52 You teachers of the Law of Moses are really in for trouble! You carry the keys to the door of knowledge about God. But you never go in, and you keep others from going in.
3 You always heal them
and restore their strength
when they are sick.
The Passage Beyond
At the moment of death, the passage into the next life is a nearly impenetrable mystery. published accounts of near-death experiences by people who have been resuscitated from clinical death may give a clue. they report passing through a tunnel into another world, meeting a being of light, and feeling great warmth and accepting love. While these people did not, by definition, die, they may have experienced the first stage of the passage. Who can know how it ends?
What can be known with some certainty is that there is survival after death. in fact, many people who die do not at first realize that they are dead, as they continue to experience themselves as conscious, sentient beings.
Physical death is but a transition to a higher stage of existence. it is the putting on of a new body, like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Father Moon calls it a second birth, by analogy to the birth of an infant who must leave the comfortable world of the womb. as the womb nourished the fetus until birth, when it is destroyed and the baby leaves it for life on the earth, the physical body nourishes the soul until death, when it expires and the soul departs for life in the spirit world. hence there are three stages of life: in the water-world of the womb, in the air-world of earthly existence, and in the spirit world where we breathe an atmosphere of love.
Therefore, death is not something to be feared. on the other side it is celebrated as the soul’s birthday. the chief issue is whether we have adequately prepared our soul with the spiritual faculties to exist comfortably in that world. there, nothing matters but one’s ability to love.
- The Second Birth
1. The Second Birth
For this perishable nature must put on the imper-
ishable, and this mortal nature must put on
immortality. When the perishable puts on the
imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality,
then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is thy victory?
O death, where is thy sting?”
1 Corinthians 15.53-55
One who identifies himself with his soul regards
bodily transmigration of his soul at death fear-
lessly, like changing one cloth for another.
Pujyapada, Samadhishataka 77 (Jainism)
Look upon life as a swelling tumor, a protruding
goiter, and upon death as the draining of a sore
or the bursting of a boil.
Chuang Tzu 6 (Taoism)
Have you seen the seed which you emit?
Is it you who create it, or are We the Creator?
We have decreed death to be your common lot,
and We are not to be frustrated from changing
and creating you again in forms that you know
And you certainly know already the first form
Why then do you not celebrate His praises?
There is birth, there is death, there is issuing
forth, there is entering in. That through which
one passes in and out without seeing its form—
that is the Portal of God.
Chuang Tzu 23 (Taoism)
The world beyond is as different from this world
as this world is different from that of the child
while still in the womb of its mother. When the
soul attains the Presence of God, it will assume
the form that best befits its immortality and is
worthy of its celestial habitation.
Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 81
The silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl
is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the foun-
tain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the
dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit
returns to God who gave it.
As a man passes from dream to wakefulness, so
does he pass from this life to the next.
When a man is about to die, the subtle
body, mounted by the intelligent self, groans—
as a heavily laden cart groans under its burden.
When his body becomes thin through old
age or disease, the dying man separates himself
from his limbs, even as a mango or a fig or a
banyan fruit separates itself from its stalk, and
by the same way that he came he hastens to his
new abode, and there assumes another body, in
which to begin a new life.
When his body grows weak and he becomes
apparently unconscious, the dying man gathers
his senses about him and, completely withdrawing
their powers, descends into his heart. No more
does he see form or color without.
He neither sees, nor smells, nor tastes. He
does not speak, he does not hear. He does not
think, he does not know. For all the organs,
detaching themselves from his physical body,
unite with his subtle body. Then the point of
his heart, where the nerves join, is lighted by
the light of the Self, and by that light he departs
either through the eye, or through the gate of
the skull, or through some other aperture of the
body. When he thus departs, life departs; and
when life departs, all the functions of the vital
principle depart. The Self remains conscious,
and, conscious, the dying man goes to his abode.
The deeds of this life, and the impressions they
leave behind, follow him.
As a caterpillar, having reached the end of
a blade of grass, takes hold of another blade and
draws itself to it, so the Self, having left behind
it [a body] unconscious, takes hold of another
body and draws himself to it.
As a goldsmith, taking an old gold
ornament, molds it into another, newer and
more beautiful, so the Self, having given up the
body and left it unconscious, takes on a new and
better form, either that of the Fathers, or that of
the Celestial Singers, or that of the gods, or that
of other beings, heavenly or earthly.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.3.34-4.4.4 (Hinduism)
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