and then what? Every religion seems to have it's own spin on the afterlife. Speaking solely from the doctrines and teachings of your particular flavor of faith, what is going to happen to you (or someone from your denomination) when you die?
I'll give my answer after a few others have given theirs.
I consider myself sort of a Thomasine Gnostic (though I wouldn't necessarily consider myself a part of the Thomasine Church), but my spirituality is becoming more complex than that as I get older as I ascribe more and more of my beliefs to the Law of Attraction.
Neither philosophy addresses death directly, though most Gnostics agree that Jesus resides in Heaven with God. Thomasine Gnosticism focuses on the knowing (gnosis) of God through the knowing of oneself, or at least that's how I think of it. Gnosis is not to be confused with wisdom or understanding, as it is more of a combination of the two. It's like conocer (which would be gnosis) in Spanish versus saber.
This gnosis leads to Illumination, which can be seen as complete bliss, Heaven, or a number of other things. But without Illumination, I don't believe that we go to hell.
So I guess we die, and because Jesus said that God loves us we join him in Heaven. Sorry for making that so unnecessarily complicated.
If you're speaking of "the" Thomasine Church, we tend to leave the idea of a 'god' (other than as an unconscious force or potential) out of the equation. Thomasine philosophy is focused on self-knowledge rather than knowledge of a god through knowledge of yourself. It comes from within you and isn't conferred by any external source.
We would say hell is what you experience without Illumination rather than a place to go after death.
That's a tough one, you know...
I have to admit I don't have a strong belief on that just yet. I'm more or less sure something does not disappear, but I have now idea just how - ummm - personally identifiable that surviving part is...
My working assumption reminds me of a computer game - like doom for example, or mario, or prince, etc. Like I'm just a temporary character that someone I can't even think about assumes for the time of the game called life on Earth... Game over, and that unthinkable of somebody just moves on, having some memories of the game for some time...
I agree with Misha on this except that we can always restart the game, or change character and even cheat: fly, walk through walls...
LOL Kenny, I did not say you can't cheat - the trick is to learn how to do this
And game restart is called suicide, and frowned upon in all (or almost all) religions... Looks like we are supposed to play our games to the very end
Another analogy I tend to muse over is of the ocean and a drop. Like when the ocean hits the rocky shore, drops separate from the body of water and for some time have the life of their own - but one way or another inevitably return to the main body of water... They have personal characters while they are separated, but not before and after... but they don't disappear, you know... they blend into...
Misha, that is absolutely beautiful! I didn't know you were a poet. You've pretty much summed up how I instinctively feel about this question. Thanks for putting it into words!
Thanks, Marisa :blush:
I don't think I deserve the credit, though. I think I read this analogy somewhere long ago - should be one of the Buddhist/Hinduist or even Pagan books, cause Christianity/Islam/Judaism seem to use different set of analogies for our after life...
Brother, i didn't say suicide. I meant my soul who is up there somewhere, decides to make me drop out of this earthly school and try again fresh. That's what I meant with restart.
You may save the school analogy, too, for your concepts. I think my soul has taken this uniform of a body to attend school here. I have to come back again and again till I graduate.
That's Hindu philosophy.
THE LIFE IN THE GRAVE: BARZAKH
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said that when the corpse is put in the bier and the people carry the dead body to the graveyard, if the deceased is a pious person, he/she requests them to carry him/her as fast as they can and if the deceased is a wrong-doer, he/she curses the wretchedness in store for him/her and asks where he/she is being led to.
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) is also reported to have said that except human beings everything else hears the cries of the dead body. If a person were to hear the cries of the dead body, they would faint. The interval between death and the Day of Resurrection is called Barzakh.
At the risk of posting an unpopular reply, I believe that death is the end of life. Of course I'm familiar with lots of different beliefs, from bodily or spiritual resurrection through to reincarnation, and lots of variations on all of these. However, I just don't share any of them. I think we simply cease to be. Of course our bodies are eventually subsumed into the soil and/or the atmosphere, and individual atoms & molecules will be recycled in plants, but that's just nature, not resurrection. (By the way, I'm perfectly happy with this non-belief).
That is an interesting response because you called it an unpopular response, because I have a lot of strong beliefs in God and such and when I think of Heaven, it is much like you assume, accept I call it life, or the state of ever bearing fruites or giving birth, so after death our bodies become energy, however I feel something different about the soul and the spirit, that I can't explain except to say, that some form of life in this form lives on, I call it the spirit of consciousness or God, and in the way of religions like the Buddha, the perfect awarness is the true holy state, the perfect light, the undevided-ness between us or me and what we actually are, ie: energy. It's the simple understanding that while I may not have even a dime on Earth, what I will become is something awsome and it helped me get over my fear of death and attachment to the things I would leave behind because I know in whatever way it turns out to be, whether in a cloud hanging out with God, or a molocule of light, or fire that consumes the dead and bears life, I will never really be dead, instead I will be more alive then ever.
I have trouble dealing with the concept of Heaven or Paradise - if it really existed, surely we'd have some proof of it by now, considering the size of the population! The most likely reality, IMO, is either what Paraglider says, or reincarnation.
If we had proof of this paradise, what would be the use of free will...we would HAVE to stick with a definite religion to achieve it. That is the test.
I believe my body will die, but my soul will ascend and be judged by God. I will have my acceptance of Jesus's sacrifice as my redemption, and would love to go meet my great grandparents after that.
I am a Christian and have faith in going to Heaven when I die. However, gamergirl is right. All different religions have their own ideas, so do different things happen to people of different faiths, or do we all go to one place? We'll only know when we die.
Look at the humorous side of it - wherever we end up, we're gonna be talking about this.
Person 1: "Hey, remember that thread we had on HubPages..?"
Person 2: "Yeah."
I don't think our journeys are over when we die, but I am not quite sure what I believe. Richard Bach's book, One, captures what I would like to believe...it's a bit like Misha's droplet of water returning to the ocean.
I read all what he wrote, too
When I think more about original question of this thread, I realize it cannot be satisfactory answered. Granted, we can tell how this and that religion describes what happens after, but there is a built-in flaw in this - our language. All what is there is beyond this world, and probably differs dramatically - but our language is designed to describe *only* this world.
It is like trying to explain what the ocean is to the person who lived in the mountains in the middle of a continent all his life. And his tribe lived there for the whole duration of its history... They just don't have words for that...
Or I just recalled one old Russian joke about a small remote northern tribe guy, who happened to visit a big city and tried an orange there. For the first time in his life and in the life of his tribe. He comes back to his tribe and tries to explain the taste. After several attempts he gives up and says - it's like an intercourse!
Religions face exactly this same problem in describing what happens after the death. Every one of our religions is using its own analogy to try to convey the same message - hence the difference in religions... Simple, yeah? But I think this is how things are...
Okay, here it goes... LOL
I have a firm belief, that after we die, our spirits will return to the spirit world, and await the resurrection at the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Members of the Lds Church, believe that families are an eternal part, of a loving Heavenly 'Father's' Plan....
Which brings up something that I am pretty certain, will never be a thread on this forum. LOL But, we believe that we existed as spirit children of our Heavenly Parents before we were born here and given a physical body.
Our time here, is to learn between good and evil, and learn to choose the good. We also believe that a veil has been placed over our memory, so that we can be tested... not remembering our former life, which causes us to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and His power to bring us back into the Presence of God the Father, through His atoning sacrifice on our behalf.
We believe, that before we came here and in the presence of God, we were completely innocent. It is our experience here, in this world, and which causes us to be sinful through the process of learning. Obviously, no one will ever be perfect in this sphere or state of existence.
We believe we came here to gain a body. We believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, both are separate and distinct personages with bodies of flesh and bone; and are resurrected and exalted. The Holy Ghost, the third member of the godhead is a personage of spirit.
On earth, we believe that marriage is eternal, and that our relationships with our spouses with continue into the next life, if we are worthy for this blessing. Marriages are 'sealed' in the Temples that we build all over the world... and our children too, are sealed to the parents.
We believe, that like any loving parent, Our Father in Heaven desires that His children, have all that He has... and we believe that this is the plan that he has prepared, so that He may bring this about for all of His Children.
We do not believe in hell, but so believe that those who do not repent while here upon the earth... that KNOW about Jesus Christ, etc... will need to suffer the consequences for their sins, until they recognize their need for Jesus Christ.
We absolutely do NOT believe that Mormons are the only ones going to heaven. We believe in three heavens... telestial, terrestial and Celestial; and within those Kingdoms, at least three levels within. We believe in law, and according to whatever law is applicable to a particular blessing.
And that... is in a nutshell, MAJOR:-)
The Bible says that after you die, then there is the judgement. You have to stand before God your Creator and give account for the life you have lived here on this earth.
Jesus Christ paid the price for your sin and if you accept Him you will live in Heaven for eternity.
You will only go to hell if you refuse to turn from your wicked ways and accept Jesus as your personal Saviour.
Religion is not the answer, most of them are a bunch of rituals and traditions, but there is only one way to get to heaven and that is receiving Jesus.
My father and grandfather ,ministers prayed with the dying very often.
Several accounts they walked in the room of dying men who rejected God and they cursed them and God. Then some of them right before they took their last breath started screaming " my feet are burning, somebody get me out of the flames."
On the other account we have seen dying people that have made their peace with God talk of hearing angels sing or say " look it's Jesus, he coming for me."
This is very unpopular I know and I may be hated for this, but I love everyone of you and care about where you spend eternity.
Should you continue to believe their is no eternity, what if your wrong?
I would like to share a story my father told me.
His close friend's father died of a disease when she was still young. At one point, they thought they had lost him when his heart stopped for almost a minute, but he came back. He said goodbye to his wife and daughters, and then he passed. He had been an extremely bigoted but otherwise good man; he was a product of his time.
When he said goodbye to his daughters, he told them this story (as told to me by my father who heard it from his friend, so very paraphrased).
When his heart stopped, he found himself in a long, white hallway. Men and women and children were happy and were walking towards one end of the hallway, which was very warm and bright. They mixed freely and walked casually, peacefully. They were Indian and Californian, Argentinian and British, and they were Hindu and Christian and Muslim and Jewish, and they were everything in between, and they were together.
He said that he fought his way back because he needed to tell his daughters that he was wrong. That life was not about other people and was not about differences. That life was about love and, essentially, doing good.
Scientists are studying near-death experiences to see if they are a function of the brain or an glimpse of the afterlife. Either way, I cannot argue with that man's experience of transit to heaven, and I certainly cannot argue with his message.
Also, I believe in Eternity more than I believe in pretty much anything else. And this is why I believe in God.
After my years of study in many religions and philosophies, here is my belief (at this point in time).
The original Soul (our Spirit One with God) is eternal, but can get lost on its path of seeking its return to Oneness with Love/God. It chose by free will/or was manipulated by another, at some point in time, to step outside of the wholeness with God, its Divine Plan. The soul moves from life time to life time seeking for this wholeness, evolving and maturing.
The physical body is a vehicle for the soul to experience life in the earth planes to learn the lessons that lead back to wholeness. Learning to treat one's body as a temple to maintain health is one of the lessons to learn. In these lifetimes the soul acquires "veils" that keep previous lifetimes from conscious awareness. But at some point on the path, these veils thin and the soul can become more aware of the steps that are still needed to be taken on the path to return to wholeness of Love.
The ascension (the ultimate heaven) is the goal of the soul, of attaining Oneness with God, when there will not be a need to come into another physical body. If the ascension is not attained, after death, the life is assessed and plans are made for the next one.
Hell is a state of consciousness. It can be lived in a physical body or experienced in between physical lives in various ways. Souls that haven't made a free will choice to pursue the path back to Oneness can easily be lost in a level of "hell". This doesn't necessarily mean it has to choose a path in a religion; paths vary, and are unique because the needs (for meeting the goal of Oneness)of each soul are unique.
Attaining the state of Christhood is a requirement for each soul to reach their ascension. This Christhood is what Jesus attained ultimately, but there are many degrees/steps, leading up to the ultimate Christhood Jesus attained, that the soul can attain. There are many saints, sages, elders, etc of religions, philosophies, individual paths,etc... since the beginning of time that have attained certain levels of Christhood, that can be examples for people to follow...but if you want to attain the ascension, Jesus gave the ultimate path to follow. The mysteries of His teachings are yet to be completely understood and interpreted.
What is the Fan Game?
I was just being silly about becoming each other's fan here on HubPages. That is one of the things Hubbers can do for each other, to support each other in our writing and getting involved to share. I am not sure if there is money involved in the fan thing or not, I am still learning about HubPages, too.
I like your school analogy, brother, and tend to think along those lines, too... That our Lord learns himself playing with us... This gives the purpose to one's life - a real purpose
Or may be sister and brother... :puzzled:
Where is Charlotte? She promised to post her own views, too...
Here I am!
Sorry about my quiet lately, work has been, well, work.
First I'd like to ask that, when giving your views on this section of the forum, please refrain from making generalizations based out of your religious teachings. Thanks.
Now, back on topic: Where is Gamergirl going when she dies?
Straight in the dirt, folks. I believe that any real hypothesis we have regarding the afterlife is just that, a hypothesis. I am not dead, therefore I have no conclusive information regarding what happens after death.
It is nice to think, though, that the spark of my soul, my spiritual being, whatever you would call it, will return to some primordial ooze to be recycled, even if in part, in a new life.
Actually, more like a guess (or wishful thinking).
A hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable, and the existence of an afterlife is currently neither.
Agree on the whole humanity level. Some people do have the personal experience that proves such a hypothesis to them personally, though...
When someone says that, I recognise a fellow fan of Karl Popper. Am I right?
Pretty much, I'm with paraglider. I think this is it. I'm a zen atheist myself so have many options. It is impossible to destroy anything, so I guess I am coming back in some shape or form, but ...
Nice description Misha. It reminded me of Plato's cave in The Republic
Thanks Mark I had to look it up, though - I'm not that fluent in Greek philosophers' teachings Guess this is one more area to explore for me - before I die
And, yeah, Charlotte,
Looks like most of us are pretty much on the same page. I don't think anybody is seriously expecting his body not to hit the dirt Too much evidence suggesting otherwise
Never was interested in money - time has always been my thing. Now
due to circumstances beyond my control I have become a capitalist,
at least optimisticly speaking. But having fun and learning a lot and
opens all sorts of new context for what I can put on line. So of
course I owe you a fanship. Lets do the fandango.
This is the religion forum, for talking about religion and spirituality, etc. So you need to visit someone's HubPage (mine!!?? for instance) and read the Hub. If you like it or want to comment on it you can do that. And when ever it strikes your fancy to become someone's fan, you click on "become a fan..." of this person, its under their name and Hub picture on the right of their HubPage.
Try it, you'll like it!
P.S. If you want to chat about something other than the forum you are in, i.e. religion, for instance, you need to find a forum that fits better for what you want to chat about; or I've seen others discuss things in the comments section of Hubs.
Did you need these instructions? Excuse me if you did not! (I want to find the happy faces people are using!?)
Your instructions are exactly perfect. I am an idiot savant as a concept.
This not having your own semi-private avenue of communication is
strange. Always famous. Have to write to the one and all. Not for
the meek and introverted. But seems like there might be something
to play with here, but not sure what it is just yet. Had a hard time figuring out how to reach you, and this seemed to be were you were.
Had almost posted something on the religion forum, after contacting
you, but figured it was just too far out of the pale. And it seems
religion or spirituality is your thing, so there arises the question.
How to, in this very public forum discuss a take on things that others
may not be able to relate whatsoever. And therein lies the reason for
the village idiot. Anyway I thank you so much for stimulating this communication. You be the stimulator. And now must go and cook.
LOL can't you move this to private email exchange guys? It seems to be more convenient this way
I have a sin of dancing on the remnants of dead threads myself, but this one seemed to be pretty alive just before you stepped in
LOL is right. Heavy stuff that goes over my little head!
That's a good idea Misha.
Have you had a chance to look at the Republic yet?
But it could go on to a better place and live with all the other dead threads.
Great, atleast we know there is life after death for threads!
But a hypothesis is for man's material, factual world of science. We are not talking about that. It is experiences that speak...spiritually speaking ! sometimes only to the individual that is doing the experiencing. I would love to share my experiences...but words just don't/can't do it. Though there are some parallels to date between science and the spiritual. Take the electromagnetic field of a living thing...the aura. It may still be a stretch for some.
I'm an agnostic so I think that we don't know what happens after death and there is no real way to know because no one that is truly dead has returned to tell us.
I don't believe that we have to know or that we must believe something. Believing in something that you have no proof for is wishful, magical thinking.
There are a lot of mysteries about existence that we don't have answers for. I'm comfortable with that.
What happens after you die?.....
Well, someone like me comes to get your body. That's the begining of the physical explaination. For the spiritual explaination, it's not like you see in the movies or anything like that.
I am a mortician speaking from my own personal "near-death" experience. There is no judgement (the Bible is wrong there), no trial, no fear, no apprehension.... just love and acceptance. I don't know what lies beyond that in the afterlife because I was (personally) given a choice to stay alive or die. Luckily, my coma gave me 7 days to make that important choice. Other folks aren't so lucky.
In my job, I see many rituals from many religions. Almost everyone seems to believe in a life after life.... or at least the possibility of one. Better to be safe than sorry!
Why say that Emma?
(Excellent pun that, if Emma is your real name.)
Ha, ha..... no "Emma Balmer" is not my real name, but I do use it as an alias in shooting competitions. I think that most people that walk through the door requesting my services are not actively religious. In fact, I think that many of them don't really know if there's an afterlife or not. I never tell them about my personal experience or try to force my beliefs on them. That's not my job. I think that most of my clients would rather be safe than sorry. With that frame of mind, they often choose to recite Biblical scriptures or even find a minister they don't even know to officiate for the funeral service. Even if they aren't religious, they still recite the verses because they think it's better to be safe than sorry. Thanks for the comment
Thread, as a tailor my expertese.
I believe, Our inner being, soul, or what ever you want to call it, has a role here in this life. A list if you like, that needs to be accomplished. We need to experience and solve the meaning of life. We come back in different shapes etc. until we have proven what our 'inner' really is...Good or bad...once all is accomplished, puff afterlife in the deserved or earned place.
I agree, with all that Zsuzsy, except with the 'needs' and 'have.' I feel that we have free choice in this matter, and our God is not a vindictive God. Even if I were an atheist, He would take care of me here and now, there and later.
There are many people these days believing/wanting to integrate spirit and science. The aura has been photographed in Kirealian photography. But I haven't read any updated news for several years. Has anyone else?
Sorry, back on subject...there is no aura at some point after death. I believe once the soul has moved on into another plane of existence that physical, mater, body is not animated with the "essence" prana, spark of life, so there is no aura.
Emma, I'm glad you chimed in Your experience makes this discussion much more - umm - comprehensive.
Welcome to HubPages, by the way
I'm not sure we have that much free choice. Yes we can chose to live by the rules set by who?
But what choice does that born blind or limbless babe have? I have this theory that in a prior existence the 'inner' of the babe was guilty of whatever and therefore now it will have to function to its best ability with a "handycap" As you said Kenny Our God is not vindictive.
Darn company at the door I got-a-go
Zsuzsy, I would rather think of those cases as of advanced students who get more difficult assignments than their less advanced peers...
Yes, Misha, right. You know much compassion and love those children evoke in almost everybody. I think they have come here
1. To spread some love, and make people feel teh capacity to love, and
2. Like you said, learn something advanced through giving themselves a handicap.
You know, I play comp games without cheating and my little fellow asks me why, as cheating is easier.
Thanks you all!
These have been very insightful comments thus far. Emma related her opportunity, she was given in a near death experience.
Emma - I know what you say is true.
It is interesting, that on the subject of life after death, that even when there are 'actual' individuals who tell of their own experience, such as Emma, that still... it is not literally taken, but most pass off as some crazy brain activity that has caused this to occur.
Thing is, these individuals are most always, changed for life, in very dramatic ways. Has this been your experience Emma?
How has that reality changed your life, or are you wondering about the brain thing?
Was it real or dreamed?
Emma has a hub about this http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-Do-You-Want … -Mortician
Thank you Misha. I really enjoyed her article. I hope she decides to share more with us. Or at least, down here in the basement.
Thanks guys! Just to let you know, I am writing about my experience in more detail, but it will take awhile to compile all of those thoughts and emotions. It gets pretty overwhelming when I try to put it all into words. Slow but sure, I am getting it out. It's difficult to type through watery eyes, but it would be selfish of me just to keep it to myself when so many people are wondering whether or not there really is a life after life. Like LdsNanna has mentioned, not everyone will take me seriously, but whether they take me seriously or not does NOT change that fact that it happened to me. I'm just going to keep everything as accurate and honest as possible.
Oh, by the way, the spiritual thing goes much farther than just my comatose experience. I believe I have been given some sort of gift. It's like a door in my brain has opened or something. More on that later.... I don't want to overwhelm anyone and make everyone think I'm nuts It's all still confusing and "new" to me.
I've always felt that life was a school, but I didn't know that was a Hindu concept! Can you recommend any good overviews on Hindu philosophy written in English?
My sense of it is that when we die, nothing changes at all, except the limits on our perceptions. Our perceptions are limited (and I believe that's by choice) while we are having an incarnate experience.
One limit on our perceptions is the experience of linear time. Eternity isn't what we normally envision - one moment after another without end - so much as it is every moment for all time happening at once.
When we are perceiving from an incarnate position, we experience all incarnations at once, as well as non-carnation (if there is such a word). It's kinda intense ...
I believe that becoming incarnate is analogous to focusing closely on one small corner of an intricate work of art, for the purpose of experiencing it fully.
What I believe may, of course, not be actually True (if there is such a thing as absolute Truth - now there's a thread on its own). However, believing this leads me to actions and relationships which enrich my current life, so I choose to keep believing it.
I am always open to "better" beliefs, as measured by their impact on my quality of life.
I think I am probably best described as an "agnostic", since I am not convinced there is any objective reality, or even that "I" actually "exist", in the way we commonly use those terms.
I act as though reality is real, though, and I exist. I'm humoring everyone else until I figure out what's going on.
Oops, sorry, that is a derivation of one of the Hindu concepts. I used the word 'school' to mean spiritual education. The soul has to incarnate gain and again till it's evolved enough to embrace Godhead. Apologies.
Yes that sacred texts link is a good one.
Not sure about jumping in here. But here is a list.
Thanks for that link - that's a really comprehensive and intelligent site!
I can foresee hours of reading there. I've only read bits and pieces of the Vedas before.
No where does it say we have to die to visit the spiritual realms.
Being in Eckankar we practice expanding our conscienceness every
We practice exercises that help us understand spirit for our selfs.
Rather than relying on a dogmatic doctrine we rely on our own experience.
This allows for the soul to mature and drop many of the preconceived notions
we have been taught.
Eckankar does not criticize or condemn you for what you think, We realize that all souls are at a certain level of understanding of the universe.
We dont believe in sin or being born with sin, we dont worship dead guys in hopes that they will return and save us.
We try to take responsibility for our own spiritual growth.
The question being where do you go when you die.
For me the same place I have been going almost daily for years now.
The spiritual worlds are vast and limitless, you can go where you please if you practice and know how to travel ;-)
Hey, Rik, why don't you put in some more details?
I think quite a few people here more or less share your vision, but I never heard the word "Eckankar" before start of Hubpages Religion forum... Guess I should try to research it...
Well is it great to be able to create for yourself, whatever it is you want or can imagine?
Good morning/afternoon to you All,
On my path of seeking through the years, I have discovered many spiritual skills the soul can utilize, for one's self and for others, for to me that is the purpose of life, as well as to understand becoming One with Atman/God.
I have utilized some of the "tools" offered by The Summit Lighthouse. You can check it out for yourself at www.summitlighthouse.org. This is a good website that offers some basics in using the spiritual tool of decrees (which is a type of mantra/prayer). I have seen profound changes in my consciousness that have been helpful for creating a better life.
What I have liked the best is that you can take any aspect of these teachings and try it for yourself without anyone telling you what to do...to truly experience your own interaction with the Divine energies of the Universe, but not get lost in ego centeredness of how "cool it is". I believe in purpose. I have found it to truly be a mystical path; just me and God. No dogma traps or put-down "trips". Yes there is an understanding of karma, good and not so good, but not the "you are a worthless sinner" consciousness that I experienced growing up in Christianity. You focus on your dharma, your life's purpose.
I believe that where we go after we die can be just as important as what we do while we are alive, and one plane of existence does promote the other toward the highest aspects of understanding and acquiring our highest level of consciousness for becoming One with Atman/God.
Atman is a Hindu term..to me it is that heart centeredness of highest consciousness.
I know I am always singing your praises. For many reasons, but I read a post one time that you wrote that said you try not to dwell on the negative.
So I try to be more like you because I am normally ranting ;-)
Here is the Eckankar website
Its been a great path for my family to work with spirit.
LOL Time to time I'm still ranting, too But yeah, overall I try to be positive and just let go negative things
Thanks for the url, I'll give it some serious attention
I like this thread so much I'm coming out of lurking mode to add to it. I don't know exactly what happens after death--but I have a gut feeling that some part of us goes on after physical death. I'm fuzzy on the details and find accounts of NDE's like Emma's very interesting.
Could it be that in our physical bodies our perception is just too limited to be able to understand other realities? Sort of like when you leave your house in the morning, your dog knows you are gone and is aware when you get back, but just isn't equipped to understand where you were after you closed the front door and what you did while you were gone.
Bottom line for me--something happens after death--dunno what--will find out when I get there and if I don't like it, will have a martini:)
Perusing all these worthy (and at times rather sanctimonious) posts, I can't help recalling what Woody Allen said:
"I do not believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear."
LOL -They will see my bits. I have a feeling I will be worrying about the bus more than that though
and no dirty underwear to worry about either:)
Well, I am a Buddhist so letting go of attachment to material possessions is a good thing. Your non-attachment to underwear makes you highly advanced Mark. Lol
As for what happens when you die....well, we usually focus more on what you do when you're alive....even though there are lengthy discourses on death and the wheel of life.
We believe in rebirth not reincarnation. There is no soul which transits from life to life, however everything comes from something. General law of the universe according to physics so a sentient being is reborn after death into one of the many levels of existence. They are not the same being nor are they an entirely new being. (Did I mention Buddhist philosophy gets complicated and difficult for someone like me to explain?)
Karma is what drives the universe and as such we have a great measure of control over our present and future existences. However, as a Buddhist I strive for Nirvana, which is not existence or non-existence but something completely outside of life as we know it.
Now to complicate matters even further, even though I strive for enlightenment and Nirvana, I have also taken my Bodhisattva vows which means I will continually be reborn again and again until every sentient being in the universe achieves enlightenment. (That's what the Dalai Lama is all about.) This is because I do not wish to achieve enlightenment unless everyone else gets to as well. I also strive to help others with this.
Note: You do not have to be a Buddhist to achieve enlightenment it is a purely personal quest.
So death holds no fear as it is simply a transitory state. It is the same with Heaven, Hell, Animals, Humans, Gods etc.....they are all transitory states of being in the wheel of existence. Some last longer according to linear time concepts but time as we know it really is a human invention.
And for Misha: A long time back in this thread you couldn't remember where you had read the drop in the ocean philosophy. I have seen that analogy used in Vedanta and I believe that is where it comes from.
The Buddhist philosophy of rebirth and karma sounds very attractive and "enlightened" - but is there really any more evidence for this than for any other religious "afterlife" doctrine?
It appears to be based just as much on faith and superstition and wish-thinking as anything else we've read on this topic.
I will try to answer your question here Thom.
As I said before we Buddhists aren't really focused on the "afterlife". The Wheel of Life is discussed merely to show that everything is impermanent. Life leads to death, death leads to life. This meditation on impermanence allows us to actually focus on the present moment, which is the most important.
We meditate on death to free us from the attachments of daily life. The less attachments we have the more loving kindness and genuine compassion we can cultivate towards others. And we don't try to be good people to achieve some kind of heaven. Being good because you're afraid of going to hell is not truly altruistic. Say you have two people who give money to a charity. One does so because they want the benefits of a good deed: a good name in the community, the fast track to 'heaven' etc. Then the second person gives to charity because they truly feel compassion for those who have less than them and want to help make others lives easier. The first persons' intention came from selfish motivation. The second persons' intention was truly altruistic. Even though the end result was the same, the karma generated (which determines what happens to you in your life and future lives) is very different. In Buddhism it's all about your intention.
Being completely selfless and thinking of others first is not something human beings are usually good at which is why as Buddhists we meditate on death and dying to remove our personal egos.
As for 'evidence' of our philosophy towards rebirth and karma. Well, the law of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. If this theory holds true then everything we do in every minute of the day has far reaching and sometimes unseen consequences. This is karma (a very simplistic explanation!) You can produce negative, positive or neutral karma and it is this that propels you through this life and creates your rebirth.
The other 'evidence' for rebirth does require some faith. People in the world do remember their past lives. The present Dalai Lama is the fourteenth rebirth of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokiteshvara. Before a Dalai Lama dies they go into deep meditation and pronounce what signs will be around when they are reborn and in which geographical region among other information. When a child is suspected to be the rebirth of the Dalai Lama they are taken to a room with all manner of Holy possessions (such as prayer beads) and are asked to pick out which objects they like the most. If they are the next Dalai Lama they always choose all the objects which previously belonged to them. Sounds too mystical for some but that's what happens. The child remembers their particular objects from the past life.
There are documented cases of children who have begun to speak a foreign language fluently that they were never taught. There are also the music prodigy's who can play Beethoven at age four but were never taught. To a Buddhist the reason people can do this is because they are remembering things they were taught in past lives. The karma surrounding those things was so strong that it carried over into the next life.
Of course, as I said, this still takes faith to believe.
Hope this explanation helps somewhat.
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