Buddhism Your Questions Answered (171 FAQ)

Q&A 36. Will people with no religious faith be subject to “judgement”?

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Q: Will people with no religious faith be subject to judgement at the end of their lives, as mentioned in established religions?  If so, will they receive a standard form of judgement? If not, how is judgement meted out? Is it related to one’s behaviour and temperament during one’s lifetime? Is the mystical spirit world composed of many countries with boundaries similar to ours?


  • All people, including those who have no religious faith, are subject to judgement. They are judged in accordance with the karma they have created in the human realm.
  • Based on their karmic effects, there are people who either ascend to heaven or descend to hell without being subject to judgement. Those who are extremely evil will descend to hell straight away; those who are extremely good will directly ascend to heaven.
  • The spirit world consists of many countries with boundaries.
  • Both the underworld and heaven have their own laws. There are no distinctions in the enforcement of laws due to differences in religious beliefs. People in the human realm do not have an adequate understanding of the laws of the underworld and heaven, giving them the misconception that people of different religions will be governed by different laws. Once they are in heaven or the underworld, people will realise that the laws in heaven or the underworld are similar to the laws in the human realm. It is just a conceptual matter.
  • It does not matter whether someone has religious faith, they will naturally come under the governance of the laws of either the underworld or heaven, depending on which realm they are headed to upon death.
  • If a person of who has no religious faith ends up in the underworld, they will be under the governance of the underworld. For example, if an individual of Chinese background dies in Australia, they will be under the governance of the underworld in the region of Australia.
  • A person with religious faith, whether dead or alive, comes under the governance of their religion. They are also subject to the governance of the laws of heaven or the underworld.
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