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Where does the soul go upon death?

Where the soul goes after death is an illogical question.

When a flame is extinguished, where does it go? Does it go to the north, or the south, or the east, or the west, up or down?  The question of whether a soul goes somewhere or another also represents an illogical question: "soul" is a manifestation of several coinciding conditions, it does not possess existence or non-existence but is instead co-dependent upon these conditions.  Just as a flame is only the evidence of combustion in the presence of gas: the combustion releases energy which excites the air to form a new state of matter called "plasma" and release light.  When one of the conditions of identity are removed, identity does not manifest.  Life is one of these conditions, and upon death it is illogical to consider where the soul went.

It is inappropriate to say the soul either exists or does not exist, as these terms cannot apply to anything which is conditioned.  It is also inappropriate to say what happens to something so conditioned.

But while it is useless to consider the conditionality of life to identity, it is more fruitful to consider the condition of identity to distress and suffering: suffering is partially conditioned upon this conditionality.  Suffering and distress ceases upon the termination of identity.  Similarly, it is fruitful to consider the other conditions of identity: it is not necessary to die to bring an end to suffering.

Indeed, it is the purpose of Yoga that suffering and distress is become known: their cause, their nature, their cessation – the path of practice required for the cessation of suffering and distress should be known and practiced.

What is distress and suffering? Distress and suffering is birth, aging, weakening, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, association with what is unbeloved, separation from what is beloved, not getting what is desired. Suffering and distress is clinging, it is attachment itself. Attachment should be ceased if you will overcome pain, grief, mourning, lamentation, bewilderment.

What is this practice of cessation?

Doing what is right without regard to pain or pleasure, desire or aversion – holding right view, maintaining right resolve, practicing right speech, right action right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering and distress, the cessation of karma, the cessation of sensuality. This is the holy life.

Sensuality is experienced by the eye, the nose, the ear, the tongue, the tactile experiences of the body. The experience of sensuality results in passion for sensuality, a desire for beauty both in this world, and the beauty not of this world; an aversion to ugliness in this world, and the ugliness not of this world.

It is wise to subdue the desire for beauty by knowing sensuality – its cause, its nature, its cessation. And practicing the path required for the cessation of sensuality, ceasing the evaluation of some perceptions of feeling as painful, others as pleasurable, others as painful, others as neither painful or pleasurable, others as both painful and pleasurable. Then suffering and distress may be brought to cease.