How to get to the afterlife

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by Woog, Jun 3, 2004.


Assuming there is an afterlife, what does it take to get there?

  1. Is it just a natural thing and everybody goes?

    0 vote(s)
  2. Does it require some visualization? (You have to believe you can go and visualize the process).

    11 vote(s)
  3. Is your entry governed by your actions here? (You have to build up good karma)

    0 vote(s)
  4. This is all an illusion? (No afterlife, you are dreaming this in another life)

    5 vote(s)
  5. No way to get there (No afterlife)

    1 vote(s)
  1. Woog

    Woog Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    If there is an afterlife it would good to know how to get there.
    I find it hard to believe that belonging to a religion is the trick,
    it has to be a more natural process. To what extent do we need
    to prepare ourselves? Or is there notheing we can do?
  2. sassure

    sassure Member

    An afterlife for everybody? If you consider being topsoil in the South Forty a type of afterlife, then I guess so. Or if you consider being recycled into another living being a type of afterlife, then I guess so.

    The true afterlife requires Transcendence, Enlightenment, Nirvana; sadly, very few will attain that. Just look at today's headlines. DH Lawrence said that humans are savages, flies, and don't deserve anything at all from God except the privilege of becoming fertilizer.....

    Organized religions offer a way, but few follow The Way with any sincerity. Isaiah was right...Jeremiah was right. The Book of Ecclesiastes said it all.....and in 2004 we are still the same vainglorious, aggressive savages. Something had better change, and soon.....
  3. the dauer

    the dauer Member

    I think it's best to devote our lives to making the world a better place and not worry about what happens after death, just trust that whatever happens will happen in its own time.
  4. Sebbi

    Sebbi Senior Member

    I believe in Nirvana, but I believe that every being will eventually get there, we can take as much time as we need (rebecoming). Spiritual practice is merely a booster to get there.


  5. sassure

    sassure Member

    Quite right, Sebbi. What we see as short-term failure may be little more than a blip on the long-term radar. And even if the evolution of the human race stagnates, individuals will continue to evolve spiritually, sparks of light in a great wash of darkness......
  6. Sage-Phoenix

    Sage-Phoenix Imagine

    My initial thought was 'errr you die.'

    That's what I was thinking. :)

    I came across a Zen koan/story which basically says; A zen master was asked what happens after death and he replied 'I don't know, I'm not dead yet.'

    I like that philosophy.

  7. Samhain

    Samhain Lifetime Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    I find it difficult to vote on the poll cause I would say after life is all those things yet none of them.

  8. sky_pink

    sky_pink er... what's the time?

    What if it's an unpleasant afterlife?
  9. Dizzy Man

    Dizzy Man Member

    I see loads of evidence to believe in God.

    I see no evidence to believe in an afterlife.
  10. Woog

    Woog Hip Forums Supporter HipForums Supporter

    Rebecoming is cool. Do you think there is a lucid period between rebecomings?
    A time when we know the score. Then, if this is any example, followed by a
    blind plunge into something else.
    Bottom line, the you that each of us knows now will never be again. So it
    makes ultimate sense to live for today. We are all very lucky to have this
    opporitunity. We should live it as well as we can.
  11. mahasattva

    mahasattva Member

    To learn about death is to learn how to live. Once in a philosophy exam, the French philosopher Alain postulated the following situation, 'A young woman is about to jump off the parapet of the Boieldieu Bridge', and directed his students to explain what they would say to keep her from jumping. If you were to come upon someone seriously debating whether to live or die, what would you say to the person? Therein lies true philosophy. It might seem this question pertains to an extreme and special situation, but in fact that is not the case. The question of how one ought to live as a human being is a fundamental issue that has been asked at all times, in all places and by all people.

    A psychiatrist describes how he had asked a youth who had unsuccessfully attempted to commit suicide, 'Why did you try to commit suicide?' Turning the doctor's words around, the youth immediately shot back, 'Why are you living?' leaving him at a loss for a response. 'I was really stumped', he says, describing his reaction. 'Dying and living were opposites; they were like the two sides of a coin. Unless you can clearly articulate the significance of your own way of life and existence, you cannot tell another person, "You must not die."'
    It is certainly difficult to consider life and death as personal issues. No matter how eloquent someone may be in philosophizing about life or explaining theories of life and death, it will all count for nothing if deep down the person views such matters as pertaining only to others.

    One physician explains that it took the death of his own child before he was able to come to grips with the meaning of life. He writes that whereas formerly, when he had cured a patient of illness, he would be filled with pride as, a doctor, 'with the death of my own child, for the first time I started to think about the death of my patients. In going from viewing it as "another person's death" to viewing it as "my own death", I felt that I wanted to erase myself out of shame and sense of guilt." The experience of losing a loved one impels us toward a deeper understanding of life.
    For human beings, to fear death is natural. It's impossible that someone could have no fear of death, or could be entirely indifferent to whether they lived or died. The only way is to have struggled hard to develop such a resolute state of life.

    In Buddhism, the 'Life Span'(16th) chapter of the Lotus sutra teaches life's eternity not simply as words or as a philosophical concept, but as a reality that we can directly experience. This is its essence.

    It is to live with great vitality The 'Life Span' chapter reveals the boundlessness of life, which is eternal and as vast as the universe. And the practice of the 'Life Span' chapter is to manifest that immense life in the reality of our own lives. The unabbreviated title of the chapter (Jap. Nyorai Juryo) means 'fathom the life span of the Thus Come One'. The practice, in other words, is to cause the great and eternal life-force of the Buddha to weft forth in one's own being.

    The 'eternal life' described in the 'Life Span' chapter is the life of the universe, endowed with infinite vitality, wisdom and compassion, that sustains all living beings. The 'Life Span' chapter clarifies that this life is itself Shakyamuni's true identity, and the true entity of all Buddhas.

    This eternal life is also the Mystic Law, the Thus Come One, the essential nature of the Law, and the true entity. It is the fundamental Law of the universe that pervades all phenomena(living beings) in the Ten Worlds(states of existence).

    Life and death are the mysterious functions, the innate rhythm, of this eternal life of the universe. Viewed solely in terms of the phenomena of life and death, life is impermanent. These 'sufferings of life and death' and 'sufferings of impermanence' are the wellspring of all human suffering. Shakyamuni worked exhaustively to teach people this.

    'Life Span' chapter, Shakyamuni explains that the Buddha enlightened since the remote past is able to manifest various forms and guide people to enlightenment because he 'perceives the true aspect of the threefold world exactly as it is' (LS 16, p. 226).

    'Threefold world' means the actual world where beings who have not eradicated illusion dwell.The phrase, 'The Thus Come One perceives the true aspect of the threefold world exactly as it is', refers to the wisdom of the Buddha to discern the true aspect of all things. Because he possesses this wisdom, the Buddha can freely expound teachings in accord with people's capacity.

    What, then, is the true nature of life and death as seen with the eye of the Buddha? This is described in the next passage. Shakyamuni says, 'There is no ebb or flow of birth and death, and there is no existing in this world and later entering extinction' (LS 16, p. 226). In the threefold world, there is neither birth nor death, there is neither withdrawing from this world nor appearing in it. Accordingly, there is no distinction between those at present in the world and those who have died.

    It seems to me that this clarifies the eternal existence of fife. From a common sense standpoint, we can only think of birth as appearing in the world and of death as withdrawing from it. But from the Buddha's perspective, birth and death are only alternating phases of life, which is itself eternal.

    But the statement, 'there is no... birth and death', emphasizes the eternal aspect of life. Then again, if we were only to think of life from that angle, we might fall into abstraction. After all, life and death are realities of existence. To ignore them, therefore, is to engage in theoretical speculation.

    This world is like a 'dream one dreams in a brief nap'. From the standpoint of eternity, there is hardly any difference between a 'long' and a ,short' life. Therefore, it's not whether one's life is long or short, but how one lives that is important. It is what we accomplish, the degree to which we develop our state of life, the number of people we help become happy 0 this is what matters. Those who firmly establish the state of Buddhahood in their lives will enjoy this state of life eternally. This is what attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime means.

    In other words, even if our life is short, we can still use it to establish a state of happiness and fulfillment that continues over eternity. This is a fundamental Buddhist principle.
  12. mahasattva

    mahasattva Member

    Broadly speaking, there are two schools of thought. One postulates that some form of consciousness continues after death. The other holds that all near-death experiences can be explained as neurological phenomena. Scientists who adopt this latter position argue that near-death experiences do not point to the existence of an afterlife.

    Certainly, any discussion of the hereafter can amount to nothing more than speculation since the existence of such a realm cannot be proven empirically - it is but a hypothetical theory. Conversely, there are no grounds to assert that a materialist view of life is any more scientific or less speculative than a view which holds that life continues after death. Both views are essentially on the same level, in that neither can be fully substantiated.

    It is a fact that many who receive a modern education blindly accept the tenet that belief in the afterlife is superstitious and nonscientific. However, this assumption is itself a 'superstition' as it cannot be proven.

    The question then becomes which of these theories is the more logical and persuasive. The answer can only be found through investigation of the many examples of near-death experiences or the accounts of people who claim to remember their past lives, and see which theory can more adequately explain these phenomena.

    Certainly, the only way to really know is to actually die. At that point, however, it may be too late! In any event, from a logical standpoint, it is clear that as of yet there is no explanation with a decisive claim to truth. In this connection, I am always reminded of the argument put forward by Blaise Pascal (1623-62).

    Pascal was the French thinker and mathematician who described human beings as 'thinking reeds'. He is well known for his work in probability theory. True to his intellectual proclivities, Pascal discusses the matter of life after death in terms of a wagering theory. He asserts that intelligence cannot provide an answer to the question of whether there is an afterlife. This was also the conclusion reached by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). On this premise, Pascal says that if a person gambles their life on the chance that there is life after death, then, even if they are wrong and the reality is that there isn't, they haven't lost anything. On the other hand, if they gamble their life on the chance that there is no afterlife, and it turns out that in fact there is, then they are powerless to do anything to alter the course they have taken. Even if at that point he or she wishes to have done more good things while alive for the sake of the hereafter, it is too late.
    Therefore, Pascal reasons that gambling on a belief in the afterlife brings fortune if you win and costs nothing if you lose. Losing a wager on the opposite belief, however, leaves you helpless and emptyhanded. He therefore concludes that it makes the most sense to lay one's stakes on the belief that there is life after death, i.e., to accept religion; and that this is the choice that any rational person would make.

    This argument may be controversial, but I nevertheless find Pascal's reasoning persuasive. His view of this issue as a 'gamble' is quite interesting. I suppose that no important life decisions would be made if we insisted on always knowing how things were going to turn out; there simply are no guarantees.
    No one can avoid death -this is the only thing of which we can be absolutely certain. But it's also true that there are few people who give any earnest thought to this most fundamental issue of life and death. These days, in particular, it seems that people increasingly adhere to the position on the matter that Buddhism describes as the 'doctrine of annihilation'.

    The doctrine of annihilation refers to the view that upon death, life reverts to nonexistence. Perhaps it can be said that modern hedonism and intemperance, as well as the underlying sense of unease and pessimism that accompany these states, have their roots in this doctrine.

    If one believes that life finishes with death, then the idea of merely seeking to enjoy oneself in the present would be quite seductive. There are of course those who resolve, 'Since I only have one life, I will strive to live it to the fullest', but I think that in reality there are very few people who can truly face death without a sense of foreboding.

    It seems that many people view life and death based on this 'doctrine of annihilation' , or what we might call 'annihilationism'. At the same time, the concept of an immortal soul is also prevalent in many different forms. This is the 'doctrine of eternity', the idea that there is an unchanging 'soul' distinct from the body and which continues forever. Both concepts, however, are rejected by Buddhism.There is no such thing as a spirit-like entity that flutters through the air. All that really exists is the oneness of body and mind. When we die, our life, in a state of non-substantiality(emtpty), becomes one with the universe. Both the doctrine of annihilation and the doctrine of eternity are flawed. Each is a 'biased' view that accounts for only one side of the truth.
  13. Dizzy Man

    Dizzy Man Member

    Mahasattva, I agree with everything you said. You're very smart.
  14. DarkLunacy

    DarkLunacy Senior Member

    Death is the next step. We can not believe what others tell us is waiting (Heaven, Hell, Nirvana, Moksha (Sp?)) but we must wait and experience it for ourselves. I personally feel that we shoul live our lives as richly and to the fullest possible degree. This is one plain of existance. If there arent others, then I want to have lived a satisfing life.
  15. Sebbi

    Sebbi Senior Member

    I don't think there is a stage of knowing the score between incarnations. I think that for some it is a pretty lucid experience, for many they are barely aware that it is happening.

    I think we have to learn the score the same way we do normally.


  16. Dr. Lecter

    Dr. Lecter Member

    I think the most successful way to get into an afterlife is to die first.
  17. queenannie

    queenannie Member

    Karma is the process of the balancing act between all souls in this material plane (earth). It is important in that it determines, in the long run, your attitude and reactions to others.

    I think all things that live will live. The difference is, are you conscious (in the light) or unaware of yourself (in darkness), in the afterlife? That is the question.

    I think that light is "good", it is a manifestation of unconditional love for everything that lives. Regardless. Dark is "evil", which is the void in the absence of love. Negative breeds negative, and positive gives rise to positive.

    Find the God (or whatever) that you believe in, the symbol or personification of love which works for you. Because in the end, whatever it is that you believe in, if it's about love, your geniune faith in that will bring about love in your heart for the object of your faith, yourself, and everyone else, is the right path for you. For each soul there is a path, but there is but one destination (and I don't mean heaven or hell, I mean light) and one vehicle which will get you there (love).

    That's pretty much it. The universe is composed of light (stars and such), darkness (dark energy and dark matter), and planets and such (composed of both light and dark). The physics of love govern the qualities of both light and dark. It's simple.

    Anything complicated is a trap, and a mind numbing preventative to your own salvation. Look within. If you seek, you will find, and you will know. Without a doubt. That seems like an impossible suggestion, but once you know, you'll see that all things are possible and nothing is realistic.
  18. FreakyJoeMan

    FreakyJoeMan 100% Batshit Insane

    Amen, brotha. Hey I's say fuck the afterlife. Why worry about it when yer livin this life right now.
  19. MushroomDreams

    MushroomDreams Senior Member

    I believe that the safest way to get there is to practice meditation. This is a process where you learn to shut down your mind. Without thought you gain an awareness of the parallel reality we already live in.

    Without thoughts you become aware of what Buddhist call the Bardo. This is the after life.

    Many years ago I had, what they call, a near-death experience. I would call it a death experience. For several minutes I was dead. All awareness of this world and everyone in it was gone. I was, and everything around me was pure light. I felt an ecstasy so complete that it left me without desire.

    To get there, some people take hallucinogens. Tim Leary was a big believer in that. I feel that hallucinogens lack the control of a pure meditation. It’s a little like dialing the phone at random. You don’t know where you’re going to end up.

    Meditation is slow progress but it only goes a fast as you allow it.
  20. queenannie

    queenannie Member

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