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Myths Christian, Aboriginal, and Buddhist


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Title: Myths Christian, Aboriginal, and Buddhist

Myths Christian, Aboriginal, and Buddhist
  • By
  • Jason Guido
  • Chris Cochran
  • Blair Hiribarne

  • This project is concerned with death,
    dying, rituals of death, and transcendence
    between the dead and undead. Three cultures were
    selected for the project. Each was picked for
    its varied contrast from the other two. The three
    members of this team used religious text,
    interviews, third party texts, as well as the
    World Wide Web. At the end of our research we
    can find the similarities and differences between
    these cultures and how they deal with death.
    This project is far from covering all aspects of
    these cultures and their rituals. There are also
    many other cultures that experience life
    differently with a different set of rituals and

  • The first examined culture is Christianity.
    This religion dominates the western world and is
    roughly two thousand years old. Its founder and
    savior is Jesus the believed son of God. This
    linear religion varies widely from the indigenous
    culture of the aboriginal Australians, the second
    culture to be studied. This culture finds value
    and transcendence through dream time.

  • Finally is Buddhism. Buddhism is the new
    fangled eastern religion that has recently come
    to the west and swept up a great deal of
    Christians, spirituals, celebrities and the
    occasional atheist. This new to the west religion
    is not that new at all. The life style/
    philosophy/ religion started in India around 500
    B.C.E. with the founding papa Siddhartha Gautama.
    The way of the Buddha is the life of letting go
    of want and believing that you are nothing and
    everything at the same time. The religion of the
    Buddha gives us a different way to look at life
    and the way that we die. Believing in
    reincarnation and non-self makes the rituals of
    death and the way we transcend life very
    different from western rituals, but similarities
    can be seen in the way westerners live and die
    and how Buddhist go through experience.

  • Buddhism offers a life of meditation and
    letting go of things that many westerns hold to
    be sacred. When we look at the life and death of
    a Buddhist one can get an idea that death is not
    something to cry over, and the life that each one
    lives is not as valuable and worthy of tragedy
    filled ceremonies. One might infer this idea
    from a submission to a larger view of life
    separate from a personal ego. Like most
    religions, Buddhism encourages us to see a world
    larger than the room we occupy. As one humbles
    his or self to the vastness of everything, a
    Buddhist might turn a smile at death knowing that
    a cycle has been completed and that we are all

The Basics
  • Monotheistic religion based on the life,
    teachings, death by crucifixion, and the
    resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • The worlds largest religion claiming about 1/3
    of the earths population as followers.

Christian Beliefs
  • Christians believe Jesus to be God incarnate.
  • Christians believe in one God, and that God
    subsists in three divine persons. The Father the
    Son and the Holy Ghost.
  • Christians also believe that personal faith in
    Jesus is essential for salvation from sin.

The Obvious
  • Death is universal!
  • Death does not care what religion you follow
    when it is your time, you still die.

  • The concept of salvation simply means being
    saved from punishment or suffering of some kind.
  • Salvation is extremely important within the realm
    of Christian thought.
  • For many, attainment of salvation is the goal of
  • Some claim, doing the will of God is the goal of
    religion…these ideas are often seen as equal.

Why is salvation important?
  • What are Christians, or anyone else for that
    matter, trying to gain salvation from?
  • Salvation must be gained from the idea, or belief
    that there is something that is not of Gods
    design. This could be an evil being, a demon, or
    Satan for example.
  • Christians believe salvation is the way into
    heaven or hell. With it, you are delivered to
    sit at the right hand of God, without it you will
    be condemned to hell.
  • Those who believe in heaven generally hold that
    it is the final resting place of many or all

Now we…
  • Know what Christianity is.
  • Have a basic understanding of Christian beliefs
    concerning God and the principals of salvation.
  • Know that Christians goal is admittance into
  • But how do Christians plan on entering heaven?
  • What rituals do they perform to help ensure that
    is where they spend eternal life?

Entering Heaven
  • Christians believe that to enter heaven they must
    accept Jesus Christ as their personal lord and
  • Through faith in the sacrificial death and
    resurrection of Jesus, individuals are believed
    to be saved from death, by redemption of their
  • Christians perform specific rituals with hope
    that their performance on earth will gain them
    entrance into heaven.

Christian Rituals
  • Those done in life
  • Those done in death
  • Rituals performed during life that are believed
    to help place a Christian in heaven

  • Known as the Lords Supper or Communion, it is
    the consumption of bread and wine as the body and
    blood of Christ.

  • This is commonly known as confession, where the
    confessor hopes to be forgiven and absolved of
    his or her sins.

  • Baptism symbolizes the remission of sins, and is
    recognized as a confession of faith by he or she
    who is baptized.

Other Rituals
  • Anointing of the sick .
  • Confirmation (closely related to baptism).
  • A daily or weekly worship where the believer
    attends church, or mass.
  • Some Christians do not continue Christian-like
    activities as did their grandparents. While
    still clinging to some of their traditions such
    as Christmas and Easter, these people can be
    classified with those who are sometimes known as
    practicing Jews or are considered Christian
    when they want.

Rituals that take place when a person dies
  • Most rituals include preparation of the dying
    person for their journey into the afterlife.
    Family, friends, as well as relatives help out
    with these rituals.

Preparation of the corpse
  • Often the body is embalmed and dressed in fancy
    clothes before burial. It is believed that the
    body deserves respectful treatment, as it served
    to harbor the spirit during life.

3 Days Rule
  • There is a common belief that the soul remains
    at home for three days after the death of a
    person. Christians draw a parallel to this by
    stating that the resurrection of Christ also took
    three days.

Disposal of the Corpse
  • Cremation or embalming.
  • whereby the body can be burned then stored in an
    urn or scattered. Some believe that cremation is
    incompatible with the concept of the resurrection
    of the body as it has been destroyed.
  • Also, fire is sometimes seen as representing
    negative images such as holocaust .cremations, or
    compared to the idea of hell.
  • Or, in the case of embalming, can be buried or
    placed in a mausoleum.

Attitudes and beliefs
  • "Death" is a socially constructed idea.
    The fears and attitudes people have towards it
    are not instinctive, but rather learned from
    educational and cultural vehicles such as the
    languages, arts, and religion. Every culture has
    its own coherent explanation of death which is
    believed to be right by its members. From such
    consideration, the life and Society are built
    according to such archetypes as death. What
    lessons can we learn from the examination of
    death as a social and cultural fact?

Among the cultural indicators to be considered
  • Nature of the beliefs toward the meaning of life,
    death and the hereafter.
  • Funerary rituals and strategies for body
  • The physical and symbolic boundaries between the
    worlds of the living and the dead.
  • The perceived role of the dead on the affairs of
    the living.
  • The degree of social stigma attached to those
    dying, dead, or bereaved.
  • Orientations toward and rates of suicide, murder
    and abortion.

  • Death prevention and avoidance as a social goal.
  • The death socialization of children (including
    death themes in children's stories and games) and
    their involvement in funerary ritual.
  • The taboo status of the topic of dying and death
    in everyday discourse.
  • The language used regarding death.
  • The nature and conceptions of death in the arts.

  • In considering cross-culturally the many facets
    of death, others have developed typologies of
    orientations toward life and death
  • Cultures can be death-accepting, death-denying or
    even death- defying. In the death-defying West,
    the strategies for salvation have historically
    included activism and starkness. In the East, the
    strategies have often been more contemplative and

  • Death may be considered either as the end of
    existence or as a transition to another state of
    being or consciousness. For Buddhists and Hindus,
    the arch-ordeal envisioned is not death but
    rather the pain of having to undergo another
    rebirth. It is the end of rebirths that is their
    goal, not the end of death, which is the goal of
  • Considering the two previous dimensions, it
    should be evident that death can be viewed as
    either sacred or profane, a state or process
    perceived either to be sacrosanct or polluting
    for the living.

  • Where there is some immortality conception, it
    can either be personal or collective. In the
    West, post-death conceptions typically involve
    the integrity and continuity of one's personal
    self. In the East, the ultimate goal is often an
    undifferentiated and impersonal oneness with the
  • Cultures have taken hedonistic and pessimistic
    orientations toward life in facing the
    inevitability of death, such as taking an "eat,
    drink, and be merry for tomorrow we may die"
    approach to life.

  • Females are traditionally more involved in ritual
    and the emotional aspects of social life than are
    men. Whether by nature, socialization, exposure,
    or through some combination thereof, this implies
    that women are more likely than men to consider
    the existential issues of death and personal
    relationships. Over the last 50 years, their role
    in funerals has been virtually eliminated by the
    professionalization of the funeral industry. No
    longer needed, as their mothers and grandmothers
    might have been, to care for the dying at home,
    to wash and dress the body, to maintain mourning
    rituals, or tend graves, they must rethink the
    significance of death and their relationship to

  • The Christian notion of life being what's
    objective and concrete while the hereafter has an
    illusionary quality is far from being universal.
    The Hindus, for example, handle the problem of
    death by viewing life as the illusion and the
    realm between reincarnations as that which is
    objective. Hence, for many in Eastern cultures
    the primary concern is to avoid rebirth by
    extinguishing one's self-centeredness, while in
    much of the West, this concern is to obtain as
    high a quality of personal existence as is
    possible in the here-and-now.
  • (much of this excerpt take from

Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime Myths
Indigenous Peoples of Australia
  • There are two recognized Indigenous peoples in
    Australia the Aboriginals and the Torres Strait
  • This presentation will focus on the Aboriginal
    people and their Dreamtime Myths.

Some Aboriginal Background
  • The Aboriginal people migrated from Southeast
    Asia to Australia between 40,000-150,000 years
    ago, making them one of the oldest and longest
    surviving cultures in the world.

Aboriginal People and their Beliefs
  • They were hunter-gatherers who liked to explore
    and go on "walkabouts.
  • Walkabouts" also had a spiritual meaning to the
    Aboriginal. They viewed the land as sacred and
    their journeys became a dream journey connecting
    them to Dreamtime.
  • They would recount their walkabouts in songs and
    pass them on through the generations. These
    songs, also known as songlines, depicted their
    journey through sacred pathways and would convey
    a spiritual message.
  • The Dream Journey is the Aboriginal path to
    spiritual renewal because the people and the land
    are inseparable. These are a people in deep
    harmony with nature.
  • Source About Dreamtime web site on 25 Nov. 2005

  • The expression 'Dreamtime' is most often used to
    refer to the 'time before time', or 'the time of
    the creation of all things', while 'Dreaming' is
    often used to refer to an individual's or group's
    set of beliefs or spirituality
  • Source Indigenous Australia web site on 25 Jul.
    05 http//

  • Aboriginal spirituality and beliefs are centered
    around creation stories.
  • These stories are recounted during their
    Dreamtime ceremonies and through oral traditions.
  • The stories tech how their ancestors left their
    mark on the land and are manifested in particular
    sacred sites all over Australia.

  • The group or tribe would be called together,
    sometimes with the use of the yidaki (also known
    as the didjeridu), and tell great stories of how
    everything was created in a ceremonial
  • These ceremonial performances passed on the laws
    and beliefs of and individual tribe and increased
    creative energy within the world.
  • Side note The Yidaki origins are sacred and only
    known to Yolngu men of the Northern Territory.

Vision Quest
  • Dreamtime is also called a Vision Quest which is
    an attempt to make contact with a spirit for
    protection and/or to acquire a supernatural
  • Vision Quests are brought about by fasting,
    isolation, and extreme exposure to the elements.
  • Vision Quests are normally performed by male
    youths as a right of passage into maturity.

Ceremonial Dress
  • Body paint and headdresses help the Australians
    to connect their physical bodies to the spirit
  • Each language group has their own type of
    ceremonial dress.

Feasts and Festivals
  • Ceremonies are held that involve people from
    different language groups.
  • They bring gifts and raw materials to trade.
  • Aborigines perform songs and dances to celebrate
    daily activities.
  • After the feast the elders meet to discuss laws
    and ensure the survival of the Dreaming.

Dreamtime Stories
A Soakage in Sand Hill Country
  • An important aspect of aboriginal stories
    involves where water can be found.
  • This is a depiction of a waterhole that is
    surrounded by sweeping sandhills.

Mina Mina Dreaming
  • In the Dreamtime there was a huge fight between
    Yarla and Ngarlajiyi.
  • This is a picture of the Ngarlajiyi plant with
    yatura (roots), and ngama (surface tendrils).

Fire Dreaming
  • This painting depicts a fire that is set by the
    people in order to flush out Liwirringki
    (burrowing skinks) so that they can be more
    easily caught for food.

"Brock Brock" Frog Dreaming
  • Brock Brock, or Wulwarna, is the frog that
    senses the coming of the rains and comes out to
    sing in them.
  • He is the focus of the Jardiwampa ceremonies.

Heres a list of some Dreamtime Stories
  • Creation Story
  • Eaglehawk and Crow
  • Emu and the Jabiru
  • Gulaga
  • How the water got to the plains
  • Illawarra and the five islands
  • Koockard (Goanna)
  • Min-na-wee (Why the Crocodile Rolls)
  • Red Waratah

Dreamtime Stories (Contd)
  • The 2 wise men and the 7 sisters
  • Thukeri
  • Toonkoo and Ngaardi
  • Umbarra
  • Why the stories are told
  • Click here for Real Audio tellings of these
  • Click here for some videos of other stories

Religious Significance of the Land
  • The land is the Aborigines tie to the Dreaming
    sacred sites mark where ancestors went down
    and serve as ties to ancestors. A persons link
    to one part of the land cannot be transferred to
    any other part.
  • Aboriginal worship practices all center on the
    land maintaining certain sites, preserving
    certain species, etc.
  • Songs about the Dreaming are so concerned with
    the land that they can be used as maps, even
    across unfamiliar terrain. Land is a record of
    the Dreaming.

Basic Principles
  • Attempting to understand a Christian death would
    be really hard if you didnt know who Jesus was
    and what he taught. Well, the same works for
    Buddhism and the Buddhist view on ceremony and
    transcendence. So, before we can understand the
    way that a Buddhist dies and lives we need to
    understand the basic principles behind Buddhism.
    After we know a little bit of what its all about
    we can begin to see how death, dying, and talking
    to your dog like a cousin all makes perfect
  • When the Dharma wheel Had thus been turned by
    the World-Honored One, the Earth gods proclaimed,
    Near Varanasi at Isipnatana in the Deer Park,
    the highest Wheel of the Dharma has been set in
    motion. It cannot be turned back by reclues,
    brahamans, gads, maras, brahmas, or anyone in any
    worlds. - Thich Nhat Hanh

Basic Principles (Contd)
  • Buddhism is better described as a life style then
    a religion. The life of a Buddhist is one of
    personal reflection and movement along a
    spiritual path. The paths ultimate goal is
    Nirvana. Nirvana is the enlightenment of the
    mind and the freedom from suffering. A Buddhist
    can only reach this final stage of his journey in
    death. But in life a Buddhist spends his
    religious focus on strengthening his mind and
    becoming one that is as close to enlightened as
    possible. Buddhism separated from Hinduism with
    the presence of the enlightened one The Buddha.
    The Buddha was a prince from the northern India
    region named Siddartha Guatama. The Buddha is
    believed to have reached enlightenment one day
    while sitting under the sacred bodhi tree
    contemplating the meaning and end of suffering.
    It is believed that at this point The Buddha
    reached perfect awakening (samyak sambohdi) and
    began turning the great dharma wheel and while
    doing so beginning the ending of suffering. The
    Buddha principles of teaching come primarily from
    the four noble truths Suffering (dukkha), the
    root of suffering (samudaya), cessation of
    creating suffering (nirodha), and finally the
    path (marga). The path is the Noble eightfold
    path. This consists of right-view, thinking,
    speech, action, livelihood, diligence,
    mindfulness, concentration. A Buddhist believes
    that following these teaching and living a life
    of peace and concentration will lead him to the
    great awakening. Buddhists also believe in
    re-incarnation. Because of this belief,
    Buddhists believe that all life is sacred and
    must be treated with the ut-most respect. They
    figure, hey that fly you swat could be the Buddha

Basic Principles (Contd)
  • It is from these primary principles of Buddhism
    that we are able to see how a Buddhist treats
    nature. A Buddhist believes that no animal from
    an earthworm to an elephant should be harmed.
    And also plants are to be treated with great
    respect. Because plants are our source for food
    we are supposed to treat them with love and
    respect. If we treat plants poorly we ingest
    poor karma and the food will hurt our spirits.
    Also A Buddhist looks at nature through the eyes
    of impermanence. When a monk sees a tree he does
    not just see the tree before him, he sees the
    tree that gave this one a seed, the soil that
    nurtured its growth, and the sun that helped it
    grow. With this a monk can become humbled at the
    passing of the world and the interconnectedness
    of the earth. Buddhism hold great respect for
    nature because a Buddhist sees the world around
    him as an extension of himself and himself an
    extension of the world.

The Four Noble Truths
  • The Buddha taught that life was dissatisfactory
    because of craving, but that this condition was
    curable by following the Eightfold Path. This
    teaching is called the Four Noble Truths
  • Dukkha All worldly life is unsatisfactory,
    disjointed, containing suffering.
  • Samudaya There is a cause of suffering, which is
    attachment or desire (tanha) rooted in ignorance.
  • Nirodha There is an end of suffering, which is
  • Marga There is a path that leads out of
    suffering, known as the Noble Eightfold Path.

(No Transcript)
The Noble Eightfold Path
  • In order to fully understand the noble truths and
    investigate whether they were in fact true,
    Buddha recommended that a certain lifestyle or
    path be followed which consists of
  • 1) Right Understanding
  • 2) Right Thought
  • 3) Right Speech
  • 4) Right Action
  • 5) Right Livelihood
  • 6) Right Effort
  • 7) Right Mindfulness
  • 8) Right Concentration

The Noble Eightfold Path (Contd)
  • Sometimes in the Pali Canon the Eightfold Path is
    spoken of as being a progressive series of stages
    which the practitioner moves through, the
    culmination of one leading to the beginning of
    another, but it is more usual to view the stages
    of the 'Path' as requiring simultaneous
  • The Eightfold Path essentially consists of
    meditation, following the precepts, and
    cultivating the positive converse of the precepts
    (e.g. benefiting living beings is the converse of
    the first precept of harmlessness). The Path may
    also be thought of as a way of developing sila,
    meaning mental and moral discipline.

The Five Precepts
  • Buddhists undertake certain precepts as aids on
    the path to coming into contact with ultimate
    reality. Laypeople generally undertake five
    precepts. The Five Precepts are not given in the
    form of commands such as "thou shalt not ...",
    but rather are promises to oneself "I will (try)
  • The five precepts are
  • 1) To refrain from harming living creatures
  • 2) To refrain from taking that which is not
    freely given (stealing).
  • 3) To refrain from sexual misconduct.
  • 4) To refrain from incorrect speech (lying,
    harsh language, slander, idle chit-chat).
  • 5) To refrain from intoxicants which lead to
    loss of mindfulness.
  • It should be noted that the literal, and possibly
    original, meaning of the third precept covers
    more than the now generally standard meaning
    "sexual misconduct" and actually involves
    refraining from "wrong indulgence in all sensory

Non Self
  • The Buddhist religion has other principles and
    fundamentals, and one of the most important of
    these is the idea of non-self. A Buddhist
    believes that he is an empty nothingness. Being
    nothing and removing yourself from the material
    world is a good thing to do. A Buddhist know
    that nothing in life is permanent, life is always
    changing, and you and everyone else will be gone
    some day. The Buddhist knows that his
    impermanence and interconnected self with
    everything lets him know that he will parish and
    always be an equal part of everything. He will
    never be a drop, only an ocean with no division.
    This outlook on life makes going through death if
    not at least easier, then very different from a
    Christian death.

The Death of a Buddhist
  • A Buddhist death is not the same as one of
    another religion. Well, the body still kinda
    looks the same whether youre a little Chinese
    man thats Catholic or a monk, but the ceremony
    is different and the destination mythology varies
    more than slightly. Death and dying in the
    Buddhist tradition is a process that begins at
    the moment of conception. Meditation and the
    sewing of negative and positive energies play a
    pivotal role on how you live and how you die.
    The ceremonies of death in a Buddhist life are as
    varied and religiously connected as most other
    religions. The traditional ceremony of a
    Buddhist death would not resemble the coffin,
    church, and wake ceremony we find present in most
    of the western world. Traditionally bodies are
    burned not buried, and the cremation process is
    different then a morgue. The body is usually
    burned outside for the community to see. Burial
    still occurs though and can be found among
    Tibetan Buddhists.

The Death of a Buddhist (Contd)
  • Contemplation and meditation on death and
    impermanence are regarded as very important in
    Buddhism for two reasons (1) it is only by
    recognising how precious and how short life is
    that we are most likely to make it meaningful and
    to live it fully and (2) by understanding the
    death process and familiarizing ourself with it,
    we can remove fear at the time of death and
    ensure a good rebirth.

The Death of a Buddhist (Contd)
  • Because the way in which we live our lives and
    our state of mind at death directly influence our
    future lives, it is said that the aim or mark of
    a spiritual practitioner is to have no fear or
    regrets at the time of death. People who practice
    to the best of their abilities will die, it is
    said, in a state of great bliss. The mediocre
    practitioner will die happily. Even the initial
    practitioner will have neither fear nor dread at
    the time of death. So one should aim at achieving
    at least the smallest of these results. There
    are two common meditations on death in the
    Tibetan tradition. The first looks at the
    certainty and imminence of death and what will be
    of benefit at the time of death, in order to
    motivate us to make the best use of our lives.
    The second is a simulation or rehearsal of the
    actual death process, which familiarizes us with
    death and takes away the fear of the unknown,
    thus allowing us to die skilfully. Traditionally,
    in Buddhist countries, one is also encouraged to
    go to a cemetery or burial ground to contemplate
    on death and become familiar with this inevitable

The Death of a Buddhist (Contd)
  • The first of these meditations is known as the
    nine-round death meditation, in which we
    contemplate the three roots, the nine reasonings,
    and the three convictions, as described below

  • 1. There is no possible way to escape death.
    No-one ever has, not even Jesus, Buddha, etc. Of
    the current world population of over 5 billion
    people, almost none will be alive in 100 years
  • 2. Life has a definite, inflexible limit and each
    moment brings us closer to the finality of this
    life. We are dying from the moment we are born.
  • 3. Death comes in a moment and its time is
    unexpected. All that separates us from the next
    life is one breath.
  • Conviction To practice the spiritual path and
    ripen our inner potential by cultivating positive
    mental qualities and abandoning disturbing mental

  • 4. The duration of our lifespan is uncertain. The
    young can die before the old, the healthy before
    the sick, etc.
  • 5. There are many causes and circumstances that
    lead to death, but few that favour the sustenance
    of life.
  • Even things that sustain life can kill us, for
    example food, motor vehicles, property.
  • 6. The weakness and fragility of one's physical
    body contribute to life's uncertainty.
  • The body can be easily destroyed by disease or
    accident, for example cancer, AIDS, vehicle
    accidents, other disasters.
  • Conviction To ripen our inner potential now,
    without delay.

  • (because all that goes on to the next life is our
    mind with its karmic (positive or negative)
  • 7. Worldly possessions such as wealth, position,
    money can't help
  • 8. Relatives and friends can neither prevent
    death nor go with us.
  • 9. Even our own precious body is of no help to
    us. We have to leave it behind like a shell, an
    empty husk, an overcoat.
  • Conviction To ripen our inner potential purely,
    without staining our efforts with attachment to
    worldly concerns.
  • These meditation techniques are brought to you
    thanks to

  • All things die, work out your own
    salvation with diligence. These were the last
    words that Siddartha the Buddha said right before
    he passed away. He wanted his followers to know
    that the day they were born they began to die.
    He asked that his people think of their bodies as
    on fire. And with every moment you fade a little
    closer to death. Your body is burning to ash.
    The Buddha believed it was important for us all
    to remember that death is going to happen to us
    all. That the death we experience is coming and
    comes to everyone. It is the focus of the mind
    and the diligent desire to leg go that will save
    one from the suffering of the world. The moment
    that you truly except impermanence you help to
    turn the wheel of dharma and let go of ties to
    this life.

The Tibetan Book of The Dead
  • Instructions given to the dying and whispered
    into the ear of the deceased were taken from a
    text that has been called the Tibetan Book of The
    Dead. This book offers an explanation of the
    realm that the spirit goes through during death.
    The knowledge of the afterlife comes from deep
    meditation, but full knowledge of the souls
    trials and tribulations can only be discovered at
    death itself.
  • Funeral rites and observations lasted about two
    lunar months. An astrologer was called in to
    cast a horoscope that showed the arrangement of
    the heavens at the time of a death. The
    horoscope would influence the types of rites
    performed as well the precise time and place of
    the funeral. (Chidester,122) Bodies were kept
    in the home or funeral are for forty nine days.
    During this time family and community could come
    and make offerings to the body and person.

The Tibetan Book of The Dead (Contd)
  • It is believed that during the time between lives
    the spirit of a person would experience all of
    the splendors and horrors of life. The
    consciousness that left the body experienced
    intense lights and visions. These are thought to
    be the purest lights and sounds. Also
    accompanying these pure lights and sounds were
    images and sounds of terror. If consciousness
    could handle these intense experiences with
    deviating from a calm mental state, then the
    consciousness would be free from the cycle of
    life and death. If not, the book states that
    conscious ness will begin to disappear. At this
    point all that remains of the mind will begin to
    focus on new parents. Finally, reincarnation
    will occur.

  • Buddhism varies greatly from traditional western
    religions. The cyclical life and death of the
    samsara belief system is far not similar to a
    Christian view that you are born, you, live, you
    die, then you go off to an after life. A
    Buddhist may free himself from his cycle, but his
    salivation lies in a life of meditation and being
    mindful of his actions. Similarities between the
    two can be found in the salvation promised by
    their saviors. Jesus died for the sins of man,
    and allowed a passage to heaven through personal
    acceptance of him and his teachings. The Buddha
    turned the wheels of dharma, and with this
    blessing humans can now become free from this
    life death cycle, and the burdens of desire and

  • Buddhist death and ritual can find similarities
    with indigenous culture through practices that
    occur during ones life. And aborigine can find
    connection with the afterlife as well as his
    ancestors though dreamtime and contemplation. It
    is believed that meditation in life can allow a
    Buddhist to connect with everything, as well as
    allow him to realize his own impermanence and the
    nature of his certain demise and possible

  • Followers of the Buddhist faith find connection
    with the world around them, as well as a
    connection with those who have passed before
    them, due primarily to two principles. A
    Buddhist believes that he is nothing and
    everything is him. This connects him to a world
    that is much larger then his body, but no more or
    less significant. Also, reincarnation promotes
    the idea that all that surrounds us is past,
    present, and future family. Every living thing
    is a consciousness that is interconnected with
    the world. Each person is an equal space in an
    infinite net, and these consciousnesses have been
    around before our time, and will return to the
    earth for many years until all beings can reach

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