Death anxiety among people of peaceful and disturbed areas: A comparative study

Nutankumar. S.Thingujam & Usha Ram
University of Pune

The Bhagavad Gita says that death is not something to be avoided but an event to be understood. According to Buddhist thought, the life process consists of two phases, i.e., the waxing period and the waning period. The period of the former phase extends from birth to death and the latter phase is of death to birth. So, death is only the end of the waxing phase of life-stream, and not of the life-stream itself. Buddha believed that no one could live forever because the life-stream was an integrated phenomenon and every integrated thing had to get disintegrated. This is the reason behind considering death as the accomplishment of the life-stream according to the Buddha. Death was believed as change in the class of being. Death is only the change of status and location so a Buddhist who has realized the nature of the life-stream has no fear of death. In spite of such teachings, many people experience high death anxiety and the present study is an attempt to understand the differences in the level of death anxiety among people of two cities, which have different cultures in terms of life styles, political set-up, and so on. Thakur and Thakur's Death Anxiety Scale was administered to 365 students (177 from Imphal and 188 from Pune). Results indicated that students from Imphal scored higher on death anxiety than those of Pune. Females also scored higher on death anxiety than males in both the cities. The results have been discussed from the cultural points of view and existing literature.

This paper was presented at the
National Conference on
Yoga and Indian Approaches to Psychology

Pondicherry, India, September 29 - October 1, 2002