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Is there Life after Death?


... below weeping and sorrowing at the remembrance of the things which they had ... but probably necessary -- in most societies for continuing day-to-day business. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Is there Life after Death?

Is there Life after Death?
A Psychological Approach Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
grief cycle
1926 - 2004
1926 - 2004
Stage 1 Shock
  • The first reaction on hearing the bad news is one
    of classic shock. This initially may appear as if
    there is no reaction at all to the news. The
    person may nod and accept the news without
    appearing to be troubled by it. Inside, they have
    frozen out the news that has not really taken
    hold yet. To get the news through, they may need
    to be told several times.
  • This is followed by a more external shock, where
    there may be physical reactions such as paling of
    the skin, shortness of breath and physical

Stage 2 Denial
  • After the initial shock has worn off, the next
    stage is usually one of classic denial, where
    they pretend that the news has not been given.
    They effectively close their eyes to any evidence
    and pretend that nothing has happened.
  • Typically, they will continue their life as if
    nothing has happened. In the workplace, they will
    carry on doing their job even if that job is no
    longer required.
  • A classic behavior here is a 'flight into
    health', where previously-perceived problems are
    suddenly seen as having miraculously fixed

Stage 3 Anger
  • The next step after denial is a sudden swing into
    anger, which often occurs in an explosion of
    emotion, where the bottled-up feelings of the
    previous stages are expulsed in a huge outpouring
    of grief. Whoever is in the way is likely to be

Stage 4 Bargaining
  • After the fires of anger have been blow out, the
    next stage is a desperate round of bargaining,
    seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing
    happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of
    hope that the bad news is reversible.

Stage 5 Despair
  • After denial, anger and bargaining, the
    inevitability of the news eventually (and not
    before time) sinks in and the person reluctantly
    accepts that it is going to happen. From the
    animation of anger and bargaining, they slump
    into a slough of despond. In this deep
    depression, they see only a horrible end with
    nothing beyond it. In turning in towards
    themselves, they turn away from any solution and
    any help that others can give them.

Stage 6 Testing
  • Even in the pit of depressive despair, reality
    eventually starts to bite and the person realizes
    that they cannot stay in that deep, dark hole
    forever. They thus start looking for realistic
    things that they can do. These may be taken on as
    'experiments' to see if doing these things help
    the situation in any way. As this activity starts
    to work, at least in some ways, it is found to be
    preferred to the depression and so the person
    crawls out of that dark hole.

Stage 7 Acceptance
  • The final stage is back to one of stability,
    where the person is ready and actively involved
    in moving on to the next phase of their lives, no
    matter how short. The terminally ill person will
    be putting their life in order, sorting out wills
    and helping others to accept the inevitability
    that then now have countenanced and faced.

  • The Six States of the Bardo
  • 1. Rang bzhin or Natural bardo our waking
    living state is the time of life to death
  • 2.    Bsam gtan or meditation bardo
    concentration   Provides opportunity for the
    given being to cultivate meditative equipoise,
    allowing them to achieve stability in the
    generation and perfection stages of meditation.
    This deepens the awareness of the ultimate nature
    of mind and prepares the meditator for the
    Chikhai  or death bardo.
  • 3      Rmi lam bardo path of dreams bardo -
    from the moment of falling asleep to awake.
    Gives the person the ability to realize the
    similarity between the illusory nature of dreams
    and reality. The practice of dream yoga, enables
    the practitioner learns to maintain the ultimate
    nature of mind and phenomena during sleep and

  • 4      Chikhai bardo bardo at the time of
    death is entered at the time when the process of
    dying surely begins, ends with the onset of the
    onset of the Dharmata or Reality bardo. This
    points to the gradual disillusion of the five
    elements and cumulates with the inner radience of
    the ground, also known as visions of clear light.
    A natural arising of inner radiance happens
    immediately after the being stops respiration,
    which is considered an opportune time to realize
    the Buddha-body of Reality.
  • 5  Chosnyid bardo bardo of experiencing
    reality.  It arises after the Chikhai or death
    bardo and ends before the Sridpai or life
  • Based on the practices during ones lifetime the
    opportunity to recognize the natural purity and
    natural transformative qualities of the ultimate
    nature of mind occurs in the form of
    luminosities, rays, sounds, and meditational
    deities, noted by visions of various Buddha forms

  • 6        Sridpai or life bardo  This is
    the bardo of rebirth
  • This state is entered after the Chosnyid bardo
    when the consciousness takes the form of a mental
    body which has been conditioned based on the
    individuals past actions.
  • 1.      Here the individual begins to experience
    the surroundings where they died and experiential
    states which are powered by the individuals past
    actions (karmically impelled hallucinations).
  • 2. If liberation from cyclic existence does not
    come at this state, then it comes to an end at
    the moment of conception, where the individual is
  •  3. As consciousness has heightened qualities at
    this level, there is potential to reach
    liberation, or achieve a more favorable state of
    rebirth during this state.      
  • Thus the six bardos are the classification of the
    6 types of consciousnesses, where each state
    forms an intermediate state between other states
    of consciousness.

The Ancient Greeks on the Afterlife
  • "I have a firm hope that there is something in
    store for those who have died, and, as we have
    been told for many years, something much better
    for the good than for the wicked." - Socrates in

Socrates in the Phaedo
  • The coldness was spreading about as far as his
    waist when Socrates uncovered his face, for he
    had covered it up, and said they were his last
    words Crito, we ought to offer a cock to
    Asclepius. See to it, and don't forget. 4
  • With these final words, Socrates requested his
    friends to sacrifice a cock to Asclepius, the
    Greek god of healing, for his recovery to health.
    Symbolically, his request showed that he was
    thankful to escape the tomb of the human body and
    leave the cavern of human earthly existence to
    enter a blissful life with the good gods. 

  • Socrates (from The Republic) report of a man
    returned to life
  • as he was lying on the funeral pile, he
    returned to life and told them what he had seen
    in the other world. He said that when his soul
    left the body he went on a journey with a great
    company, and that they came to a mysterious place
    at which there were two openings in the earth
    they were near together, and over against them
    were two other openings in the heaven above. In
    the intermediate space there were judges seated,
    who commanded the just, after they had given
    judgment on them and had bound their sentences in
    front of them, to ascend by the heavenly way on
    the right hand and in like manner the unjust
    were bidden by them to descend by the lower way
    on the left hand these also bore the symbols of
    their deeds, but fastened on their backs. He drew
    near, and they told him that he was to be the
    messenger who would carry the report of the other
    world to men, and they bade him hear and see all
    that was to be heard and seen in that place. Then
    he beheld and saw on one side the souls departing
    at either opening of heaven and earth when
    sentence had been given on them and at the two
    other openings other souls, some ascending out of
    the earth dusty and worn with travel, some
    descending out of heaven clean and bright. And
    arriving ever and anon they seemed to have come
    from a long journey, and they went forth with
    gladness into the meadow, where they encamped as
    at a festival and those who knew one another
    embraced and conversed, the souls which came from
    earth curiously enquiring about the things above,
    and the souls which came from heaven about the
    things beneath. And they told one another of what
    had happened by the way, those from below weeping
    and sorrowing at the remembrance of the things
    which they had endured and seen in their journey
    beneath the earth (now the journey lasted a
    thousand years), while those from above were
    describing heavenly delights and visions of
    inconceivable beauty.

  • the soul, when choosing a new life, must of
    necessity become different. But there was every
    other quality, and the all mingled with one
    another, and also with elements of wealth and
    poverty, and disease and health and there were
    mean states also. And here, my dear Glaucon, is
    the supreme peril of our human state and
    therefore the utmost care should be taken. Let
    each one of us leave every other kind of
    knowledge and seek and follow one thing only, if
    peradventure he may be able to learn and may find
    some one who will make him able to learn and
    discern between good and evil, and so to choose
    always and everywhere the better life as he has
    opportunity. A man must take with him into the
    world below an adamantine faith in truth and
    right, that there too he may be undazzled by the
    desire of wealth or the other allurements of
    evil, lest, coming upon tyrannies and similar
    villainies, he do irremediable wrongs to others
    and suffer yet worse himself but let him know
    how to choose the mean and avoid the extremes on
    either side, as far as possible, not only in this
    life but in all that which is to come. For this
    is the way of happiness.

  • All the souls had now chosen their lives, and
    they went in the order of their choice to
    Lachesis, who sent with them the genius whom they
    had severally chosen, to be the guardian of their
    lives and the fulfiller of the choice this
    genius led the souls first to Clotho, and drew
    them within the revolution of the spindle
    impelled by her hand, thus ratifying the destiny
    of each and then, when they were fastened to
    this, carried them to Atropos, who spun the
    threads and made them irreversible, whence
    without turning round they passed beneath the
    throne of Necessity and when they had all
    passed, they marched on in a scorching heat to
    the plain of Forgetfulness, which was a barren
    waste destitute of trees and verdure and then
    towards evening they encamped by the river of
    Unmindfulness, whose water no vessel can hold of
    this they were all obliged to drink a certain
    quantity, and those who were not saved by wisdom
    drank more than was necessary and each one as he
    drank forgot all things

  • . Now after they had gone to rest, about the
    middle of the night there was a thunderstorm and
    earthquake, and then in an instant they were
    driven upwards in all manner of ways to their
    birth, like stars shooting. He himself was
    hindered from drinking the water. But in what
    manner or by what means he returned to the body
    he could not say only, in the morning, awaking
    suddenly, he found himself lying on the pyre.
    And thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved and
    has not perished, and will save us if we are
    obedient to the word spoken and we shall pass
    safely over the river of Forgetfulness and our
    soul will not be defiled. Wherefore my counsel is
    that we hold fast ever to the heavenly way and
    follow after justice and virtue always,
    considering that the soul is immortal and able to
    endure every sort of good and every sort of evil.
    Thus shall we live dear to one another and to the
    gods, both while remaining here and when, like
    conquerors in the games who go round to gather
    gifts, we receive our reward. And it shall be
    well with us both in this life and in the
    pilgrimage of a thousand years which we have been

Parable of the Mustard Seed Buddha and
Acceptance of Death
  • Kisa Gotami had an only son, and he died. In her
    grief she carried the dead child to all her
    neighbors, asking them for medicine, and the
    people said "She has lost her senses. The boy is
    dead. At length Kisa Gotami met a man who replied
    to her request "I cannot give thee medicine for
    thy child, but I know a physician who can." The
    girl said "Pray tell me, sir who is it?" And
    the man replied "Go to Sakyamuni, the Buddha."
    Kisa Gotami repaired to the Buddha and cried
    "Lord and Master, give me the medicine that will
    cure my boy." The Buddha answered "I want a
    handful of mustard-seed." And when the girl in
    her joy promised to procure it, the Buddha added
    "The mustard-seed must be taken from a house
    where no one has lost a child, husband, parent,
    or friend." Poor Kisa Gotami now went from house
    to house, and the people pitied her and said
    "Here is mustard-seed take it!" But when she
    asked Did a son or daughter, a father or mother,
    die in your family?" They answered her "Alas the
    living are few, but the dead are many. Do not
    remind us of our deepest grief." And there was no
    house but some beloved one had died in it.

Soren Kierkegaard the Existentialist Courage to
be in the face of non-being.
  • From The Sickness unto Death
  • despair is conceived as the sickness, not as the
    cure. So dialectical is despair. So also in the
    Christian terminology death is the expression for
    the greatest spiritual wretchedness, and yet the
    cure is simply to die, to "die from." Only the
    Christian knows what is meant by the sickness
    unto death. He acquires as a Christian a courage
    which the natural man does not know -- this
    courage he acquires by learning fear for the
    still more dreadful. Such is the way a man always
    acquires courage when one fears a greater
    danger, it is as though the other did not exist.
    But the dreadful thing the Christian learned to
    know is "the sickness unto death." If on the
    contrary the self does not become itself, it is
    in despair, whether it knows it or not. However,
    a self, every instant it exists, is in process of
    becoming, for the self potentially does not
    actually exist, it is only that which it is to
    become. In so far as the self does not become
    itself, it is not its own self but not to be
    ones own self is despair.

Alfred North Whitehead the soul is part of
the universal process
  • As a first approximation we have conceived life
    as implying absolute, individual self-enjoyment
    of a process of appropriation. The data
    appropriated are provided by the antecedent
    functioning of the universe. Thus the occasion of
    experience is absolute in respect to its
    immediate self-enjoyment.

E. O. Wilson Sociobiology and Life after Death
  • The only common ground that between religion
    and science I see is the one that was approached
    by Darwin himself. Religious belief itself is an
    adaptation that has evolved because we're
    hard-wired to form tribalistic religions.
    Religion is intensely tribalistic. A devout
    Christian or Muslim doesn't say one religion is
    as good as another. It gives them faith in the
    particular group to which they belong and that
    set of beliefs and moral views. Oh yes, I grew up
  • I grew up as a Southern Baptist with strict
    adherence to the Bible, which I read as a
    youngster. As a child, I was warned by counselors
    and routine religious training that the truth was
    in the Bible. Redemption was only in Christ and
    the world is full of Satanic force. Satan himself
    perhaps -- but certainly his agents, witting and
    unwitting -- would try to make me drop my belief.
    I had that instilled in me. You have to
    understand how powerful the religious drive is --
    the instinct which I consider tribalist but
    probably necessary -- in most societies for
    continuing day-to-day business.

Born 1929
Wilson on Heaven and Hell
  • Would I be happy if I discovered that I could go
    to heaven forever? And the answer is no. Consider
    this argument. Think about what is forever. And
    think about the fact that the human mind, the
    entire human being, is built to last a certain
    period of time. Our programmed hormonal systems,
    the way we learn, the way we settle upon beliefs,
    and the way we love are all temporary. Because we
    go through a life's cycle. Now, if we were to be
    plucked out at the age of 12 or 56 or whenever,
    and taken up and told, now you will continue your
    existence as you are. We're not going to blot out
    your memories. We're not going to diminish your
    desires. You will exist in a state of bliss --
    whatever that is -- forever. And those who didn't
    make it are going to be consigned to darkness or
    hell. Now think, a trillion times a trillion
    years. Enough time for universes like this one to
    be born, explode, form countless star systems and
    planets, then fade away to entropy. You will sit
    there watching this happen millions and millions
    of times and that will just be the beginning of
    the eternity that you've been consigned to bliss
    in this existence.
  • This heaven would be your hell.
  • Yes. If we were able to evolve into something
    else, then maybe not. But we are not something