Death according to Buddhism

I’ve recently come across an author for American Thinker, Robin of Berkley. I absolutely love her work and story telling style. Here is an ex-script from her post titled “Tiger, the Buddha, and me”:

Here’s my favorite story about the Buddha: A grieving young mother from a poor background begged him to revive her dead son. Not only was she heartbroken, but she feared her husband’s wealthy family would punish and shun her for the child’s death.

The Buddha promised to bring the boy back to life if she returned with a mustard seed from a home where death had never visited. She thanked him profusely and set off for town.

The young mother knocked on door after door and heard heartbreaking stories of loss. Finally, she grasped the Buddha’s teaching: that sorrow is a part of life. She returned, bowed deeply to the Buddha, and asked him to help her bury her child.

It’s too bad that the mother didn’t visit Jesus’s home. While He may not have given her a mustard seed, He might have given her faith of about the same size1. That faith might have been large enough to move mountains, including the mountain of death that we all face2. She might have also realized that while the Buddha is right, death has touched every house3, he was wrong in that death is not just a natural part of life. That we should just dispassionately accept it and move on.

Death is not natural4, it is the result of evil5. Not everyone has tasted death6, and even those who have are not without hope of having their condition reversed.7

The good news is that death will one day be defeated.8. Then, those of us who have decided to stand with Jesus will say:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
-Isaiah 25:8, 1 Corinthians 15:55

  1. Matthew 17:20 []
  2. Romans 6:23 []
  3. Including God’s own house. []
  4. Genesis 2:17 []
  5. James 1:15 []
  6. Hebrews 11:5 []
  7. John 3:16 []
  8. 1 Corinthians 15:26 []

22 responses to “Death according to Buddhism

  1. "Death is not natural, it is the result of evil"

    You must be joking…

    • Jesus wasn't. That's why He came, to break the power of sin which leads to death to set men free which leads to eternal life.

      Remember, just because you can observe the way things are it does not logically follow that you then posses enough information to say how they ought to be.

      "Is" does not give you the "ought". "Ought" must come from somewhere else.

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  3. "Ought" must come from somewhere else."

    Or, it might not come from anywhere at all.

    • If that's the case, then all of our "ought to" statements are rendered meaningless.

      • Just because you require a cosmic guide to tell you what to do, doesn't mean that the rest of us can't reason about our humanity and how best to move through life.

        • Our reason along is not sufficient for providing "oughts" which apply to both our actions as well as the actions of others. Additionally, without a fixed point by which to measure by, words like "best" or "better" or "worse" have no meaning. The best a secularist can do is describe what something is. They cannot, however, describe what something ought to be.

          • But they can live by what they believe to be the way they ought to, and provide convincing arguments for why others should do the same. And if their personal plan runs afoul of established social norms and laws, they'll be punished accordingly. No supernatural deity required.

          • Well I would hope that if you set your own mark to hit you can, in fact, hit it. However such self-styled goal setting does not constitute an "ought" in any objective sense. What is to stop you from shifting your mark as you go along?

            In the second part of your answer you seem to elude to social norms being a guiding principle. Tell me, what makes you think that statistical descriptions can, in any meaningful sense, constitute a suitable prescription or "ought to"?

            Here are a few problems with using societal norms as an objective moral standard:

          • "What is to stop you from shifting your mark as you go along?"

            Good question. Yahweh supposedly did it a number of times on issues such as adultery, slavery, retribution for physical harm, what foods could be eaten etc. Maybe being able to change the mark isn't so bad after all.

          • Sorry, but how were the "oughts" regarding the things you mentioned changed? In the case of the foods, are you sure you rightly understand what the "ought" there was?

          • For one, slavery wasn't condoned then and not now? Or perhaps you're saying Yahweh condones slavery now too.

            And wouldn't the severity of punishment changing change the level of the ought? Right there, we go from "eye for an eye" to "turn the other cheek". And perhaps adultery should still be punished via stoning to death?

            Are you sure you understand?

          • "For one, slavery wasn't condoned then and not now?"


            "And wouldn't the severity of punishment changing change the level of the ought? "

            Not at all. And if you are jumping between the old and new testaments you should note that Jesus paid for the sins of the world in full.

            "Right there, we go from "eye for an eye" to "turn the other cheek"."

            One is a standard for justice (which we still ascribe to) which is proportional punishment for the crime committed. The other is an admonition to love more rather than repay an insult with another insult.

            "And perhaps adultery should still be punished via stoning to death?"

            Israel was also a Theocracy and this was a essentially a state law. If you want to be technical here, though. Adultery is sin and sin leads to death. However in the new testament we, that is the believers, are not called to uphold state laws to curb sinful behavior. That is the state's job per Romans 13.

          • The above responses are all avoiding the issue not addressing it.

            I know it must be hard to make the Bible a coherent guide for how we live our lives. You're welcome to do so, of course, but remain unpersuasive in your claims that you have a transcendent guide for what we ought to do.

          • I answered your question, you rejected my answer. Dog bites man. Nothing new to see here.

            I do find it strange that you can't just say "well I reject your explanation and prefer to substitute my own reality instead". That would be a far more intellectually honest response than the tired old "you're avoiding the issue!" retort.

          • "My own reality" is a rich charge coming from someone who believes a 2000 year text that speaks of zombies and talking animals and a god who is a poor communicator and who claims to want a relationship with people but stays hidden for thousands of years.

          • Hey Wes, those links are dead. Would you re-upload them? Thanks.

          • Which links are you referring to Fred? The link in the main article appears to be working.

  4. I believe the Buddha was right. Everything changes. We all will die. If you can SHOW me a person, who is still alive after say………500 years, then you've made your point.

    For me, it's a no brainer. We all die. The Buddha was simply pointing out what most everyone who experiences the loss of a loved one eventually recognizes- We all live, and we all will die. Everything changes. Instead of fighting change, learn from it. Don't fight the inevitable.

    The Buddha never taught ("That we should just dispassionately accept it and move on.") On the contrary, he taught that we should embrace life. We should all be present. Not obsessed with the ridiculous everyday, foolishness that most focus on.

    If you are grieving, grieve. It's excessive grieving that is counter productive. The loved one that passed would not have wanted you to waste the rest of your life grieving.

  5. this picture is not not about lord buddha!!

  6. When Jesus was crucified on the cross he did not have the ability or, any divine power to remove the nails and save his own life. How can anyone with a right mind can expect him to save other people's lives. I admit that Jesus was a very good man who had a vision that was good enough to be accepted during that era. Today we are not going to accept the theory that God acts in mysterious ways, and Jesus has taken all the sins upon him. What is this so called sin? Is it that Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit? Who created Adam & Eve, the one who created them must take over the responsibility for creating such people with the attitude of dis-obedience.

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