Buddhism Your Questions Answered (171 FAQ)

Q&A 28. Practising Buddhism and the goal of going to heaven

Q:  Master Lu, as a Buddhist practitioner do we have an obligation to aim to go to heaven?  Can we aim to be reborn as a human in the next life

A:

  • When a person cultivates and practises Buddhism with the aim of going to heaven or the higher realms, they have a broader perspective. Therefore, they will improve themselves in order to attain this higher spiritual state.
  • If a person enjoys life as a human being and believes that it is alright to experience some suffering, and that it is also fine to be reborn as a human again in the next life, this person is in fact insensitive and has not awakened to the truth.
  • First of all, we should aim to achieve a state of perfection and flawlessness.  However, not everyone understands what the state of perfection entails, and therefore would not have the motivation to pursue it.
    If you believe that being reborn as a human being is great, then consider an old lady in the remote countryside. Throughout her life, all she does is work on the farm, get married, raise her children, grow old and then pass away. She does not know the existence of heaven, and she is likely to be reborn into the human realm again in her next life.
  • We must aim for higher goals in order to progress towards higher levels. This is similar to having a pleasant dream—You will still remember every wonderful detail of the dream long after you wake up. If you have not yet reached that state, you would not aim to go there. Only when you realise the benefit of going to heaven will you aim high.
  • However, to go to heaven or the higher realms, you have to be a very good person. Many people wish to go to heaven, but they have not cultivated enough or performed enough good deeds in their lifetime to ascend to the higher realms. You need to cultivate and attain the necessary spiritual state to ascend to heaven or the higher realms.

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