Life, Death and Beyond exemplar/example/practice essay questions

  • Created by: oopselon
  • Created on: 14-06-13 19:18

I've seen on the Student Room that a lot of people feel they don't get enough guidance for this test. Because the AQA website was being difficult it took me a while to organise these essay in a word document. Hopefully you find them as useful as I did. They're from the Teacher Resource Bank

Grade B, Examine the ideas of one or more religion(s) on the importance of the present life.

Hinduism is a way of life. It has a cyclical pattern following birth, death and rebirth. Whereas

Christianity is considered to be a linear belief which focuses upon a relationship within this life.

Hinduism stresses the importance of this life through your dharma, your duty which allows you

to reach moksha once fulfilled and escape the cycle known as samsara. (moksha is the

liberation of samsara where the atman reaches Brahman). Hindus consider the importance of

this life to fulfil ones dharma this can be done through the four types of yogas jnana the path

of knowledge and understanding, karma where ones rids themselves of selfish deeds and

worth, Raja is the physical and deep mental control followed by Ghandi and Bhakti yoga is

complete devotion to God through meditation.

Another way in which you can fulfil your dharma is through the four Ashrams or stages of life

like student, household, retirement. Each stage requires separate and specific obligations

which are contained in the Upanishads. The caste system is another way in which the

importance of this life is shown in Hinduism. As each caste has specific obligations to meet.

There are four castes excluding the untouchables. For example the Brahmins, the highest

class would be to fill becoming a religious teacher or for the shudras becoming a trades

worker. The caste system has been likened to the body with each caste contributing to

helping each other therefore there is not as such a hierarchy. The Atman is likened to the soul

and is what continues after death. The atman is eternal. The importance of this life is to

ensure that you reap good karma from good actions through completing your dharma. The

atman leaves this body for the next as it says in the bhagavad gita ‘as a man leaves his old

coat for a new coat’. There is also an analogy which illustrates that people have a choice in

how to treat their atman. It is like a farmer who can leave his plot of land to the predetermined

weather. Or he can till, grow and nurture. This is similar to Hinduism and is why this life is so

important as they have the choice to choose good actions to reap good rebirth for their next


Some Hindus believe certain funeral rites in this life will help their next life thus are important

to be carried out in this life for example lighting a candle to guide the atman, cracking the skull

so the atman is not trapped, cremating the body and scattering the ashes


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