It has often intrigued me how some Buddhist masters I know ask one simple question of people who approach them for teaching: "Do you believe in a life after this one?" They are not being asked whether they believe in it as a philosophical proposition but whether they feel it deeply in their hearts. The master knows that if a man believes in a life after this one, his whole outlook on life will be different, and he will have a distinct sense of personal responsibility and morality. What the masters must suspect is that there is a danger that people who have no strong belief in a life after this one will create a society fixated on short-term results, without much thought for the consequences of their actions.
Could this be the major reason why we have created a world like the one we are now living in, a world with hardly any real compassion?
Glimpse After Glimpse, by Sogyal Rinpoche, published by Harper San Francisco, offers daily inspirational readings based on The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. Both books are available from the Zam Shop.
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(Photo courtesy of Jeroen Top)