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maraṇa [alt. māraṇam] (T. 'chi ba འཆི་བ་; C. si; J. shi; K. sa 死) is translated as "death".

Maraṇa can refer to the end of the life of a sentient being or the ceassation of any mental or physical experience.[1]

Maraṇa is identified in the following contexts:

Within the Four Noble Truths

Within the teachings on the Four Noble Truths, maraṇa is identified as an aspect of dukkha (suffering). For example, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta states:

  1. "Now this, monks, is the noble truth of dukkha: birth (jati) is dukkha, aging (jarā) is dukkha, death (maraṇa) is dukkha; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief, & despair are dukkha; association with the unbeloved is dukkha; separation from the loved is dukkha; not getting what is wanted is dukkha. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are dukkha.[lower-alpha 1]

Ajahn Sucitto states:

Death and dying generally involve a certain amount of pain and degradation, as well as grieving. We imagine that death only happens to older people, but that’s not true—human beings are always surrounded by forces of destruction that can terminate their lives at any moment. Life involves a lot of stressful holding on, even for ducks and squirrels, let alone for human beings who have surrounded themselves with, or invented, fire, electricity, cars, and lots of weapons. These are all created to make our life more secure, yet they are all very common sources of wounding and death. The fear of discomfort or of loss of security fills our life with potentially deadly things.
As the Buddha explained it, death may also refer to the disappearance of any mental or physical experience. When something pleasant ends, we can feel sad, or, if it wasn’t too important, we can remember it and form some kind of view or opinion about it. When it’s something you’ve created, perhaps a painting, for instance, you might feel critical of your work; or, maybe if you have no self-criticisms in the present moment, that feeling of success might set up a pattern of expectation for your next painting, or for someone else’s painting. This can happen with anything that you’ve done; you think back on it and see its flaws. Alternatively, if it was something you enjoyed doing and now it is finished—that also brings an unhappy feeling, a feeling of longing or nostalgia. Death is the ending of the known and the familiar. So when we come to the end of something, we reach out for something new to hold on to. For example, after a meal, we can go for a walk, or maybe have a rest, or there’s conversation in which we can bring back the pleasant past, or plan for a pleasant future, or create and sustain a pleasant present. All of that is the movement toward birth. And birth is the opportunity to go through this whole dukkha one more time. . . .[1]


  1. In this translation by John T. Bullit, Bullit leaves the term "dukkha" untranslated. The main article that presents this translation is The Four Noble Truths.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ajahn Sucitto 2010, s.v. "Birth, aging and death".
  2. Four Noble Truths


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