Each person, depending on how they were raised, and what they were taught, has an opinion about what happens when we die. There are also those who think nothing happens. We live, we die, and that’s it. We believe what we do, because it is what we want to believe happens. To adhere to the teachings of our religion we find ways to justify our belief. If we were raised in a different religion we would be adamant that those teachings would also be the truth. Which one is right? You have to study other religions to find out. Many people – actually most people – never take a serious look at what a different faith has to teach, except to try to find ways to prove it to be false by comparing it to their own beliefs. But if you looked at it objectively you would find many similarities, perhaps only explaining it a different way. It’s important to remember, whatever you believe, it began with a human being’s interpretation of phenomena that later was interpreted again and again, while trying to make sense of life and death. Bottom line, people are afraid of dying. They “get religion” at the end, just in case.
Years ago there was a man in my life who was a staunch atheist. That was fine with me. I was agnostic. I didn’t know and at the time I didn’t care. I left the Christian religion years before because I didn’t see anyone applying the teachings to his life to become a better person. It didn’t mean anything to anyone. People went to church because that is what everyone did. If they didn’t go, other people would ask questions. So everyone had their social time together, but it didn’t affect their own personal growth. I guess Jesus “saved” them, although that terminology didn’t exist back then. Not one time growing up, and I was in the church almost every day for one reason or another and I never heard the words uttered “Jesus saved . .” So that must have started recently in the last 30-40 years. They were going to heaven. They didn’t need to work on changing themselves.
27 years ago my mother stopped going to church. She had learned about Nichiren Buddhism. She now had the answers to questions her pastors over the years couldn’t give her. The answers that made sense. She’s almost 83 now. She attributes still being alive because she learned HOW to live her life and how she could overcome her problems without asking an entity to do it for her. She knows that who she is now, in these last years of her life still determine the Spring of her rebirth. Every day she prays for wisdom and patience. She is so alive.
The atheist I lived with was later diagnosed with cancer. The closer he came to dying, he abandoned his atheism and turned to God – just in case. He was afraid of dying. If he hadn’t been sick he would still be an atheist. It was his choice, of course, if it gave him comfort, but it doesn’t make it real. God didn’t save him. He still died. Good or bad, no matter what happens, people always say, “It was the Lords will.” No it wasn’t. He had cancer. Did God give him cancer so he could die? No. God didn’t give me Hep C so I needed a liver transplant, either. I did that to myself with drugs 40 years ago. Now my Hep C is gone. Did God do that? No. Was it the Lord’s will? No. It was mine. I asked my doctors for the meds. God had nothing to do with anything.
Apparently Ted Cruz’s father thinks differently. These next pictures show abuse of religion in politics with the determination of deliberately swaying the Christian vote. This is swaying people’s thoughts that only a Christian is fit to be a president even though there are multiple faiths practiced. Is this what Christianity teaches? Does professing to be Christian automatically make him more fit than someone who isn’t a Christian? Do politicians have to convince people they are Christian even if they aren’t or they won’t get elected. You would never see a Buddhist using his faith for political gain. “I’m a Buddhist, elect me.”
I could never go back to Christianity. I tried to once, in my early 20’s. For two years I tried every day to make God the center of my life. I tried so hard to develop a relationship with him. I tried to feel the love. I studied. I went to church. I was “saved”. Two years later I realized it made absolutely no difference in my life at all. So I just stopped one day and that made no difference, either. There was no proof that my faith changed anything in my life. What was I believing in? I realized there were too many unbelievable things I had to make myself believe were true that went against reason. I might as well go to a ouiji board for answers about life and death.
Ten years later I started to study Nichiren Buddhism. I saw proof in my life. But just like Christianity there are many schools of thought. Different sects with different ideas that try to explain life and death. What is karma? How do our thoughts, words and actions affect our life? And what is rebirth? Where are we reborn? Who are we? Why are we who we are when we are born. Looking at our own lives, the traits we have, our talents or lack of them; are we pretty, ugly, happy, depressed, angry, rich, poor, abusive parents, aborted, sick, healthy, intelligent or stupid. Why are we who we are? Do you think it is all the luck of the draw? Do you think an entity “up there” took the time to individually pick all of the traits you ha e and he does that for every single fetus? Or does he only do that for Christian fetuses? I use fetus, because these things are inherently in us in the womb. Who decides the traits for everyone else? All those babies in this world in countries who die of starvation who never had a chance to “pick” a religion. For me, this is where believing in a thinking entity breaks down. A loving God? You wish.
I spend a lot of time contemplating these questions. I’m not quick to believe what anyone says is the truth. Even when you break it down to simple gossip, people tend to believe what people say, pass it on and add a few new twists to it. That doesn’t make it truth unless it can be proven. “Jesus loves you!” Oh yeah? Prove it. “Jesus lives!” There is no proof he ever lived, and if he did, he sure doesn’t live today and he doesn’t love you today. He may have been a good man 2000 years ago but he isn’t alive today and his spirit does not talk to you. The problem is that Christians idealize the man, when they should worship the teachings. Worshiping the man doesn’t change you into a better person. “He” can’t change you. Only you can do that by your thoughts, words and actions. You do that with the wisdom you gained through overcoming problems. That is what really affects your life. You. You make the causes. You get the effects. You reap what you sow. This is a Christian teaching that I don’t see being applied anywhere. Does a Christian think about that everyday in all they do? Because that creates your karma and you will get back what you dish out. In Buddhism, “you reap what you sow” is the primary, most important thing to learn. “The law of cause and effect.” Have you applied that to your life today or are you waiting for God to make things happen. It doesn’t matter what you believe. You will reap exactly what you sow. Your life doesn’t happen because God decided it should happen. Your life happens the way you caused it to happen.
THE BUDDHIST SUTRAS WERE WRITTEN BY ONE MAN
The Bible was written by many men interpreting what they knew. They wrote about karma. These writings were removed. Political leaders needed to manipulate the masses, the same way they do today. https://wisdom-magazine.com/Article.aspx/2043/ You can read it everyday in the news; which presidential candidate is the best Christian, they claim, to get the Christian vote? Do you think the are really Christians who value the lessons taught? I don’t. Their kind of Christian is scary.
Many of the teachings of Christianity and Buddhism are the same, although Buddhism doesn’t just tell you the teachings, it explains why it’s important and also explains the effects if you don’t learn it, but still, the message is the same. The difference lies in what happens when you die if you didn’t change the negativity in your life and have positive results. Maybe you ran from your problems instead. Maybe you blamed your problems on someone our something else. Maybe you didn’t learn you problems our become a better person. You’ll have to do it over until you get it right. Christians should want to have Christlike behavior. Buddhists want Buddhahood. It’s the same thing.
I am NOT saying that Christians should become Buddhists. But I am saying you should look internally to break through your problems instead of asking something outside yourself to plan and execute your life. All life – ALL LIFE – goes through the cycle of birth, aging, sickness and death – THEN – birth. The cycle of seasons goes from Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – then – Spring. Never does the cycle change. If all life goes through this cycle, why would our life be different? That is common sense. We don’t die and go to heaven to be judged and hopefully go to a paradise or hell. We die and the causes we made in this lifetime will be the judge as to how our life will be when we go through the next cycle. WE determine our own lives by our actions. Heaven and hell is something we live determined by what we do. It isn’t some place we go to after we die. Life is eternal and we either learn the lessons our life has put in front of us, depending on the causes we made, or we don’t learn it and have to repeat it. God can’t change your life, or make you well, or get you that job you need. Only you can do that. Something outside of yourself isn’t there. It is your own power inside yourself that changes your life.
Today, our ability to reason far surpasses the capabilities of man in the past. They understood so little. It HAD to seem mysterious to them. Two thousand years have passed. It is an extremely short period of time when compared to the hundreds of thousands of years man has walked the earth. In the last two thousand years, the teachings of all religions continued to change and have new interpretations by different people. People conclude these interpretations are the truth, never looking to see if they actually make sense, in lui of our ability to understand things today. Instead, the more unbelievable the stories are, the more they are believed, because that in itself makes it more mysterious. God formed man out of clay, but Abel went off and married? To whom? A virgin birth with God as the dad? Believing in an all knowing, loving, but vengeful, very egotistical God, that “wants” you to suffer to teach you lessons, doesn’t make any sense. Why would you want to believe that, except that was what you were taught – what came to you in a very long, often changed, line of gossip. Use your brain. Step back.
Think for yourself. Why do you believe what you believe? Because you were told, or because you studied and compared what you learned. Don’t be afraid of what others will think. It’s your life.