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Paul's testimony on death compared to Padmasambhivic texts.

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dc.contributor.author Buys, Philippus Jacobus
dc.date.accessioned 2008-01-09T07:06:33Z
dc.date.available 2008-01-09T07:06:33Z
dc.date.issued 2008-01-09T07:06:33Z
dc.date.submitted 2003
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/183
dc.description.abstract The uniqueness of New Testament testimony concerning death as reflected in Pauline Epistles is explored in comparison with a Padmasambhivic text from Tibetan Buddhism called the ‘Great Liberation by hearing in the Bardo’/ ‘Tibetan Book of the Dead.’ Chapters one and two explore the historical, literary and present-day contexts of the texts. The hermeneutics of Pentecostal Christians differ from that of Tibetan Buddhists. These communities both seek to experience textual truths but approach texts from differing worldviews. Padmasambhava utilised pre-existing Tantric teachings and applied those to the death experience. Paul employed Old Testament, Apocalyptic and Greek sources to argue that Jesus the Messiah gives access to new possibilities that include resurrection. In chapter three a overview and reading of the ‘Liberation by hearing’ is done followed in chapter four by a reading of the major Pauline passages that deal with death. Chapter five bases its conclusions on these two readings. The texts attempt to remedy differing problems. In Padmasambhava life and death are part of the Samsara cycle which is the human dilemma. In Paul, corporeal birth, life and death are stages in a single linear sequence where death results from sin. The death of Sakyamuni is of little relevance to the post-mortem expectation of a Tibetan Buddhist since Padmasambhava taught a shorter path to Nirvana by ritual and assistance. Paul testifies that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is the core of Christian hope. Paul refers to the decease of the faithful Christian as ‘sleep’ expecting that those that ‘sleep’ will awake unto life at the coming of the Lord. The Christian’s death can therefore also be described as a ‘gap’ or ‘bardo’, albeit of a different kind. Whereas ‘bardo’ in Tibetan Buddhism refers to the gap between reincarnations, Christians anticipate Christ’s return which will result in their resurrection. In the ‘Liberation by hearing in the Bardo’ the judge of one’s actions is the ‘Lord of Death’, Yama, appearing in a vision of judgement explained by the text as an illusion of the deceased’s mind. Entry into Nirvana is not due to innocence or positive karma, but due to the transcendence of judgement through recognising the emptiness of dualistic distinctions. I contrast, Paul uses personification of death as a metaphor but never elaborates. In Pauline works Christ is the judge and judgement is real. Justification is based on relationship with God in Christ. In Paul ‘life’ and ‘death’ are diametrically opposite terms that can refer to both corporeal and spiritual states. Death is the human state outside a righteous relationship with God. It is the enemy of humanity and the result of living a life according to sinful human nature. Life is the state of humans who stand in a righteous relationship with God. It is a gift that delivers from death. For the Christian ‘death’: 1) although the common lot of all humans is not an eternal or natural phenomenon 2) is overcome not by escape from physicality or individuality but by the recreation of physicality in the resurrection 3) is overcome in a relationship with the person of Christ that gives access to the life of the Spirit of God (not accessible by meritorious acts or rituals). Paul sees no potential hope in the face of death outside a relationship with the Creator as revealed in the person of Christ and manifested by God’s Spirit. Keywords: Buddhism, Christianity, Death, Life, Resurrection, Reincarnation, Padma Sambhava en
dc.description.sponsorship Dr. M.S. Clark en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Epistles of Paul en
dc.subject Padma Sambhava en
dc.subject death en
dc.title Paul's testimony on death compared to Padmasambhivic texts. en
dc.type Thesis en

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