Mortal Bodies

Karen C. Lang

in Four Illusions

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195151138
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199870448 | DOI:
 Mortal Bodies

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Candrakiriti rejects Brahmin priests’ belief in immortality, whether defined as eternal life in heaven, as the continuance of life on earth through the birth of sons, or as specialized knowledge acquired through meditation. His arguments demonstrate his familiarity with the early Vedas’ advocacy of physical immortality through procreation and later Upaniṣads’ advocacy of spiritual immortality acquired through knowledge of the identity of the individual soul with the cosmic source of all life. The practice of mindfulness applied to the body provides direct and immediate perception of its mortal nature. The main thrust of Buddhist teachings on death is threefold: death is certain, the time of death is uncertain, and only religious practice will be of any value when death comes.

Keywords: death; immortality; mindfulness of the body; Upaniṣads; Vedas

Chapter.  8533 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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