That which animates the psychophysical body, that is, gives it life is not a biological, anatomical thing???nor can it die. Neither can it be discovered by analysis of the five psychophysical constituents (skandha).
Our limited sensory consciousness (the fifth psychophysical constituent) is by ignorance bound to the psychophysical organism, more precisely, it is bound to the senses including their respective fields and objects. Consciousness, in other words, has no ability to behold the deathless element (amritadhatu) which is its very substance.
Most religions seem to describe an “eternal reward” as an extension of the physical life, where a person can enjoy all sensual delights, guilt free, forever after having racked up enough good deeds on this tiny speck of stardust. As a graduate of the Catholic school system, I’ve had a hard time really buying into the idea of being judged by some invisible man in the sky.
Of course I’m being somewhat facetious but to many people that’s exactly what they think of when they think of what happens after they die. As a student of Buddhism — and make no mistake: I cannot claim to be anything more than a beginner — I’ve come to think that whatever animates this “city of bones, plastered in flesh and blood” is just a part of a larger consciousness that’s impossible to understand due to the obvious limitations of the conditioned and ignorant mind. Buddhism, as I understand it, is the practice of learning to live without ignorance and become unattached to the illusion that the pursuit of a life of sensual enjoyment is a fool’s errand… even if you help a thousand little old ladies cross the street.