'death', in ordinary usage, means the disappearance of the vital faculty confined to a single life-time, and therewith of the psycho-physical life-process conventionally called 'man, animal, personality, ego', etc. Strictly speaking, however, death is the continually repeated dissolution and vanishing of each momentary physical-mental combination, and thus it takes place every moment. About this momentaneity of existence, it is said in Vis.M. VIII:
"In the absolute sense, beings have only a very short moment to live, life lasting as long as a single moment of consciousness lasts. Just as a cart-wheel, whether rolling or whether at a standstill, at all times only rests on a single point of its periphery, even so the life of a living being lasts only for the duration of a single moment of consciousness. As soon as that moment ceases, the being also ceases. For it is said:
In another sense, the coming to an end of the psycho-physical life-process of the Arahat, or perfectly Holy One, at the moment of his passing away may be called the final and ultimate death, as up to that moment the psycho-physical life-process was still going on from life to life.
Death, in the ordinary sense, combined with old age, forms the 12th link in the formula of dependent origination (paticca-samuppāda).
For death as a subject of meditation, s. maranānussati; as a function of consciousness, s. viññāna-kicca.