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A Comparative Study on the Theory of ‘Soul’ In Christianity and the Doctrine Of ‘Gandhabba’ in Buddhism 

Rev. Beligalle Dhammajoti


The whole world speaks of the theory of ‘Soul’. It cannot be separated from the human mind and it is deep-rooted. In religion and philosophy, it is considered to be the immaterial, emotional, and spiritual part of a person. Many religions including Christianity have recognized a sort of incorporeal principle of human being and in all other living things. Buddhism, as an atheistic philosophy, does not speak of ‘Soul’ and it teaches the theory of ‘Soullessness’. Buddhism, in explaining life after death, expounds the doctrine of ‘gandhabba’ which is somewhat an ambiguous and abstruse theory. This paper tries to examine the doctrine of ‘gandhabba’ as expounded in the fundamental discourses of the Buddha and inspect whether it has somewhat a closer idea to the theory of soul in Christianity. The research method used here depends upon the literature survey. First, the Biblical and other secondary sources have been examined and relevant information is obtained, and then major Buddhist sutras related to the concept of ‘gandhabba’ were taken into consideration. Finally, doctrinal aspects of the soul theory in Christianity and gandhabba concept in Buddhist tradition have been comparatively examined.

Keywords: Consciousness, ‘gandhabba’, Soul, Buddhism, Christianity

General Information

ISSN: 2279-3933
Frequency: Quartely
Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Upali Pannilage

Executive Editor: Dr. S Wijeratne

                              Mr. Renuka Priyantha                               Dr. HIGC Kumara

                              Mr. MMRKM Bandara

                              Dr. KH Ramanayaka

                              Mr. IDKL Fernando

Abstracting/ Indexing: Google Scholar, SJOL
E-mail: jsshr@hss.ruh.ac.lk