WHERE DO WE GO WHEN WE DIE?


Before I forget. I just found out some good news and some bad news (for me). The good news is that my upcoming book “Sit Down and Shut Up!” is now listed on Amazon with a release date of April 28, 2007. I first heard about this, naturally enough, from a guy who came to my lecture in Hastings, Nebraska last night. Publishers, they never tell you nuthin’!

The bad news is that some assholes have usurped my URL, www.hardcorezen.org, and put up some kind of bullshit new age crystal gazing crap there. Don’t use it! It’s a rip off! I believe I was paid up on that URL and I’ll be looking into this matter. Anyone who knows about such things feel free to contact me.

I’m on my way back from Knee-braska now waiting at the Phoenix airport for a delayed flight to Los Angeles. It was fun. Hastings is a little tiny Christian college in the middle of nowhere. It took 2 hours to get there from the Omaha airport. When you’re 2 hours away from Omaha you’re way out there. One of the girls who showed me around said her high school graduating class had 26 people. Another person I met had gone to school in a trailer in Wyoming with like 3 other kids. Amazing. I mean, I thought Wadsworth, Ohio was a remote outpost of civilization.

Anyhow, I did one lecture and two other smaller talks while I was out there I sat in on a philosophy class where the prof suddenly asked me to speak and I did this thing they call “Table Talk” where they sit around at lunch time and talk philosophy and religion. Hastings is a happening place!

Anyway, at every one of these talks I got some variation on the question, “Where do we go when we die?” This was kind of interesting because I can’t recall the last time I got that question at all and here I got it three times in one day. Obviously this was a big concern. I think it’s a major concern of religious people in general. And, I won’t lie to you, it was a big concern of mine when I first got into Buddhism and all that. But, oddly enough, it’s not a concern at all anymore. That’s one of the things I’ve pretty well answered for myself that I mentioned a few postings back.

At Table Talk, I shared the floor with another guest speaker at the college, a preacher of some kind. He was of the opinion that when you died, if you were Christian, you went to Heaven, which was a real place where the streets were paved with gold. OK. It doesn’t sound incredibly attractive to me. I don’t like gold all that much. The image reminds me of, like, Beverly Hills or Bel Air on steroids. And I really find places like that repulsive. So every time I hear I might spend eternity there, it sounds like a kind of punishment. I don’t want to live in a Heavenly mansion. I don’t even like the ones they have here.

When Buddha was asked questions along the lines of “Where do we go when we die?” he either maintained silence or he said, “The question doesn’t fit the case.” It’s the wrong question. It assumes things that are not true. So any answer you give to a question like that is really irrelevant.

To a Buddhist, lnear time is just a convenient fiction. It works to a certain degree. But it’s not real. There is no real past and there is no real future. There is just now. You are born and you die, according to the old Buddhist texts, something like 64,000 times a second. Or some big ass number like that. It doesn’t matter. The idea is that you are born and die all the time. Where you go when you die is right here. There’s nowhere else you can go.

Uh-oh! My plane just got here. Gotta go!

35 Responses

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  1. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 26, 2006 at 5:58 pm | |

    Anyway, the interesting thing was that at every one of these talks I got some variation on the question, “Where do we go when we die?” This was kind of interesting because I can’t recall the last time I got that question at all and here I got it three times in one day. Obviously this was a big concern.

    I don’t think they asked because they had doubts and wanted you to tell them what’s what. I think they were testing you. You know, the way dogs sniff each other. I hope you put your best Zen glare in your eyes and asked in return, “Where are you right now?”

  2. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 26, 2006 at 5:58 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. zenducker
    zenducker October 26, 2006 at 7:12 pm | |

    I agree with jinzang, the questions were just to perhaps discredit the atheist Buddhist in our midst. I had a guy who claimed to be searching for “truth” ask me all kinds of questions, but it always came back to that one, where will you spend eternity? Of course I always said, “This is eternity right now as eternity is not a measure of time.” Later he came back and said that since I did not have any answer about that, that he had chosen Christianty because they gave him solid hard definite answers and my answers were all goobly goop. Then he tried to convert me later which I found hilarious and somewhat insulting.. and we ended our half-ass debate with a letter writing campaign to the local rag in which one of my letters was censored by the editor.(and not due to foul language, it was all content)

  4. Katy
    Katy October 26, 2006 at 8:50 pm | |

    I don’t think the Table Talk crowd they were trying to discredit anything – I really do just think that they were just curious about Buddhism because it’s so uncommon out here! At least, I hope that they weren’t, because everyone I talked to was super interested in what Brad had to say.(By the way, this is one of the Hastings College girls who showed Brad around our little town). But both jinzang and zenducker have good points. They put a different spin on the idea that an afterlife is kind of absurd in a philosophy in which all that matters is the here and now. Brad, thanks again for bringing some new ideas to our sleepy little town. I enjoyed and appreciated it so much! I hope you had fun too, and I’m glad you got home safely. Cheers from Hastings College.

  5. oxeye
    oxeye October 26, 2006 at 9:02 pm | |

    That is a pretty nice book cover Sensei.

  6. Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf October 26, 2006 at 9:05 pm | |

    I have to write this argument paper in English, and I was pondering topics. I was thinking about doing my paper on the various ideas religons have about life after death and why I think one should not worry about what is after death and spend time paying attention to their life now.

    Then it dawned on me. That question of life after death is pretty much the cause of religons. Then I think about all the horrible things that humanities done to each other based on these ideas about life after death. I sorta found that interesting and ridicules.

    But at the same time, I cannot deny the impact that religon has had on giving people a since of morals. I’m not sure if the world would be better off if Christianity never existed. The Ten Noble Truths are good ideas to follow for the most part. But that sorta idealistic morality doesn’t really hold up.

    I’m starting to realize, based on my practice of Zazen, and Brad and Nishijima’s teachings, that true morality comes from balance; the balance that comes from practicing Zazen.

    I’ve decided to do my paper on why I perfer Shikantaza compared to the many meditations that mainstream Buddhism has to offer. What is your practice and why do you practice that way?

  7. Ryuei
    Ryuei October 26, 2006 at 11:15 pm | |

    Uh Brad,

    In the Pali Canon (and outside of that people are just making up what the Buddha said) the Buddha unequivocally asserted rebirth in the five realms (hells, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, heavens – sometimes the realm of fighting demons or asuras is added). The Buddha in fact asserted that the materialists who denied karma and rebirth were holding wrong views. Of course all this pertained to mundane right view.

    But when it came to whether an arhat or tathagata existed after death or not, that is when the Buddha refused to answer because the question did not fit the case. This pertained to supramundane right view (there is some technical Pali term for this but who cares).

    Anyway, aside from misquoting the Buddha, I do tend to have the same feeling as you (and even referenced your earlier blog on this in one of my own blogs). The thing is that even if the historical Buddha really did assert rebirth as the sutras record, he very well have been mistaking his own subconcious mind’s ability to spin very convincing narratives as actual rebirths. Like that Bridey Murphy woman or whatever her name was. I think the Buddha could have honestly been mistaken about that but at the same time been truly enlightened to the nonself nature of what we are (regardless of whether there is literal rebirth or not). The way I see it now – the core of Buddhism is not about afterlife insurance. It is about realizing that there is no self to attribute birth or death to in the first place. There is this moment not rejecting and not clinging but just taking care of what is right here to take care of – where it all comes together. That is the best I can articulate it now. And now I need to help my daughter with her homework and get her off to bed. It doesn’t get anymore real than that.

    Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,
    Ryuei

  8. Ryuei
    Ryuei October 26, 2006 at 11:15 pm | |

    Uh Brad,

    In the Pali Canon (and outside of that people are just making up what the Buddha said) the Buddha unequivocally asserted rebirth in the five realms (hells, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, heavens – sometimes the realm of fighting demons or asuras is added). The Buddha in fact asserted that the materialists who denied karma and rebirth were holding wrong views. Of course all this pertained to mundane right view.

    But when it came to whether an arhat or tathagata existed after death or not, that is when the Buddha refused to answer because the question did not fit the case. This pertained to supramundane right view (there is some technical Pali term for this but who cares).

    Anyway, aside from misquoting the Buddha, I do tend to have the same feeling as you (and even referenced your earlier blog on this in one of my own blogs). The thing is that even if the historical Buddha really did assert rebirth as the sutras record, he very well have been mistaking his own subconcious mind’s ability to spin very convincing narratives as actual rebirths. Like that Bridey Murphy woman or whatever her name was. I think the Buddha could have honestly been mistaken about that but at the same time been truly enlightened to the nonself nature of what we are (regardless of whether there is literal rebirth or not). The way I see it now – the core of Buddhism is not about afterlife insurance. It is about realizing that there is no self to attribute birth or death to in the first place. There is this moment not rejecting and not clinging but just taking care of what is right here to take care of – where it all comes together. That is the best I can articulate it now. And now I need to help my daughter with her homework and get her off to bed. It doesn’t get anymore real than that.

    Namu Myoho Renge Kyo,
    Ryuei

  9. johann - a.k.a. JE
    johann - a.k.a. JE October 27, 2006 at 4:46 am | |

    Katy you are beautiful…don’t ever change.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 27, 2006 at 7:30 am | |

    It’s true, there’s nowhere to go. Death is a cool breeze. Life is a warm breeze.

  11. yudo
    yudo October 27, 2006 at 7:45 am | |

    The discussion on whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy, apart from being ill formulated, gets a bit set aside when you realise that it is foremost a psychology.
    All of the Buddha’s teachings concern our way of psychically manoeuvering (or attempting to) the world. Hence the sixth sense, which is the intellect and its object, mental formations.

    When he talks about rebirth into one of the six realms (gods, titans, men, animals, demons and hungry ghosts, it’s easy to realise that these all exist around us.
    The gods (the celebs) who live a golden lfe, although not devoid of suffering, the titans, who only aspire to domination, the animals, who only long for eating, drinking, sleeping and mating, the demons who so much suffer that they feel their only way to alleviate their suffering is to make others suffer, and the hungry ghosts who seem to never get enough of anything.
    Of course, all those six exist within us, at all times. Which always makes it the harder to be a full fledged human being.

    I’m not negating the existence of “other realms”: for me, all those gods exist, be it only because they have an influence on my life, be it the meek Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount, or the blonde blue eyed Footballer Jesus of the Mormons, the agonizing Jesus of the colonial South Americans, the psychopathic god of the Bible and of the Jews, the puritanical god of my chidlhood, or any of the innumerable variants of gods that people worship the world over. They don’t exist, but they do exist, because they exist in the minds of enough believers to bear upon my existence. I could not for one second believe in GW Bush’s god, but I know it’s out there lurking…

    See what I mean?

  12. Prof Wes
    Prof Wes October 27, 2006 at 8:28 am | |

    As someone once said: “Between birth and death there is just this.”

    Where you “go” when you die is probably my mom’s biggest concern about my Buddhism. I’ve given up trying to convince her, so I just say “you go where you go and I’ll just die, OK?”

    Makes Easter a lot more fun, that’s for sure.

  13. Drunken Monkey
    Drunken Monkey October 27, 2006 at 9:53 am | |

    life after death is simply wishful thinking. End of story.

    Knowing that you are going to die oneday is a scary thought, but if you look at it the right way, it also means that right now is the most precious time for us, whilst we are still alive.
    Lets make the most of now and cherish our time on earth.
    No time for hesitation, just do it.

  14. door knob
    door knob October 27, 2006 at 11:04 am | |

    Hey Brad (and other interested people), since you mentioned that “linear time is just a convenient fiction,” I thought you might be interested in this article:

    The Time We Thought We Knew

    It was written by Brian Greene, a “rock star” of theoretical physicists. He writes about physics (mostly string theory) the way you write about Zen (i.e., so that an average idiot like me can understand it).

  15. Anatman
    Anatman October 27, 2006 at 12:03 pm | |

    The Buddha spoke and taught using the vernacular of the day, and using images and symbols that people, including the ‘common folk,’ could understand and use.

    He taught using 10,000 methods to reach 10,000 people. Just like today, most of the people on the planet cannot grasp the implications of quantum physics, so 2500 years ago, most people in SE Asia could not grasp the implications of what the Buddha knew. So he often used teachings and symbols that could help the people he was teaching.

    The finger pointing to the moon.

  16. Drunken Monkey
    Drunken Monkey October 27, 2006 at 12:48 pm | |

    Brad have you noticed that not only your .org site but also your website http://www.hardcorezen.com website has some crappy enlightenment book in place of yours.
    “Steps on the Path to Enlightenment- by Lamrin Chenmo”

    I suspect that the Tibetan “buddhas” who tried to shoot their love beam powers at you are resorting to even more drastic measures to silence you!

    Its kind of funny in a way… damn lamas.

  17. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 27, 2006 at 5:20 pm | |

    When I thought about it some more, I came to the conclusion that the reason why the Hastings College students asked about life after death is that they didn’t know what to else ask. Meditation and Zen are new and unfamiliar to most people and they were curious and wanted to ask something.

  18. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 27, 2006 at 5:29 pm | |

    I’ve decided to do my paper on why I perfer Shikantaza compared to the many meditations that mainstream Buddhism has to offer. What is your practice and why do you practice that way?

    My main practice is guru yoga, where you visualize your guru as the Buddha on top of your head, pray to him for realization, and then at the end of the practice dissolve the visualization into yourself and “rest in whatever occurs” (my teacher’s words.) The reson why I do it is because it’s the practice my teacher wants me to do. I’ve written about why he’s my teacher on my weblog.

    Guru yoga is the usual prelude to mahamudra and you might try comparing mahamudra to shikantaza, since they have many points in common. Or you my want to try contrasting Rinzai and Soto practice.

  19. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 27, 2006 at 5:36 pm | |

    Brad have you noticed that not only your .org site but also your website http://www.hardcorezen.com website has some crappy enlightenment book in place of yours.
    “Steps on the Path to Enlightenment- by Lamrin Chenmo”

    I suspect that the Tibetan “buddhas” who tried to shoot their love beam powers at you are resorting to even more drastic measures to silence you!

    I suspect the reason why hardcorezen.com redirects to Wisdom Publications is because they published Hardcore Zen.

    Usually I reserve my “love beam” meditations for my friends with problems, but since you mention it, I’ll include Brad too. Our “love beam powers” seem to be working. We got Brad to take down his post critical of the Dalai Lama, didn’t we?

  20. endofthedream
    endofthedream October 27, 2006 at 7:48 pm | |

    To a Buddhist, lnear time is just a convenient fiction..But it’s not real. There is no real past and there is no real future. There is just now…The idea is that you are born and die all the time. Where you go when you die is right here. There’s nowhere else you can go.

    Excellent! This may lead to the question: if one is birthing and dying “all the time” is there, in fact, any “you” at all (other than at a single moment)? Is there a “you” (other than that which arises in/as thought) which actually endures, moment to moment? And if not, is there anything that persists to be rebirthed (other than thought)?

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous October 27, 2006 at 8:11 pm | |

    “… some assholes have usurped my URL, http://www.hardcorezen.org, and put up some kind of bullshit new age crystal gazing crap there.”

    I don’t get the connection between astrology and hardcore zen myself. Have you tried contacting them. Perhaps they’ll listen to reason if you can channel Elvis and sing’m a little ditty first.

  22. Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf October 27, 2006 at 9:17 pm | |

    Jinzang, thanks for your suggestiong.

    I practiced the Nyundro practice in Tibetan Buddhism for about 3 years. I had accumilated approx. 75,000 Guru Mantra while doing Guru Yoga.

    I personally lost interest in T. B. after my romantic ideas were shattered by a monk with porn on his camcorder (which is really not a big deal, but it competely shattered the pure idealistic veiw I had built up through tantric practices.) After that I began questioning alot of things, and faced my confusion about the dogmatic aspects of T. B. such as reincarnation. I still respect the teachers I followed at the time, they gave me some good advice that was beneficial. The path is just not for me anymore. Around the time that I became discouraged, I saw a add for Hardcore Zen in a Shambala Sun. After reading Brad’s website and Hardcore Zen, I decided Zen Buddhism and the practice of Shikantaza was the path for me. No complexity and banging my head against the wall about reaching enlightment and what it would be like, and if I would go through the Bardo when I died so on and so forth. I definitely had some trippy experiences around certain teachers and during certain practices, but I would always have to come back down to earth and do the dishes. Now, I am taking care of my life more, going to school and developing my wordly life where before I could care less. I definitely went to an extreme when it came to wordly life, I did not care at all whether I had a good job in the future or not. That can become a problem. This is just my experience, don’t take this as me trying to change your mind or something. I still have friends that practice T. B., but it’s just not for me.

    So I will defintily be talking about various meditations in relation to T. B., Rinzai, and Soto.

    There are definitely similarities between Dzogchen,Mahmudra, and Shikantaza. My teacher would give us a talk about Dzogchen and tell things like you just sit still let things be and let the dirt settle by itself like a glass of dirty water when sitting still. The dirt just falls away and your left with the clear water.

    But in T. B., this sorta of mediation is considered a very high degree of meditation, and they claim it will not work unless you accumilate enough merit and purify obscurations. They treat it as something you need to reach that will be extremely different from what is taking place right now. I thought it was interesting how T. B. did talk about the importance of the present moment a little bit, but then had all these practices where you are constraiting your mind on some future goal or enlightment. For me, it’s nice to throw all those complexity and ideas that really couldn’t be proved, like reincarnation, and constrait my efforts on the one pracitice of Zazen that deals with now, instead of getting frustrated on what to practice. “should I practice Tara, or Mandala, or Vajrasatva, or Guru Yoga, or Chenrezi, or contemplate impermanence, or the four thoughts, or the six perfections or should I prostrate, or maybe I will do some shamata, whats vipasana, I wonder what it will be like when I reach enlightment , maybe I will do some Vajrakaylaya, I have many obstcles blah blah blah on and on and on.” It’s suprising that I ever got started with any one practice.

    The thought still pops up once and awhile, if I will be sent to Vajra Hell (worst the regular hell) since I stopped practing T.B. and I had all these empowerments. But I really can’t stand relgions that try to hook you in through fear.

    The idealism of T. B. is very simlar to the idealism of Chrisitanity.

    I was first attracted to Buddhism because Buddha said you should question everything and that their was no blind faith dogma. I feel I was side tracked cause I blissed out on few mediations and I wanted to do something supernatrul. Once I realize there will never be a time when I can just cross my arms and say “well thats it” I never have to wash the dishes or clean up dog shit, or deal with annoying people at my shitty factory job. All those stories about rainbow bodies and flying monks was really attracting but I never saw anybody do it, they say you got to have alot of merit do witness something like that. Oh well, I will taking the slower mahayanna vehicle while everyone races to the “fast vehicle” of tantra and build up their egos as they build up enlightment in their minds.

    Wow! I’ve rambled on for so long, I’m starting to annoy myself. lol

  23. Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf October 27, 2006 at 9:30 pm | |

    ahh your Khenpo Karthar Student. I’ve met him and Bardo Tulku at the Cleveland KTC center ran by Lama Kathy.

    Bardo Tulku gave me some really good advice once. I was telling him about this Spiritual Crystal Lady who was describing this problem I had. He said,”Don’t listen to other people. It’s more peaceful that way.” (then he smiled)lol It was great advice based on the context of the conversation.

  24. MikeDoe
    MikeDoe October 28, 2006 at 1:55 am | |

    lonewolf:

    I also had an issue with ‘empowerments’. I could not see how someone saying some magic words to you would then enable you to do or achieve something that you could not otherwise have done.

    Empowerments seemed to be used as a control.

  25. Drunken Monkey
    Drunken Monkey October 28, 2006 at 2:09 am | |

    Wolf, thanks for your input on T.B.

    I was always interested in T.B and even bought myself an “om mani padme hum” t-shirt (and bought the tiger eye mala LoL) but never went all the way with t.b, due to coming into contact with Brads literature that shattered some of my preconcieved ideas of reality.

  26. endofthedream
    endofthedream October 28, 2006 at 7:35 am | |

    Empowerments seemed to be used as a control.

    This generated a question:

    Who (or what) is actually doing the controlling? Do we genuinely have any say in how things arise? For a long time it seemed that way. It is certainly a very common (universal?) belief.

    But the notion of a person controlling another … or controlling anything … this can be a fertile line of inquiry and may lead to the unraveling of other long-held, dearly-cherished beliefs.

  27. Dan
    Dan October 28, 2006 at 3:29 pm | |

    lol end of the dreams at it again!

    ;p

  28. Jinzang
    Jinzang October 28, 2006 at 4:26 pm | |

    I also had an issue with ‘empowerments’. I could not see how someone saying some magic words to you would then enable you to do or achieve something that you could not otherwise have done.

    Think of an empowerment as getting inka before you even start to practice. If, as Dogen says, practice is simply the expression of enlightenment, why not?

  29. orlando
    orlando October 30, 2006 at 2:41 am | |

    Questions, Questions…
    well, for me its like, first i had a lot of Questions, but no answers
    I became a ‘seeker’, and after awhile i had a lot of answers, and no Questions anymore. But that faded.
    And now, it seems the more i practice, the less answers, the less Questions I have ;)

    @ Lone Wolf
    Hi, i was a TB’er too! And you pretty summed up why i ve left that path. It was so complicated and i became so entangled in some notions they had, i just had to stop it and leave everything ‘spiritual’ aside. (For the better of me) Also i couldnt see why i should whorship Karmapa as a super-duper enlightened beeing, when i saw only a young boy citing traditional texts in a somewhat ridiculous golden robe…but sure that was only due to my rather blurred ‘karmic vision’ – like ‘if you dont believe that i’m a god, your too dumb to get it’…ha! Dont get me wrong, i still think there are a lot of good people in TB, like the teachers i had, of whom i learned a lot, and very valuable things. But still i am happy that i found zen, so i dont have to put up with the many esoteric/theocratic/schamanistic notions of TB -some of them which i just dont believe that they have (or should have) anything to do with buddhism at all, but rather with the powergames of the tibetan state/clergy, but which are translated to the west ‘as is’ and are, sadly, not questioned or challenged at all…

  30. Lone Wolf
    Lone Wolf October 30, 2006 at 10:00 am | |

    Yeah, I agree. There are some helpful instructions and even some real Buddhism within T. B., but it’s just to bad it’s mixed in with all the other esotric/reincarntion stuff, not to mention the politics (temple and state should be seperate). It’s like you have to buy it all or nothing at all at times. I still respect many of my teachers and still utilize some of the wisdom they taught me, but like I said, I realize it’s way to idealistic for me.

    Zazen is a much more helpful path for me, especially when dealing with the reality of everyday life.

  31. earDRUM
    earDRUM October 31, 2006 at 12:06 pm | |

    I imagine that the students asked Brad about what happens after we die because they truly want to know. Don’t we all?
    I had a conversation with my mom about this when I last visited. My dad has come close to dying a few times in the past few years. And a recent heart attack made us think about death again. My mom said that she thinks that there must be somewhere that we go… that it doesn’t just end in nothingness. I found myself agreeing with her. I said that I imagine that we go back to the same place we came from before we were born. I know that my comment was sort of meaningless… trying to explain the unexplainable. But I also think it is probably accurate. And I felt that saying it that way was at the same time comforting and undogmatic. I didn’t attack any ideas of a Christian heaven. I didn’t try to instill doubt and fear into Mom and Dad’s minds. (If I had just said, “Heaven doesn’t exist”, or “We don’t die because we don’t exist in the first place”, I think I would have caused unneeded tension in their minds.
    We all think about what happens after we die… even though parts of us are dying right now. Our hair is already dead, yet we wear it as if it is alive.

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous November 2, 2006 at 5:43 pm | |

    Brad,

    That page on hardcorezen is a generic cybersquatter page. It’s only on astrology and shit cause “zen” is in the url, they come in varieties. You will have to pay them to get it back. You probably didn’t have it locked on something. It’s likely you could take them to court and win, but this usually isn’t worth it and they count on this.

    -jim haku

  33. Anonymous
    Anonymous June 14, 2007 at 2:28 am | |

    Hey, I recently added a news widget from http://www.widgetmate.com to my blog. It shows the latest news, and just took a copy and paste to implement. Might interest you too.

  34. Melanie Stephan
    Melanie Stephan June 27, 2007 at 9:36 am | |

    Hi. This is an important message, please read and pass it along. God has made contact. The message is about Revelation. The message is from God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost respectively. It was sent in the Spring of 2006. It is about the meaning of First is Last and Last is First as written in Revelation. The message is this: In the morning I go to Heaven. In the afternoon I live my life. In the evening I die, death. What does this mean? In other words this means Birth is Last and Last is Birth. To understand this don’t think from point A to point B. Think of this as a continous circle of life. Birth, Life, Death, Birth. God also said that Judgment will be before Birth in Heaven. AS birth on Earth is painful so will birth in Heaven. It is possible that this message was delivered by one of God’s Angels in the Spring of 2006. Yes, God has made contact and he sent a messenger. Spread this message along, just like a chain letter. Tell two people. Melanie Stephan

  35. Heretic Prophet
    Heretic Prophet January 25, 2008 at 10:18 am | |

    Hey Brad!
    Strangely enough my Roshi and I were chatting about how often the first question people ask me about my Zen practice relate to life after death. I wanted to know where this infiltrated American thinking and who dunnit. His response was that probably the Tibetans used that as a lure to get people to practice. Seems fair enough. Having been raised a Baptist, life after death was of supreme importance and perhaps this also ties into how Zen, in a Judeo-Christian culture, gets that misinterpretation in the West since that is a foremost teaching that they get slammed with every Sunday and at other odd moments as well. I am glad to hear that a Christian college was open enough to invite you out there. Since Buddha-dharma pervades everything, it might even show up there! Who knows?
    Enuf for now.

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