• Thomas Zhu

Consider the way you act right now and think about how it’s related your belief of the afterlife

Updated: Aug 17, 2021

The idea of death and knowing that one day we will die has an impact on each and everyone of us. Our society today has a general fear of death and the afterlife serves as a motivation for many of our actions today.

For the majority of people who believe in the existence of an afterlife, life continues after death by either reincarnation or going to another place.

Reincarnation refers to an individual being born into a different body and living again depending on their actions and choices in life. Those who do good in their lives will live in a better form for the next life, and vice versa. Such an afterlife is mostly accepted by Hindus and Buddhists. Hindus and Buddhists believe in Karma, meaning that one’s action presently will ultimately be returned upon them. Even if not in the present life, they will be rewarded or punished in the next one. Hindus see the process of reincarnation as everlasting, whereas in Buddhism there is the state of Nirvana, referring to when someone liberates themself from the endless reincarnations (known as Saṃsāra) and achieve a higher state of existence. This is similar to the Chinese folk traditions, with the long history of Taoism and Buddhism in China. Chinese people believe in reincarnation with heaven and hell at either end of the spectrum.

Heaven (Paradise) and Hell are another major form of afterlife, where depending on how closely someone follows their religious doctrines, they will either be admitted for eternal rest in heaven, or suffer eternal punishment in hell. This is the afterlife belief held by both Christians and Muslims. For both religions, the underlying criteria for entering heaven is to be a follower. In theory, a Christian will follow the church's teaching closely to earn entrance to heaven whereas a Muslim will live a righteous life, strive for excellence and follow the teachings of the Quran.

Whilst different religions have different beliefs of what happens after death, they all promote the idea of doing good and avoid evil. Whether or not you are a believer, you should adopt the positive aspects of religion into the various aspects of your life where applicable.

Written By: Thomas Zhu

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