Electric word life
It means forever and thats a mighty long time
But Im here 2 tell u
Theres something else,
Actually, I don't talk very much about the afterworld. In fact, and this seems to surprise a lot of people, I don't really have any very strong opinions on it this way or that.
I few months ago when I was in Boston visiting Jennifer and Mike, we were taking a "fear quiz", and I said no to death as being a fear. Mike commented that was probably because I had faith in an afterlife. Actually, the opposite is true.
If I had strong faith in a particular afterlife scheme, I would be concerned with fucking it up somehow. As it is, I do not have a strong faith in any particular afterlife scheme, so I have nothing to be afraid of.
But Jason, you practice Tibetan Buddhism, don't you believe in reincarnation?
Meh. There are some that I feel really are genuine Tulku's. People like the Karmapa and so on. Most people that are named Tulku's though are just people that either took an office, or bought the title. Perhaps everyone reincarnates in a way that establishes a link from life to life. Perhaps not. I dont really care.
But Jason, you practice Contemplative Christianity as well, don't you believe in heaven?
As a place where we pop up more or less as we are in life and live the rest of eternity? Definately not. If drinking 4 shots of espresso can effect my mind as much as it does, I can only imagine that full on death of the brain would pretty much kill anything egoistic.
But Jason, what about various schemes where you choose an afterlife?
Yeah, there are those. Amitabha for instance set up his pure land for people to be reborn as monks so that they attain enlightenment easier, and of course, one can view the various Christian Heavens as a type of pure land set up by Christ. Even in some types of traditional Witchcraft this idea is present (see Evan John Jones essay "The Rose Beyond the Grave" which is in The Roebuck in the Thicket).
Some practices aiming at specific afterlife are good. Maybe they work, maybe they dont. You don't know till you go. Some, I think are quite dangerous. Some techniques that arent even geared towards afterlife can screw it up. For instance I recommend that anyone learning astral projection does NOT make an astral simulacrum of themselves to project into. Why? Because I met a ghost who got trapped in his after he died. The work he did solidifying his spiritual form to resemble his living form prevented second death for a few years. A few hundred years...
Don't get me wrong, I am going to do Phowa when I die. But I am not really all that concerned with whether it works or not. I passed the test. I bled out the top of my head. So, it should work. But you only know when you go.
I am not doing Amitabha's Dewachen Phowa BTW. Not interested in celibacy in this life or the next. I was crap at Phowa until I started focusing on Padmasambhava who sends a hot dakini to collect your bindu and take you to pure land of Zangdopalri where you attain enlightenment by screwing her. After that, I attained the signs I needed. Motivation is everything.
Anyway, point being, I dont really focus on the afterlife all that much. My thinking basically is this: I didn't mind the 100,000 years before I was born, so I probably won't mind the 100,000 years after I die.
I focus on death, but as a meditation on impermenance. It's a way of simultaneously realizing the preciousness of this fleeting existance, and also the need to let go of it. Part of that letting go I think is letting go of what comes next. Do your due dilligence and than let it slide.
I took the photo above at Pashupatinath on the last day of a three day retreat. I keep it on my altar along with photo's of my Guru's.