Beliefs About Death and Dying: The Chinese Buddhist Perspective

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The Chinese Buddhist view of death and dying is consistent with Buddhist teachings. People are generally self-centered and this nature, they acquire Karma which places them in a constant state of transmigration in the six realms. One is able to transcend this cycle by following Buddhist teachings and devoted practice.


The Chinese believe that human life exists with the two factors of consciousness and warmth. Dying therefore is a gradual process where the person's consciousness separates from the body. Death occurs when the body experiences a complete loss of awareness and body temperature. Americans believe in the body and the soul, and the two are separated once death occurs. A person is said to be dying when bodily functions fail and begin to cease. Those who have achieved higher states of being no longer go through transmigration. However, they may undergo rebirth if they so choose son that they may further their enlightenment towards the Buddhist path or to help sentient individuals follow the path. Upon death, people of exceptional goodness go to Buddha's Pure Land through Buddha's blessing. Very bad individuals immediately proceed to the hells. The Chinese Buddhists believe that the soul would experience a state of limbo for an indefinite period, which would not exceed forty-nine days. During this period, the consciousness would experience a floating sequence of scenes and it would not have the power to choose. This state of limbo ends when the Karma pulls the consciousness and is reborn in any of the six realms. ...
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