A Thunderous Roar: The Destination of the Soul

If our physical body can be compared to a speck of foam that floats along the surface of a river, our “eternal life” would be the mighty river itself. This is what Buddhism teaches. From the point of view of this “eternal life” that has been flowing and transmigrating for endless eons, the human lifespan of eighty or a hundred years is nothing but an instant.

Once the physical body dies, where does the soul go? The destination of our true self is life's most pressing question. Without facing this question head-on, one cannot hope to understand the teachings of Master Shinran.

However, today some True Pure Land scholars deny the existence of the afterlife altogether. Others say, “After death, we will probably go the Pure Land.” They are nonchalant about the entire issue. This shows that they do not understand even the rudiments of Buddhism.

Once one gains Buddha's wisdom, life after death comes into focus. But education by itself is not enough

to clarify the issue of the afterlife. If even Buddhist scholars are confused, how much more so materialistic modern people who have lost track of the soul altogether? There is an urgent need, then, to dispel this confusion and ignorance by thoroughly disseminating the teaching of the law of cause and effect that is the foundation of Buddhism.

This law contains both of these truths: “What you have sown will never fail to grow,” and “A seed that is not planted will never grow.” The law of cause and effect is a universal truth, transcending time and place, that no one can deny. The three prongs of this law are as follows: “Good deeds bring good results; bad deeds bring bad results; and one's own deeds bring one's own results.” There is not a single exception to this law. Only after this fact is known will the afterlife gradually be felt. What we must do is patiently keep on reminding ourselves and others of the truth of this law.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #33, A Thunderous Roar: The Destination of the Soul

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