Daily Words of God: Knowing God | Excerpt 194
The Cycle of Life and Death of the Various People of Faith
We just discussed the cycle of life and death of the first category, the unbelievers. Now, let us discuss that of the second category, the various people of faith. “The cycle of life and death of the various people of faith” is also a very important topic, and it is expedient that you have some understanding of it. First, let us speak of which faiths the “faith” in “people of faith” refers to: It means Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, and Buddhism, these five major religions. In addition to the unbelievers, the people who believe in these five religions occupy a large proportion of the world’s population. Among these five religions, those who have made a career out of their belief—followers who work full-time for their faith—are few, yet these religions have many believers. Their believers go to a different place when they die. “Different” from who? From the unbelievers, the people of no faith, that we were just talking about. After they die, the believers of these five religions go somewhere else, somewhere different from the unbelievers. The spiritual world will also make a judgment about them based on all they did before they died, following which they will be processed accordingly. But why are these people placed somewhere else to be processed? There is an important reason for this. And what is this reason? I’ll tell you using an example.
Take Buddhism: Let Me tell you a fact. A Buddhist is, firstly, someone who has converted to Buddhism, and they are someone who knows what their belief is. When a Buddhist cuts their hair and becomes a monk or a nun, this means that they have separated themselves from the secular world and left the clamor of the world of man far behind. Every day they chant the sutras and eat only vegetarian food, they live ascetic lives, and they pass their days accompanied by the cold, weak light of the butter lamp. They spend their whole lives in this way. When their physical life finishes, they make a summary of their life, but in their hearts they don’t know where they’ll go after they die, who they’ll meet, and what end they will have—in their hearts they are not clear about these things. They have done nothing more than blindly spend their whole life accompanied by a faith, after which they depart from the world accompanied by blind wishes and ideals. Such is the termination of their physical life when they leave the world of the living, and when their physical life has finished, they return to their original place in the spiritual world. Whether this person is reincarnated to return to earth and continue their self-cultivation depends on their behavior and self-cultivation prior to their death. If they did nothing wrong during their lifetime, they will quickly be reincarnated and sent back to earth again, where they will once again shave their head and become a monk or nun. They become a monk or nun three to seven times: As per the first time’s procedure, their physical body self-cultivates, after which they die and return to the spiritual world, where they are examined, after which—if there are no problems—they can return once more to the world of man, and continue their self-cultivation, which is to say they can once more convert to Buddhism and continue their self-cultivation. After being reincarnated three to seven times, they will once more return to the spiritual world, to where they go each time their physical life finishes. If their various qualifications and behavior in the human world are in keeping with the heavenly edicts of the spiritual world, then from this point onward they will remain there; they will no longer be reincarnated as human, nor will there be any risk of them being punished for evildoing on earth. They will never again experience this process. Instead, as per their circumstances, they will take up a position in the spiritual realm. This is what Buddhists refer to as “attaining Buddhahood.” The attainment of Buddhahood chiefly means achieving fruition as an official of the spiritual world and, thereafter, no longer reincarnating or being at risk of being punished. Moreover, it means no longer suffering the afflictions of being human after reincarnation. So, is there still any chance of them being reincarnated as an animal? (No.) This means that they will remain to take up a role in the spiritual world and will no longer be reincarnated. This is one example of attaining the fruition of Buddhahood in Buddhism. As for those who do not attain fruition, upon their return to the spiritual world, they become subject to the examination and verification of the relevant official, who discovers that while still alive, they had not diligently practiced self-cultivation or been conscientious in reciting the sutras and chanting the Buddhas’ names as prescribed by Buddhism, and instead had committed many evil acts and engaged in a lot of wicked behavior. Then, in the spiritual world, a judgment is made about their evildoing, and following that, they are sure to be punished. In this, there are no exceptions. As such, when can such a person attain fruition? In a lifetime in which they commit no evil—when, after returning to the spiritual world, it is seen that they did nothing wrong before they died. They then continue to reincarnate, carrying on with reciting the sutras and chanting the Buddhas’ names, passing their days with the cold, weak light of a butter lamp, refraining from killing any living thing or eating any meat. They do not partake in the world of man, leaving its troubles far behind and having no disputes with others. In the process, if they have committed no evil, then after they return to the spiritual world and all of their actions and behavior have been examined, they are once more sent out into the human realm, in a cycle that continues for three to seven times. If no misconduct is committed during this time, then their attainment of Buddhahood will remain unaffected, and will not be delayed. This is a feature of the cycle of life and death of all people of faith: They are able to “attain fruition,” and to take up a position in the spiritual world; this is what makes them different from unbelievers. Firstly, while they are still living on earth, how do those who are able to assume a position in the spiritual world conduct themselves? They must be sure not to commit any evil at all: They must not murder, commit arson, rape, or plunder; if they engage in fraud, deception, theft, or robbery, then they cannot attain fruition. In other words, if they have any connection or affiliation with evildoing whatsoever, they will not be able to escape punishment meted out to them by the spiritual world. The spiritual world makes suitable arrangements for Buddhists who attain Buddhahood: They may be assigned to administer those who appear to believe in Buddhism, and in the Old Man in the Sky—they may be allocated a jurisdiction. They may also only be in charge of the unbelievers or have positions with very minor duties. Such allocation happens according to the various natures of their souls. This is an example of Buddhism.
Among the five religions we have spoken of, Christianity is somewhat special. And what’s special about Christianity? These are people who believe in the true God. How can those who believe in the true God be listed here? Because Christianity merely acknowledges that there is a God, and they oppose God and are hostile to Him. They have once more nailed Christ to the cross, and placed themselves in enmity to God’s work of the last days, with the result that they are revealed and reduced to a faith group. Since Christianity is a kind of faith, then it is, without doubt, only related to faith—it is a kind of ceremony, a kind of denomination, a kind of religion, and something separate from the faith of those who truly follow God. The reason why I have listed it among the five major religions is because Christianity has been reduced to the same level as Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Most Christians don’t believe there is a God, or that He rules over all things, much less do they believe in His existence. Instead, they merely employ the Scriptures to talk about theology, using theology to teach people to be kind, to endure suffering, and to do good things. That’s what kind of religion Christianity is: It only concentrates on theological theories, it bears absolutely no relation to God’s work of managing and saving man, it is a religion of those who follow God that is not acknowledged by God. But God also has a principle to His approach to them. He does not casually handle and deal with them at will, in the same way as with the unbelievers. His approach to them is the same as the Buddhists: If, while they’re alive, a Christian has self-discipline, is able to strictly abide by the Ten Commandments and the other commandments, and abide by the laws in the demands they make of their own behavior—and if they can do this their whole life—then they will also have to spend the same amount of time going through the cycles of life and death before they can truly attain the so-called rapture. After achieving this “rapture,” they remain in the spiritual world, where they take up a position and become one of its bailiffs. Likewise, if they commit evil on earth, if they are sinful and commit too many sins, then it is unavoidable that they will be punished and disciplined with varying severity. In Buddhism, attaining fruition means passing on to the Pure Land of Utmost Bliss, but what do they call it in Christianity? It is called “entering heaven” and being “raptured.” Those who are truly “raptured” also go through the cycle of life and death three to seven times, after which, having died, they come to the spiritual world, as if they had fallen asleep. If they are up to standard they can remain to take up a role, and, unlike the people on earth, will not be reincarnated in a simple way, or according to convention.
Among all these religions, the end of which they speak and for which they strive is the same as the attainment of fruition in Buddhism; it is just that this “fruition” is achieved by different means. They are all birds of a feather. For the people of these religions who are able to strictly abide by religious precepts in their behavior, for this portion of people, God gives them a suitable destination, a suitable place to go to, and handles them appropriately. All of this is reasonable, but it is not as people imagine. Now, having heard what happens to Christians, how do you feel? Are you aggrieved for them? Do you sympathize with them? (A little.) There’s nothing that can be done—they have only themselves to blame. Why do I say this? God’s work is true, God is alive and real, and His work is aimed at all mankind and every person—so why don’t the Christians accept this? Why do they manically oppose and persecute God? They’re lucky even to have an end such as this, so why do you feel sorry for them? For them to be handled in this way shows great tolerance. Based on the extent to which they oppose God, they should be destroyed—yet God does not do this, and merely handles Christianity the same as an ordinary religion. So is there any need to go into detail about the other religions? What is the ethos of all these religions? For people to be kind, and commit no evil. Suffer more hardships, do no evil, say nice things, do good deeds, don’t swear at others, don’t jump to conclusions about others, distance yourself from disputes, do good things, be a good person—most religious teachings are like this. And so, if these people of faith—these people of various religions and denominations—are able to strictly abide by religious precepts, then they won’t commit great errors or sins during the time that they’re on earth, and after being reincarnated three to seven times, then by and large these people, the people who are able to strictly abide by religious precepts, will remain to take up a role in the spiritual world. And are there a lot of such people? It’s not easy to do good, or to abide by religious rules and laws. Buddhism doesn’t let people eat meat—could you do that? If you had to wear grey robes and chant sutras in a Buddhist temple all day, could you do it? It wouldn’t be easy. Christianity has the Ten Commandments and the other commandments, are these commandments and laws easy to abide by? They are not! Take not swearing at others: People are incapable of abiding by this rule, yes? Unable to stop themselves, they swear—and after swearing they can’t take it back, so what do they do? At night they confess their sins! They can’t stop themselves from swearing at others, and after doing so there is still hate in their hearts, and they even go so far as to plan when they’re going to harm them. In sum, for those who live among this dead dogma, it is not easy to not sin or commit evil. Therefore, in every religion, only a handful of people are actually able to attain fruition. You assume that because so many people follow these religions, a good portion will be able to remain to take up a role in the spiritual realm. However, there are not that many; only a few are actually able to achieve this. That is generally it for the cycle of life and death of people of faith. What sets them apart is that they can attain fruition, and this is what sets them apart from unbelievers.