I have recently given some interest to NDE stories. After reading a hundred of them, it seems pretty credible that people are telling at least some level of truth in their experience. One thing that seems to come back is that they meet their deceased loved ones, they feel a great feeling of peace/love and a huge increase in their consciousness / mental abilities.

Its a bit of "lalaland" and I have several issues with that : Most of them seem to imply that death instantly "upgrade" you to a level of well being/ spiritual knowledge / awareness. They also say that the most important thing in life appears to be their relationship, how they treated others (christian term of "love"). That everything is surrounded in love and blabla it's all fine in the end if your life is hellish since when you die everything is fine. Life on earth as a human would be some kind of a choice, an experience to "expend" your consciousness.

I would tend to disagree with all of these things. I don't see any point to life and the suffering that goes with except getting over it by increasing your understanding and knowledge of the self, in order to get over those problems. I would never chose freely to incarnate to experience pain and suffering. To me life is a problem you have to solve. Sometimes the problem are pretty down to earth, like with medical conditions. People used to die because of tooth decay. Now they don't. How is that improving you as a being?

I tend to have more faith in the buddhists views that beings are stuck in the cycle of existences, and for most of them they experience unpleasant things/realm due to poor mental setups. To me existence is absurd, in the sense that all the pain is something we have to get over and be done with it.

How would experienced buddhists view all these NDE stories? What credit would you give to them and how would you reconcile them with the idea of the cycle of existences?

  • There's a huge difference between "clinical death" and the "death" defined in Buddhism. If someone share his/her near death experiences after sometime, he/she wasn't near his/her (so called) death at all. According to Buddhism we're very close to our death during each and every moment we spend.
    – Damith
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 11:51
  • have you ever read or gave some serious attention to near death experiences? Because these people don't care what your opinion is and actually died for a moment, and tell their stories. So funny that most people here can't cope with this
    – ian3111
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 20:53

2 Answers 2


If we take an Abhidhamma stand point, once the "consciousness" (last thought before experiencing death) is released from this body it doesn't come back this body rather it takes root in a new body. Dependant Origination states it that way.

Therefore all these near death experiences, in my view, aren't exactly near death experiences rather experiences similar to a person waking from a coma. This is my understanding therefore it could be wrong.


Near-Death Experiences are phenomena like all others:

AN9.36:2.4: They contemplate the phenomena there—included in form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness—as impermanent, as suffering, as diseased, as an abscess, as a dart, as misery, as an affliction, as alien, as falling apart, as empty, as not-self. They turn their mind away from those things, and apply it to the deathless:

We acknowledge them and let them go:

AN9.36:2.7: ‘This is peaceful; this is sublime—that is, the stilling of all activities, the letting go of all attachments, the ending of craving, fading away, cessation, extinguishment.’

And this holds true for all levels of meditation. Perceive without grasping at that perception. Emerge skillfully.

AN9.36:10.1: And so, mendicants, penetration to enlightenment extends as far as attainments with perception. But the two dimensions that depend on these— the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, and the cessation of perception and feeling—are properly explained by mendicants who are skilled in these attainments and skilled in emerging from them, after they’ve entered them and emerged from them.”

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