A Review of the Buddhist and Hindu Views on Death Fear

Last Updated: 17 May 2023
Essay type: Evaluation
Pages: 4 Views: 178
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Fear of death correlated with an "inappropriate" self-pre-occupation in both Hinduism and Buddhist

According to Roger T. Ames, (1964) everyone fears death in both Buddhism and Hinduism religions (Chidester 90). That is why our professor told us that in China very few people believe in the ancestral spirit. Since we do not know where people with the spirits go after they die. These are because when someone dies, they are never seen again, and the end of their life is arrived upon. In both Buddhism and Hinduism the fear of death is correlated with inappropriate self-preoccupation. Self-preoccupation means being in a state of preoccupied, where one is confused with some particular occurrences. For example, what happens to the human soul after they die? In the second reading by David Chidester, Patterns of Transcendence: Religion, Death, and Dying it is evident that people fears death so much.

The reading starts with a woman whose son died and was finding for the medicine everywhere requesting everyone to provide her with it. This resembles what the professor told us that we usually obey our ancestral spirits without knowing the reason. Obedience costs much to us, especially of the people who die. Because we never know where they usually go. The woman was in fear of death, and she believed that her son was the first one to die in the whole village. But after getting a piece of advice from a wise man to get the medicine from Buddha, she appreciated believing that the Buddha will give her medicine. The Buddha told the woman to go back in the village and come with a mustard seed from the house where no one has ever died there.

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This showed how traditionally people feared death since they believed that deaths separates the living with the dead. The woman was much amazed to learn a lesson by her own that in almost every house someone has ever died (Chidester 92). Her fear of death become to an end since she learned that she was not the only one who has experienced death. The Hindus usually believes in life after death. Once someone dies, they believe that he or she will be reborn for a next life. Hindu fears death though they perform dharma after one dies. They strongly believe that good actions, while one is living gives good results after rebirth and bad actions results to bad results. According to my professor, in order to obey and respect the dead, we follow their ancestral spirits without questioning them.

In tradition, the self-preoccupation in both religions makes the liberation of individuals important. What the professor termed as obedience during lifetime is highly-valued particularly in China. After Buddha Siddhartha Gautama saw a sick man, an old man, and a dead man, was when he realized that suffering and death are not pleasing to humans. Hence, Buddhism religion, as well as Hinduism denies the body desires since they lead to human sufferings. What made death mostly feared in Hinduism and Buddhism is that the biological, physical body is never seen again. But the soul of the person is still there, which normal human beings cannot see it. The rebirth of the dead can occur in the animal world, human world or even as a spiritual body in the world of the ghost (Hamilton 44).

Death is usually inevitable regardless of whether one is a Hindu or Buddhist. The fear of death brings the meaningfulness of one being enlightened while one is still living according to their religion. Enlightenment here means that one has to control his or her body to avoid bad deeds. That is why Hindus observes dharma and Buddhists observe meditation. These two rituals are meant to cleanse oneself for the readiness of the next life after death. These reduce the fear of death since the enlightened knows that the life they are living is not final. There is another world for the "holy" ones that awaits them. After one believes that there is life after death, then it becomes inappropriate to fear death. What one does is preparing the way so that they can be among those who will be granted new life with no end.

According to David Chidester, (2002), Samsara is the wheel of life in both ancient Hinduism and Buddhism. These symbolize the cycle that humans have of birth, life, and death. From my lecture there is no one who has the power to stop death from occurring. The concepts of karma in both religions brings about what one will get after rebirth. The new life after rebirth will just be payments for the deeds that one had during his or her lifetime. If one had good deeds, then they will enjoy everlasting life while if one had bad deeds then he or she will be paid with bad. Buddhism usually denies the concept of self or soul. They believe that in reality there exist no abiding entity, which could be identified in self since the states of consciousness, perception, body and mind constantly change (Ames 67).

The body is usually immortal and after it dies all the mental activities mainly ceases. That is the reason there is no soul. On the other hand, the concept of self in Hinduism is real. The Hindus believe that after one dies only the physical body that ceases to exist. But their soul is usually there, and they are the one that constitutes the new reborn individual. Therefore, we can see that fear of death in both religions is correlated with an inappropriate self-preoccupation. The self-preoccupation mainly relies upon the actions of oneself during their lifetime. That is why both religions recommend one to behave well during their lifetime since there is life after death that depends on how one lives after birth. Everyone is destined to die since it is inevitable (David, 2002). What will differentiate one being from another after rebirth is their actions during their lifetime. Good actions will be paid with good results while bad actions with bad results.


  1. David Chidester. Hindu Liberation from Patterns of Transcendence: Religion, Death, and Dying (Belmont, Ca: Wadsworth, 2002. Pp 88-98. 1952) Pp. 42-46.
  2. Hamilton, ed. Buddhism: A Religion of infinite Compassion (Indianapolis:Liberal Art Press, Roger T. Ames. Death As Transformation in Classical Daoism. Liberal Art Press. 1964. Pp. 56-70.

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A Review of the Buddhist and Hindu Views on Death Fear. (2023, May 17). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/a-review-of-the-buddhist-and-hindu-views-on-death-fear/

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