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Dying to Live: The Role of Kamma in Dying & Rebirth

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by Aggacitta Bhikkhu

There are different views and beliefs about what happens after death. Tibetan (Vajrayàna) and Chinese (Mahàyàna) Buddhists believe that after death, the spirit of the dead person passes through an intermediate period (bardo in Tibetan, zhong yin in Mandarin) — which may last for as long as forty-nine days — during which it undergoes a series of unearthly, extraordinary experiences, including a “small death” at the end of each week, before it is finally reborn into another realm of existence. In contrast, orthodox Theravada Buddhism, which is the earliest extant record of Gotama Buddha’s teaching, asserts that rebirth takes place immediately after death.

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