An ancient nobleman asked a Zen Master, "What happens to the enlightened man at death?"
"Why ask me?" said the Zen master.
"Because you're a Zen master."
"Yes, but not a dead one."
Is death the categorical end? Or is there something after death? Does another life follow here on earth or in another realm? What happens to what some call our souls or our energy? This timeless unknown inspires countless beliefs interwoven among several common themes, such as reincarnation, heaven and hell.
Humankind embraces explanations offered by philosophy, metaphysics and religions. Some of us form personal beliefs consisting of elements from more mainstream explanations. Most religions offer some explanation of what happens after death. In fact, many scholars believe this is a primary role of religion - to help ease our fear of death by suggesting we will survive in some way. In almost all contexts, it is the concept of Afterlife.