on Life and Death
Philosophy has been understood as the rational understanding of human
beings through the issue of death or of overcoming the death.
In the West, they see the soul as immortal, whereas they see the body as
transient and imprisoning soul in it. In short, death signifies only “the death of
the body.” This is the moment from which the death or the liberation from the
body takes its affirmative momentum in the tradition of western philosophy. Even
though western philosophy and religion represent different forms and ideas, the
starting point for them is the premise of human overcoming of the death.
In the East, Confucianism understands human death from the practical and
Real standpoint. According to Confucian philosophy, life and death belong to the
natural process. Taoists regard death and life as the trace of all things that
change naturally just like the process of day and night.
Buddhism tries to understand all the sentient beings sustain their lives in
the interrelationship with other beings. In Buddhism, human beings are neither
complete nor determined, they based upon the concept of “life.” Also, there is a
formular which consists of previous life, this life, next life or life after death.
Buddhism attempts to overcome the death through the metempsychosis. This
Suk-Ku Song is a Professor emeritus of Philosophy at Dongguk University and the President of the
International Association for Buddhist Thought and Culture.
International Journal of Buddhist Thought & Culture September 2007, Vol.9, pp.7-31.
ⓒ 2007 International Association for Buddhist Thought and Culture
Suk-Ku Song: Buddhist Reflections on Life and Death
process of overcoming the death through metempsychosis will be followed by
Key words: Death, Life, Overcoming the Death,
Philosophy has been und