Why do Buddhists believe 49 days after death?

Why do Buddhists believe 49 days after death?

30 Sec Answer: Buddhists believe that it takes 49 days for the soul to complete its journey from death, through the various realms of existence, and finally arrive at the place of rebirth.


For centuries, Buddhists have believed in the concept of ‘rebirth’; that is, after we die our soul is reborn in another form. This process is believed to take a total of 49 days before the soul reaches its final destination. In this article, we will explore why Buddhists believe in this particular timeline and what happens during those 49 days after death.

What is Rebirth?

Rebirth, or reincarnation as it is sometimes referred to, is an important part of Buddhist teachings and beliefs. It holds that when someone dies their soul does not simply pass away but instead continues on a journey through various planes or realms of existence until it eventually arrives at its destination; whereupon it takes up residence in a new body and begins a new life.

Why Do Buddhists Believe in 49 Days After Death?

The number forty-nine has special significance in Buddhism because it marks the completion of the cycle of rebirth. According to Buddhist teachings, the time between death and rebirth can vary depending on one’s karma (i.e., accumulated good and bad deeds), but typically takes 49 days. During this period, the soul passes through various stages of purification and transformation until it eventually arrives at its next life.

What Happens During Those 49 Days?

During those 49 days, Buddhists believe that the soul undergoes several changes as it makes its way towards its new home. The first seven days are said to be spent journeying through various realms or planes of existence such as Heavens or Hells according to one’s karma (good or bad). After these seven days, the soul then enters into a state of rest and contemplation known as "Parinirvana" for 42 days before ultimately arriving at its destination and taking up residence in a new body.

How Does Karma Affect the Journey?

Karma plays an important role in determining how long the journey takes and where exactly the soul goes during those 49 days. Good karma results in a shorter journey with stops along more pleasant places like heavens while bad karma results in longer trips with pitstops at less desirable locations like hells.

How Does Buddhism Describe Life After Death?

In Buddhism, life after death is seen as an opportunity for spiritual growth rather than something to fear. It is thought that once we pass away our souls go on a journey which allows us to reflect on our past lives and gain insights into how our actions have affected ourselves and others around us – providing us with invaluable wisdom for future incarnations. Thus, life after death should not be seen as an ending but rather as a chance for renewal and enlightenment.

What Are The Realms Of Existence?

The realms of existence are divided into six categories; Devas (Gods), Asuras (Demons), Human Beings, Animals, Hungry Ghosts and Narakas (Hell beings). Depending on one’s karma accumulated over many lifetimes they may find themselves spending time visiting different levels within each realm before finally reaching their final destination; though most people usually remain close to human experience due to familiarity with their karmic patterning from previous lives.

Is There Evidence To Support These Beliefs?

Although there isn’t any empirical evidence to support these beliefs, there are some anecdotes from those who have had near-death experiences which may provide insight into what happens during those 49 days after death. Accounts range from visions of bright lights to being reunited with loved ones who have passed on before them – suggesting that whatever happens during that period remains unknown even to science.

How Can We Prepare For Our Own Journey?

Whilst no one knows exactly what awaits them beyond death, we can all prepare ourselves by living a life filled with compassion and kindness towards others – thus ensuring that our souls make it safely through those realms of existence with ease. Additionally, by reflecting upon our own mortality we can gain perspective into our current lives so that we can live more fully and meaningfully before our time comes to depart this world once again.


At its core, Buddhism teaches us that life is an ongoing cycle – one which can only be understood if we look at things holistically rather than separating death from life itself. Through understanding the concept of rebirth we can come to appreciate that our actions here today do indeed shape our fate tomorrow; making sure that we strive for betterment in every aspect of our lives so that when it comes time for us to make that ultimate transition – we’ll be ready for whatever comes next!

Samantha Greenfield

Samantha Greenfield was born and raised in a small town in the rural countryside of Washington state. From a young age, she was drawn to the natural world and spent much of her time exploring the forests and fields around her home. As she grew older, she became increasingly interested in the intersection of nature, spirituality, and personal growth, and began to study Buddhism and mindfulness in depth. After completing her undergraduate degree in Environmental Science, Samantha decided to pursue a career in nature conservation and spent several years working with various non-profit organizations and government agencies on conservation projects around the world. Along the way, she discovered a passion for writing and began to document her adventures and insights in a series of personal blogs and articles. In recent years, Samantha has turned her focus to sharing her knowledge and experiences with a wider audience and has become a popular speaker and workshop leader on topics related to Buddhism, mindfulness, and personal growth. She is currently working on a book about the intersection of nature, spirituality, and mindfulness, and continues to be an active advocate for environmental conservation and sustainability.

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