death that happens when somebody is killed by pistol, disease, car accident, etc. Death that happens at complete breakup of the physical body.

And »self« means: grasping (upadana) as »I«, »me« and »mine« to one or more of the five aggregates (physicality, feeling, perception, mental formations and sense consciousness) with craving (tanha).

  • 1
    Why not simply ask if there's life after death? – Sankha Kulathantille Oct 1 '17 at 15:19
  • Death & grasping are one & the same thing. I explained this in my answer. The word 'death' ('marana') has the same root as 'Mara' ('Satan'). Many suttas (eg. SN 22.63) say grasping the five aggregates is Mara. – Dhammadhatu Oct 1 '17 at 20:46
  • 1
    (Maybe) Better to put your update into a new question because it would confuse everything. Maybe Beginner like to answer this question independently. – Samana Johann Oct 3 '17 at 16:01
4

In the Dhammapada 153-154, we find the Buddha exclaiming:

Through the round of many births I roamed
without reward,
without rest,
seeking the house-builder.
Painful is birth
again & again.

House-builder, you're seen!
You will not build a house again.
All your rafters broken,
the ridge pole dismantled,
immersed in dismantling, the mind
has attained to the end of craving.

The commentary on these verses by Ven. Thanissaro states:

DhpA: These verses were the Buddha's first utterance after his full Awakening. For some reason, they are not reported in any of the other canonical accounts of the events following on the Awakening.

DhpA: "House" = selfhood; house-builder = craving. "House" may also refer to the nine abodes of beings — the seven stations of consciousness and two spheres (see Khp 4 and DN 15).

The word anibbisam in 153 can be read either as the negative gerund of nibbisati ("earning, gaining a reward") or as the negative gerund of nivisati, altered to fit the meter, meaning "coming to a rest, settled, situated." Both readings make sense in the context of the verse, so the word is probably intended to have a double meaning: without reward, without rest.

The commentary by Acharya Buddharakkhita states:

According to the commentary, these verses are the Buddha's "Song of Victory," his first utterance after his Enlightenment. The house is individualized existence in samsara, the house-builder craving, the rafters the passions and the ridge-pole ignorance.

I interpret this as saying that the self ("house") is deconstructed at death, but reconstructed again in the following birth, due to craving ("house-builder"), according to dependent origination.

So, the answer to your question would be "yes, it ends, but then it arises again".


Apparently, this question was asked with the skeptical view on whether rebirth truly exists or not.

I think this reference from the DN2 should lay our doubts to rest:

"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives (lit: previous homes). He recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, [recollecting], 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his manifold past lives in their modes and details. Just as if a man were to go from his home village to another village, and then from that village to yet another village, and then from that village back to his home village. The thought would occur to him, 'I went from my home village to that village over there. There I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I went to that village over there, and there I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I came back home.' In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives. He recollects his manifold past lives... in their modes and details.

  • If you need any commentary translation, I really welcome you (and everyone who trusting in mahāvihāra's tipitaka) to ask the translation and any pāli-reference from me. I am sorry to invite you in this answer's reply because I don't know how can I contact someone in this site. – Bonn Oct 1 '17 at 14:00
  • Thanks @BonnWarapol . There seems to be a Pali line-by-line translation and commentary available here by a Burmese author. – ruben2020 Oct 1 '17 at 14:11
  • I refer to all tipitaka's commentaries, not just dhammapada's commentary. Every part of tipitaka have their own commentary. And most of commentaries have their own sub-commentary. All of these commentaries were written by tipitaka-memorizer. – Bonn Oct 1 '17 at 14:24
  • @ruben2020 Do you think that what you said in your answer can be realized by oneself with own experience? If "yes", do you think that this realization could be false? – beginner Oct 1 '17 at 23:08
  • 1
    @beginner Since the Buddha realized it by himself, so I guess it's possible for one to realize this with one's own insight. Please see DN2 for "Recollection of Past Lives" where the Buddha says that it is possible to realize it for oneself. If you think the Buddha's realization is false, then you don't have confidence in the Buddha. I updated my answer with a quote from the DN2. Please see whether you think you can interpret it any other way, other than what I consider as the obvious fact of rebirth. – ruben2020 Oct 2 '17 at 14:38
1

Likewise the "mental" (process, if liking to make such a differenciation, since it requires always both. the is no such as a rupa-process, and a nama-process), "Beginner". It's, if not gained Awakening, an ongoing becoming and decay of nama (mentality) and rupa (item/object/matter), an "endless" process of "self" becoming and decay, caused by craving and ignorance, since a long, long time.

(Becomming of) Atta, (the grasp) does/is not end with the death of what ever body (rupa), from one atta to another atta. Moment for moment, life for life, as long as not see the stream as it is

Timsa

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other wordily gain.)

  • I updated my question. Please update your answer so I can see your answer to my updated question. – beginner Oct 3 '17 at 16:00
  • See note at your question, Nyom @beginner . – Samana Johann Oct 3 '17 at 16:03
1

Self is paññatti. It is not grasping.

Grasping arise to attach/to cling khandha and paññatti, that are grasping's object. But paññatti never arise, so self never begin or end. Similarly, when you dream. The dreaming-mind is real and arising. But it's object never arise and never vanish, just an imagination of mind. So, self is not real.

Furthermore, for aggregates and grasping, in next life, is already taught that still arise until an ignorant and a craving still is not destroyed by arahanta's enlightenment . Because, there is a future-clinging-aggregate, and that clinging will try (kamma-bhava, kamma-becoming) to have (before death=get new thing, after death=rebirth) that future-clinging-aggregate. So in Khandhasutta taught:

"Whatever form — past, future (form-clinging-aggregate), or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near — is clingable, offers sustenance, and is accompanied with mental fermentation: That is called the form clinging-aggregate.

And Paṭiccasamuppāda taught:

From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth.

Furthermore, we choose to be mahāvihāra theravāda buddhist (because we using mahāvihāra's tipitaka) because we want to have anytime and anywhere security by make every possible protection to protect every of your future self from every possible insecure. If you still lazy to protect your self from next life/rebirth (by making sure you [five aggregates] must never arise anymore), you are not mahāvihāra theravāda buddhist practitioner. Also, you never understand throughout the theravāda-tipitaka's concept.

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Lanka Oct 2 '17 at 17:55
1

Self continues after death. Is incorrect.

Self ends after death. Is incorrect.

Both statements are incorrect.

Why are both incorrect?

Firstly, the Buddha said they are both incorrect:

"Then King Pasenadi Kosala went to the bhikkhuni Khema and, on arrival, having bowed down to her, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to her, "Now then, lady, does the Tathagata exist after death?"

"That, great king, has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata exists after death.'"

"Well then, lady, does the Tathagata not exist after death?"

"Great king, that too has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata does not exist after death.'"

"Then does the Tathagata both exist and not exist after death?"

"That has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata both exists and does not exist after death.'"

"Well then, does the Tathagata neither exist nor not exist after death?"

"That too has not been declared by the Blessed One: 'The Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.'""

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn44/sn44.001.than.html

Secondly, even Buddhadasa, a venerable teacher who didn't use faith in his Dhamma teachings, never denied nor accepted rebirth, but said that both statements are incorrect:

"Listen to the Buddhist teaching: there isn’t a person; there isn’t anyone to die, to be born, or be reborn; there is only the stream of concocting, the concocting of the khandhas(aggregates), thedhātus(elements), and the āyatanas(sense media) in accordance with the law of nature."

"To sum up, since olden times there have been two schools: one teaching that there is death and then birth, and one that there is death but no subsequent birth. Now, which should we choose?"

"Both beliefs, however, are really incorrect, because the fact is that there isn’t anyone to be born or to not be born."

Source: http://www.suanmokkh.org/system/books/files/000/000/014/original/Buddhadasa_Bhikkhu_Concerning_Birth.pdf?1462866820

Thus, to claim that there is self after death, would be in contradiction to Buddhadasa's and Buddhist teachings, because Buddhadasa's and Buddhist teaching teach us "there isn't anyone to die".

On the other hand, to claim there is no self after death, would be again in contradiction to Buddhadasa's and Buddhist teachings, because Buddhadasa's and Buddhist teaching teach us "there isn't anyone to be born".

Thus, both statements "There is self after death" and "There is no self after death" are incorrect.

Now, this was claimed by Buddhadasa, a venerable teacher, an arahat. We should listen to him and study his teachings carefully. He doesn't teach by using faith. He concentrates on this life. He doesn't do that because he believes there is no self after death, quite the opposite, he knows that to claim "there is no self after death" is in contradiction to the Buddhist teachings, thus he doesn't claim it, but rejects it as being incorrect! Furthermore, he also knows that to claim "there is self after death" is again in contradiction to the Buddhist teachings, thus he doesn't claim it, but rejects it as being incorrect!

"however, the true Buddhist message is that there isn’t a being or a person, only ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding, with nobody involved in them."

Source: http://www.suanmokkh.org/system/books/files/000/000/014/original/Buddhadasa_Bhikkhu_Concerning_Birth.pdf?1462866820

The above statement is key.

The above is exactly the purpose of Buddhadasa's and Buddhist teaching. It is to realize anatta. To see. To penetrate deeply into it.

If this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding, with nobody involved in them" would stop or continue after the annihilation of the physical body, Buddhadasa and other venerable Dhamma teachers would surely teach us so. But we can see that they don't teach us so. They teach us the opposite: to claim that this process stops or continues after the annihilation of the physical body is incorrect. They teach us that both of these views (stops or continues) are incorrect.

To expound the truth why both views are incorrect, we should investigate it further:

  1. To claim that this process stops after the complete annihilation of the physical body is incorrect. This process doesn't magically stop after the complete annihilation of the physical body. Why it doesn't just stop?

Because there isn't anyone to die. Since there isn't anyone to die, nobody is involved with this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding". If there really was someone involved with this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding", when that person would be annihiliated, the "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" would stop after that person's annihilation. Since that person would be involved in the "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding", with the annihilation of that person, the "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" would stop. But since there isn't anyone to be annihilated nor there is anyone involved in these "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding", this process can't just magically stop with the annihilation of the physical body. Just think about it: if there isn't anyone involved in this process, then why does this process run?? Nobody is involved in it, so why does it run?? Who/what runs it?!

If there isn't anyone involved in it, then neither the physical body is involved in it nor anything in the entire universe at all is involved in it! If neither the physicall body is involved in it nor anything in the entire universe at all, that would mean, that if the physical body and everything in the universe is annihilated, this process wouldn't stop!! This "total annihilation" would not affect this process a single bit!

  1. On the other hand, to claim that this process restarts after the complete annihilation of the physical body is again incorrect. This process doesn't magically restart after the complete annihilation of the physical body. Why it doesn't restart?

Because there isn't anyone to be born. Since there isn't anyone to be born, nobody can become involved with this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding". If there really would be someone involved with this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding", when that person would be created, the "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" would start after that person's creation. Since that person would become involved in the "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding", with the creation of that person, the "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" would start. But since there isn't anyone to be created nor there is anyone involved in these "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding", this process can't just magically restart after the complete annihilation of the physical body. Just think about it: if there isn't anyone involved in this process, then how can this process restart?? Nobody is involved in it, so why did it start?? Who/what started it?

If there isn't anyone involved in it, then neither the physical body is involved in it nor anything in the entire universe at all is involved in it! If neither the physicall body is involved in it nor anything in the entire universe at all, that would mean, that if the physicall body and everything in the universe is annihilated and then recreated, this process wouldn't restart!! This "total annihilation and recreation" would not affect this process a single bit!

  1. On the other hand, to claim that this process continues after the complete annihilation of the physical body is again incorrect. This process doesn't magically continue after the complete annihilation of the physical body. Why it doesn't continue?

Because there isn't anyone involved in these "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding". Since there isn't anyone involved in these "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding", this process can't just magically continue after the complete annihilation of the physical body. Just think about it: if there isn't anyone involved in this process, then why is this process running RIGHT NOW?? Nobody is involved in it, so why is it running?? Who/what is running it? How can it be even running if nobody is involved in it?

Thus, again we come to the conclusion that both statements "There is self after death" and "There is no self after death" are incorrect.

If this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" can't restart (remember, there is nobody involved in these processes), then why these processes started in the first place? If this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" have nobody involved in them (remember, there is nobody involved in these processes), then why these processes keep running?

These processes started because of craving. An example would be craving for views: "self continues after death" or "self ends after death". Whenever there is craving for views, the wheel of this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" starts turning, which creates potential for suffering. (Please note that "craving for views" is no different than having a belief. A belief is nothing else but "craving for a view")

These processes keep running because of grasping (upadana) as "I", "me" and "mine" to one or more of the five aggregates (physicality, feeling, perception, mental formations and sense consciousness). Example is grasping on a mental formation of views: "self continues after death" or "self ends after death". Whenever grasping arises, the wheel of this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" spins faster, which creates even more potential for suffering. (Please note that "grasping for views" is no different than having a belief. A belief is nothing else but "grasping on a view")

If this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" can't stop (remember, there is nobody involved in these processes), then how can these processes be stopped?

By realizing anatta. Once anatta is realized, you let go of all beliefs. Whenever all beliefs cease, the wheel of this "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" stops turning, which creates no potential for suffering:

"...'after death a Tathagata exists'...

"...'after death a Tathagata does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist'... does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding."

"Does Master Gotama have any position at all?"

"A 'position,' Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: 'Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception...such are fabrications...such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.' Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading away, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsessions with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released."

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.072.than.html

In order for us to let go of all beliefs, we need wisdom. Buddhadasa's and Buddhist teachings lead us on the path towards wisdom. They cannot magically transfer their wisdom into our minds, but can show us the path how to acquire it by ourselves.

Their teachings are not to teach us "there is no experience of life after death" nor to teach us "there is experience of life after death" ... because all of these beliefs are incorrect as they are coming from craving ... grasping to "Me", "Mine", "I" (both beliefs are self views). Nor to teach us "there is nothing after death" or to teach us "there is something after death" ... because all of these beliefs are incorrect as they are coming from craving ... grasping to "Me", "Mine", "I" (all beliefs are self views). It's to teach us that all these beliefs should be left behind, laid to the ground until turned into dust and vanished:

"Because of the cessation of views, monk, uncertainty doesn't arise in an instructed disciple of the noble ones over the undeclared issues. The view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata exists after death,' the view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata doesn't exist after death,' the view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata both does and doesn't exist after death,' the view-standpoint, 'The Tathagata neither does nor doesn't exist after death': The uninstructed run-of-the-mill person doesn't discern view, doesn't discern the origination of view, doesn't discern the cessation of view, doesn't discern the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view grows. He is not freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress. But the instructed disciple of the noble ones discerns view, discerns the origination of view, discerns the cessation of view, discerns the path of practice leading to the cessation of view, and so for him that view ceases. He is freed from birth, aging, & death; from sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, and despairs. He is freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress."

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an07/an07.051.than.html

Further suttas that claim that all views should be abandoned:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.072.than.html

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.063.than.html

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.093.than.html

Once all beliefs are left behind, the wheel of "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" will stop turning and there will be no more potential for suffering, thus suffering will end.

There's nothing wrong having beliefs. On the contrary, it's normal and healthy. But we should come to the understanding that they don't lead us to the cessation of suffering.

I'll add some reflections that I made on this subject:

For the purpose of this explanation I'll replace the term "ever-changing processes of concocting, of compounding" with the term Dhamma.

Beliefs in self and soul should be abandoned

"...'after death a Tathagata exists'...

"...'after death a Tathagata does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata both exists & does not exist'...

"...'after death a Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist'... does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation; to calm, direct knowledge, full Awakening, Unbinding."

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.072.than.html

Whoever holds the belief that this Dhamma stops after the annihilation of the physical body, holds this belief because he believes that his self is in the physical body ... because how else could this Dhamma stop after the annihilation of the physical body, if it wasn't because his self is in the physical body?

Whoever says "Dhamma stops after the annihilation of the physical body" holds this view because he believes his self is involved in the Dhamma. How can his self be involved in the Dhamma, if everything is not self? If everything is not self, his self cannot be involved in the Dhamma. If everything is not self, his self can't be involved in anything.

Whoever holds the belief that this Dhamma continues after the annihilation of the physical body, holds this belief because he believes that his self transcends the physical body ... because how else could this Dhamma continue after the annihilation of the physical body, if it wasn't because his self is transcends the physical body?

Whoever says "Dhamma continues after the annihilation of the physical body" holds this view because he believes his self is involved in the Dhamma. How can his self be involved in the Dhamma, if everything is not self? If everything is not self, his self cannot be involved in the Dhamma. If everything is not self, his self can't be involved in anything.

Whoever holds the belief that this Dhamma continues after the annihilation of the physical body, holds this belief because he believes that his self continues after the annihilation of the physical body ... because how else could this Dhamma continue after the annihilation of the physical body, if it wasn't because his self continues after the annihilation of the physical body?

Whoever says "Dhamma continues after the annihilation of the physical body" holds this view because he believes his self transmigrates from body to body. How can his self transmigrate, if everything is not self? If everything is not self, his self cannot transmigrate. If everything is not self, his self cannot transmigrate after the annihilation of the physical body.

Beliefs in material existence and material non-existence should be abandoned

"By & large, Kaccayana, this world is supported by (takes as its object) a polarity, that of existence & non-existence. But when one sees the origination of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'non-existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one. When one sees the cessation of the world as it actually is with right discernment, 'existence' with reference to the world does not occur to one."

"'Everything exists': That is one extreme. 'Everything doesn't exist': That is a second extreme. Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the Dhamma via the middle

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.015.than.html

Whoever says "Dhamma continues after the annihilation of the physical body" holds this view because he believes that "something" that exists is involved in the Dhamma. How can "something" be involved in the Dhamma, if nothing exists that can be involved in the Dhamma? If nothing exists that can be involved in the Dhamma, "something" cannot be involved in the Dhamma.

Whoever says "Dhamma stops after the annihilation of the physical body" holds this view because he believes that "nothing" that is involved in the Dhamma exists. How can "nothing" be involved in the Dhamma, if something exists that is involved in the Dhamma? If something exists that is involved in the Dhamma, "something" must be involved in the Dhamma.

Whoever says "Dhamma stops after the annihilation of the physical body" holds this view because he believes that "nothing" that is involved in the Dhamma exists. How can "nothing" be involved in the Dhamma, if Dhamma is existent? If Dhamma is existent, "nothing" cannot be involved in the Dhamma, but "something" must be involved in it. If Dhamma is existent, something that does not exist must exist, thus it must be involved in the Dhamma.

Beliefs in eternalism should be abandoned

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will stay just as it is for eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.002.than.html

Whoever holds the belief that this Dhamma continues after the annihilation of the physical body, holds this belief because he believes that his self continues after the annihilation of the physical body ... because how else could this Dhamma continue after the annihilation of the physical body, if it wasn't because his self continuing after the annihilation of the physical body?

Whoever says "Dhamma continues after the annihilation of the physical body" holds this view because he believes his self exists and transmigrates from Dhamma to Dhamma. How can his self transmigrate, if everything is not self? If everything is not self, his self cannot transmigrate. If everything is not self, there is no self that can transmigrate.

Beliefs in nihilism should be abandoned

"Bhikkhus, held by two kinds of views, some devas and human beings hold back and some overreach; only those with vision see.

"How, bhikkhus, do some overreach? Now some are troubled, ashamed, and disgusted by this very same being and they rejoice in (the idea of) non-being, asserting: 'In as much as this self, good sirs, when the body perishes at death, is annihilated and destroyed and does not exist after death — this is peaceful, this is excellent, this is reality!' Thus, bhikkhus, do some overreach.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/iti/iti.2.042-049x.irel.html#iti-049

"Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is no next world' is his wrong view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is no next world,' that is his wrong speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he says that 'There is no next world,' he makes himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is no next world,' that is persuasion in what is not true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, he exalts himself and disparages others. Whatever good habituation he previously had is abandoned, while bad habituation is manifested. And this wrong view, wrong resolve, wrong speech, opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is not true Dhamma, exaltation of self, & disparagement of others: These many evil, unskillful activities come into play, in dependence on wrong view.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.060.than.html

"Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or a brahmin asserts the following doctrine and view: 'The self, good sir, has material form; it is composed of the four primary elements and originates from father and mother. Since this self, good sir, is annihilated and destroyed with the breakup of the body and does not exist after death, at this point the self is completely annihilated.' In this way some proclaim the annihilation, destruction, and extermination of an existent being.

"This, bhikkhus, the Tathāgata understands. And he understands: 'These standpoints, thus assumed and thus misapprehended, lead to such a future destination, to such a state in the world beyond.' He understands as well what transcends this, yet even that understanding he does not misapprehend.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.01.0.bodh.html

Wisdom

Dhamma neither stops after death nor continues. Life neither exists nor not exists. Death neither exists nor not exists. Birth neither exists nor not exists. Self neither exists nor not exists. Soul neither exists nor not exists.

Dhamma is suffering.

When the conditions are present, Dhamma arises.

When the conditions persist, Dhamma continues.

When the conditions are removed, Dhamma stops.

What are the conditions?

It's the lack of wisdom (mainly lack of anatta) (avijja) giving raise to craving (tanha) giving fuel to 'clinging, attachment' (upadana) giving raise to fabrications (samkhara) giving raise to the aggregates (khandhas) giving raise to atta, soul, eternalism, nihilism, views, beliefs, etc.

All of the above is Dhamma.

All is Dhamma.

All the Dhamma arises simultaneously, like a burning fire.

Whoever fully realized Dhamma will never deny the continuation of self after death:

"Because there actually is the next world, the view of one who thinks, 'There is a next world' is his right view. Because there actually is the next world, when he is resolved that 'There is a next world,' that is his right resolve. Because there actually is the next world, when he speaks the statement, 'There is a next world,' that is his right speech. Because there actually is the next world, when he says that 'There is a next world,' he doesn't make himself an opponent to those arahants who know the next world. Because there actually is the next world, when he persuades another that 'There is a next world,' that is persuasion in what is true Dhamma. And in that persuasion in what is true Dhamma, he doesn't exalt himself or disparage others. Whatever bad habituation he previously had is abandoned, while good habituation is manifested. And this right view, right resolve, right speech, non-opposition to the arahants, persuasion in what is true Dhamma, non-exaltation of self, & non-disparagement of others: These many skillful activities come into play, in dependence on right view.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.060.than.html

Whoever fully realized Dhamma will never deny the end of self after death:

"From ignorance as a requisite condition come fabrications. From fabrications as a requisite condition comes consciousness. From consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form. From name-&-form as a requisite condition come the six sense media. From the six sense media as a requisite condition comes contact. From contact as a requisite condition comes feeling. From feeling as a requisite condition comes craving. From craving as a requisite condition comes clinging/sustenance. From clinging/sustenance as a requisite condition comes becoming. From becoming as a requisite condition comes birth. From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.015.than.html

A wise person will never accept the end of self after death:

"With regard to this, a wise person considers thus: 'If there is no other world, then — at the break-up of the body, after death — this venerable person has made himself safe. But if there is the other world, then this venerable person — on the break-up of the body, after death — will reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. Even if we didn't speak of the other world and there weren't the true statement of those venerable brahmans & contemplatives, this venerable person is still criticized in the here-&-now by the wise as a person of bad habits & wrong view: one who holds to a doctrine of non-existence (natthikavādo) . If there really is an other world, then this venerable person has made a bad throw twice: in that he is criticized by the wise here-&-now, and in that — with the break-up of the body, after death — he will reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. Thus this safe-bet teaching, when poorly grasped & poorly adopted by him, covers (only) one side and leaves behind the possibility of the skillful.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.060.than.html

Whoever fully realized Dhamma will never deny nor accept anything. He will always stay in the middle.

When verbally denying something, in reality he would not be denying it nor accepting it. When verbally accepting something, in reality he would not be accepting it nor denying it. He would always stay in the middle.

0

What is written in the question is unrelated to Buddhism or is non-Buddhist. According to SN 5.10, what is written in the question is the view of Mara (Satan); the enemy of Buddha & the enemy of liberation. According to SN 23.2, it is the idea of little children. According to SN 22.85, it is an "evil supposition".

In Buddhism, 'death' ('marana') is defined as the 'death' of 'a being', where 'a being' ('satta') is simply a state of 'clinging', 'self-identification', a 'view' or 'convention', as follows:

The passing away of the various beings from the various orders of beings, their perishing, breakup, disappearance, mortality, death, completion of time, the breakup of the aggregates, the laying down of the carcass: this is called death. SN 12.2


'A being,' lord. 'A being,' it's said. To what extent is one said to be 'a being'?" "Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for form, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.' "Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for feeling... perception... fabrications... "Any desire, passion, delight, or craving for consciousness, Radha: when one is caught up there, tied up there, one is said to be 'a being.' "Just as when boys or girls are playing with little sand castles: as long as they are not free from passion, desire, love, thirst, fever, & craving for those little sand castles, that's how long they have fun with those sand castles, enjoy them, treasure them, feel possessive of them. SN 23.2


Then the bhikkhuni Vajira, having understood, "This is Mara the Evil One," replied to him in verses: Why now do you assume 'a being'? Mara, have you grasped a view? This is a heap of sheer constructions: Here no being is found. Just as, with an assemblage of parts, The word 'chariot' is used, So, when the aggregates are present, There's the convention 'a being.' It's only suffering that comes to be, Suffering that stands and falls away. Nothing but suffering comes to be, Nothing but suffering ceases. Then Mara the Evil One, realizing, "The bhikkhuni Vajira knows me," sad and disappointed, disappeared right there. SN 5.10


The craving that makes for further becoming — accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there — i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming: This, friend Visakha, is the origination of self-identification described by the Blessed One." MN 44


In other words, 'death' ('marana') & grasping the aggregates as 'self' are the same thing, which is why grasping is called 'Mara' in many suttas, for example:

"Monk, if you cling to anything, you are in bondage to Mara.If you do not cling, you are free of the Evil One." SN 22.63


māra masculine the Evil One; the tempter; death personified.


mara adjective dying;

MN 38 clearly explains 'death' ceases while life & the mind remain conscious & alive, as follows:

On seeing a form with the eye, he does not lust after it if it is pleasing; he does not dislike it if it is unpleasing. He abides with mindfulness of the body established, with an immeasurable mind, and he understands as it actually is the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom wherein those evil unwholesome states cease without remainder. Having thus abandoned favouring and opposing, whatever feeling he feels, whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant, he does not delight in that feeling, welcome it, or remain holding to it. As he does not do so, delight in feelings ceases in him. With the cessation of his delight comes cessation of clinging; with the cessation of clinging, cessation of being; with the cessation of being, cessation of birth; with the cessation of birth, ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, and despair cease. Such is the cessation of this whole mass of suffering. MN 38

In summary, Buddhism is about suffering & the end of suffering. People or minds do not suffer over the death of a physical body. Instead, minds suffer over the death of a 'person', 'a being' or 'self', such as the death of my 'mother', 'father', 'son', 'daughter', 'wife', 'husband', 'self', etc, as follows:

Long have you experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while running around & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans. "Long have you experienced the death of a father... the death of a brother... the death of a sister... the death of a son... the death of a daughter... loss with regard to relatives... loss with regard to wealth... loss with regard to disease. SN 15.3


'Death' itself is a 'self-view'. This is why arahants do not experience 'death', as follows:

Bhikkhu, ‘I am’ is a conceiving; ‘I am this’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall not be’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be possessed of form’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be formless’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be non-percipient’ is a conceiving; ‘I shall be neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient’ is a conceiving. Conceiving is a disease, conceiving is a tumour, conceiving is a dart. By overcoming all conceivings, bhikkhu, one is called a sage at peace. And the sage at peace is not born, does not age, does not die; he is not shaken and does not yearn. For there is nothing present in him by which he might be born. Not being born, how could he age? Not ageing, how could he die? Not dying, how could he be shaken? Not being shaken, why should he yearn? MN 140


Dhammapada 21. Heedfulness is the path to the Deathless. Heedlessness is the path to death. The heedful die not. The heedless are as if dead already.


I have heard that on one occasion Ven. Sariputta was staying near Savatthi at Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Now, at that time this evil supposition had arisen to Ven. Yamaka: "As I understand the Teaching explained by the Blessed One, a monk with no more (mental) effluents, on the break-up of the body, is annihilated, perishes, & does not exist after death." SN 22.85

The book Two Kinds of Language I recommend to beginners to understand the language of Buddhism.

The Awakened One, best of speakers, Spoke two kinds of truths: The conventional and the ultimate. A third truth does not obtain.

Therein: The speech wherewith the world converses is true On account of its being agreed upon by the world. The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true, Through characterizing dhammas as they really are.

Therefore, being skilled in common usage, False speech does not arise in the Teacher, Who is Lord of the World, When he speaks according to conventions.

(Mn. i. 95)

  • The book that you provided was very helpful. Thank you. I think now I understand what you're saying. If I understand correctly, suffering arises as long as there is grasping to the aggregates as 'self'. If one is arahat, grasping will stop, that's why arahats don't experience 'death'. 'Death' is 'death' of the state of 'clinging'. There is this suffering due to all this, but in reality there is no suffering, there is only this that I described. – beginner Oct 1 '17 at 23:22
  • But what if one's mind is ignorant? He will suffer over the impermanence of a state of 'clinging' onto his physical body. Help me understand this ... Suppose there is an ignorant person named X who is grasping to the aggregates as 'self' (let's call this just 'grasping'). Suppose X is dying of cancer. X is suffering very much because of grasping. For X his incoming death is hell in the here & now because of grasping. For X dying is reality in the here & now because of grasping. Suppose X will die grasping. My question is: in the described case of person X, will grasping stop after death? – beginner Oct 1 '17 at 23:27
  • Grasping does not stop after death because death itself is grasping. This is why there is rebirth after death because birth is more grasping. – Dhammadhatu Oct 2 '17 at 1:18
  • However, for me, the termination of life is not the same as death. Death is a self-view while the termination of life is the ending of the aggregates. Refer to SN 22.85, which states arahants do not experience death however their aggregates end due to impermanence. Regards – Dhammadhatu Oct 2 '17 at 1:19
  • I think I understand now. Correct me if I'm wrong ... 1. For an ignorant person, like in the case of person X, grasping to the aggregates as 'self' (let's call this just 'grasping') will not stop after the breakup of physical body. This is why (for an ignorant person) there is rebirth after breakup of physical body because for an ignorant person 'birth' is more grasping, thus grasping continues even after breakup of the physical body. Did I get It right? – beginner Oct 2 '17 at 8:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.