Lets keep the rebirth concepts aside for a moment.

Is there a way we can die consciously? (i.e.) Being aware of our death. And can we still meditate after death without a human body?

If yes, then in what thing we concentrate on. Let's say we are on concentrating on breath while we are alive. But after death we don't have breath and also we don't have any bodily sensations too...

What happens to the awareness after death, Does it still exist? Is the awareness eternal? Is the after life awareness is called soul? Do we need a human body to meditate??

I suddenly feel weird getting this idea? So is there any concepts based on this???

  • 1
    Do you want to ask for the doctrine of any specific school of Buddhism? SFAIK some schools hold that rebirth happens immediately (or e.g. on the next thought-moment), others that there's an intermediate state e.g. bardo.
    – ChrisW
    Aug 6, 2018 at 12:53
  • Its like an intermediate state between death and rebirth.
    – RBK
    Aug 6, 2018 at 13:09
  • 1
    I think the doctrine that there is any intermediate state is more Tibetan than Theravada -- for a little more on that see for example How to die professionally?
    – ChrisW
    Aug 6, 2018 at 16:49

4 Answers 4


You might follow Buddha's example who entered the fourth Jhana, but it is only possible while you are aware of your peaceful death, the fact that you are dying slowly, so therefore - not very reliable advice.

Apart from that, only thing I know of about conscious death is Maraṇasati, which are only preparatory contemplations and meditations on death. These are closely related to Right effort. But it is not really same as meditating through death.

For Vajrayanic approach, Tibetans have the whole technique and special meditation practice on the moment of death and what follows (Bardo), which is divided in many phases of dying, also including the clear light you see at the moment of death. I presume you're not into Tantra so this is of little use though.

  • Do you know: according to Buddhist doctrine, is it possible to die when you're "unconscious" (or in a coma) -- or, is it believed that although the body may appear to be unconscious (inert), yet the mind (consciousness) still exists in some way? Does (or doesn't) a body usually pass through unconsciousness on its way to death?
    – ChrisW
    Aug 6, 2018 at 21:11

From what I gather trying to fall asleep consciously will prepare one for consciously dying.

And what I know from personal meditation experience is that:

  • awareness is not eternal. It arises and ceases like any other of the khandas. So, it's definitely not a soul.
  • meditation can continue independent of any awareness of the body. If there is no body sensation then the mind will turn to other objects: mind itself, mind states, feeling of calm and so on.

I guess that meditation itself can also be a good preparation for death. In one of the last retreats I was in a state where I no longer felt any breath, the heartbeat was gone, any bodily sensation was gone. It's quite interesting to see if and if so, how the mind reacts to this.

That's all I can offer.


In Anapanasati, awareness of breathing. Buddha mentioned that it is possible to focus on breathing until the last breath is drawn and when there is no more breath, there is no place for conciseness to exist (consciousness cannot exist without one of 4 skandhas). And when no longer have consciousness to count as self, name/form ends.. and so on

The problem is counting as self is that will go on and continue to count other consciousness out there and calls it as self, thus rebirth. the definition of sattanam is not easy to understand. Technically, there is nothing to transmigrate but the dilution of self. Thats how i understand it.


"Death" ("marana") means the death of the idea of a "person" or "self"; as defined in SN 12.2, which refers to the death of "beings" ("satta"). "Satta" is merely a "view" or "idea" (SN 23.2; SN 5.10).

For the untrained mind, this "death" is traumatic & brings suffering. But for the trained mind, when the mind experiences "Emptiness" ("Sunnata"), this is also includes experiencing the death of the "self-idea" but in a peaceful way (which is why Emptiness is not called "death").

"Conscious death" occurs via the experience of the Empty Mind; free from all "self-views".

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