"In what realm do you now live? If you are hungry for power, love, and self-recognition, you live in the Preta world, or hungry ghosts. If you are motivated only by thirsts of the human organism, you are existing in the world of the beast." Source: Buddhist StudiesReligions generally promise some sort of reward for believing or living a certain way. In Christianity and Islam there is a heaven or paradise promised for the true follower. Many believe this heaven is a physical place in which people will live in eternity in some sort of happiness or bliss.
But a previous insightful experience has pointed me to another understanding about heaven and hell.
Once while experiencing a convulsion (the only one in my life), I had a profound revelation. At the time, I became aware of many people around me that had previously died. I thought in a split second that I must surely be dying. At that point, I received a telepathic reassurance from my former family and friends that they were not here for me, but just wanted me to say hello to everyone.
Immediately after coming through that experience, the idea came into my head that "you die where you are." Obviously that was a strange thought but the idea was clear to me.
The insight gained from that experience helped me to understand that whatever level of consciousness a person attains in this life would be what that person carries with him/herwhenpassing on to the next phase of existence.
The implications were clear to me. Those who want to have a better experience in the afterlife had better be getting about to having a better consciousness in this life.
But even if we don't except the idea of an after life. This idea of expanding consciousness has tremendous implications for our experience in this life.
A zen story clearly demonstrates this: Source: Brave New Traveler
A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?
"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.
"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.
"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head."
As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
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