The other day, on the NHK radio program called “Children’s Telephone Consultation about Science,” a child asked a teacher, “Why will we become stars after we die?” The teacher answered, “The latest science shows that the materials of stars are similar to those of human beings. The ashes of dead bodies go up to the universe and become stars, and then the materials circulate. I think it is scientifically correct that a dead person becomes a star.” The child and adults around him seemed to understand this concept. What will happen to us after we die? This is a question which is beyond human intelligence, and which even intellectuals cannot answer. Therefore, it is believed that the spirits of the dead will remain under the grave stones or become part of the wind.
People believe that memorial services make the dead happy, and attach importance only to funerals for bodies. It is Master Shinran that destroyed this wrong belief, stating: “I, Shinran, have never said the nembutsu even once for the repose of my departed mother and father.” With vigor and determination he taught that we must hurry to attain the solution to the problem of our soul during this life.
If I had not met Master Shinran’s teaching, I would be preoccupied with taking care of my ephemeral body and would have never known this life is a supreme opportunity to attain eternal happiness. With deep gratitude for having met Buddhism, I will listen to it seriously from now on, too.
Kyoko Sato, Toyama Prefecture
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #34 | 2013, Will We Become Stars after We Die
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