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Afterlife in Buddhism and Christianity

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Afterlife in Buddhism


In the original Buddhism, the living beings (sattva) fall into Six Destinies (gati), according to the acts of which they feel the reward according to the deeds of past lives: 1) inhabitants of the underworld (naraka, stays damned, suffering, until exhausted bad karma), 2) animals, 3) pass away (preta, intervals between worlds where the deads live, hungry deads), 4) titans (asura, lesser gods), 5) gods (deva), 6) men. Between successive destinies, beings are in an intermediate existence (antarâbhava). This puts less a cause law, compensation acts (karman), but an automatic process, a transmigration (samsâra) due to the actions of body, speech or mind: a natural effect, any action supported by a volition has effect. The being that transmigrates (Pudgala) is not really a person, rather an aggregate (Skandha), a phenomenal continuity to the changing elements, without itself permanent. The sequence of transmigration is due to three root causes (akushala, Three Poisons): desire, hatred, ignorance. The saint (Arhat) released various links, has no rebirth (Punarbhava, in pāli : punabbhava).

Afterlife in Christianity

According to Christianity, the spiritual ascent is through the suffering inherent in the human condition. Jesus declared himself to be the way to immortality of the soul, it would be by him that we can reach the afterlife. “Jesus said to him, I am the true and living way: no one comes to the Father but by me. (John 14: 6).“. The earthly sufferings are then perceived as multiple opportunities to unite with the suffering of the crucified Christ and so become beings given to the image of his teaching (“Have love one for another; even as I have had love for you” (John 13, 34)“) and obtain the grace of eternity. Christians engaged in such spiritual approach therefore accept suffering as a grace of salvation, and that, while doing everything in its power to decrease around him. It participates in the redemptive suffering of Christ by his mortal condition which, in any case, can escape suffering.

The Bible refers to the life after death, citing the words of Christ to his disciples for this purpose:

Jesus, way to the Father (John 13,14):Let not your heart be troubled: have faith in God and have faith in me. In my Father’s house are rooms enough; if it was not so, would I have said that I am going to make ready a place for you? And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to be with me, so that you may be where I am. And you all have knowledge of where I am going, and of the way to it.” Thomas said, “Lord, we have no knowledge of where you are going; how may we have knowledge of the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the true and living way: no one comes to the Father but by me. If you had knowledge of me, you would have knowledge of my Father: you have knowledge of him now and have seen him.

The last judgment and the attainment of eternal life: At the resurrection of the dead, “upright men and wrongdoers” (Acts 24: 15), will precede the Last Judgment. It will be “the time is coming when his voice will come to all who are in the place of the dead, And they will come out; those who have done good, into the new life; and those who have done evil, to be judged.” (Jn 5: 28-29). Then Christ “comes in his glory, and all the angels (…). before him all the nations will come together; and they will be parted one from another, as the sheep are parted from the goats by the keeper. And he will put the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. (…)  And these will go away into eternal punishment; but the upright into eternal life. “(Mt 25: 31. 32. 46 ).

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