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Venerable K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Thera
Short-cut to Paradise
There is no difficulty at all for Buddhists to go to heaven if they really want to. But there are some people who go from house to house trying to convert other religionists into their faith and promising them the heaven they carry in their bags. They claim that they are the only blessed people who can go to heaven; they also claim that they have the exclusive authority to send others to the same goal. They introduce their religion like a patent medicine and this has become a nuisance to the public today. Many innocent people who lack the knowledge of their own religion, have become victims of these paradise sellers.
If Buddhists can understand the value of the Noble Teachings of the Buddha, they will not be misled by such people. These paradise sellers are also trying to mislead the people by saying that this world which is created by god, is going to end very soon. Those who want to have a wonderful everlasting life in heaven must accept their particular religion before the end of the world comes, otherwise people would miss this golden opportunity and would have to suffer in eternal hell.
This threat of the end of the world, had been going on for hundreds of years. The wonder of it all is that there are still people today who believe in such a treat which is irrational and imaginary. Some people get converted after hearing such preaching, without using their common sense.
In Buddhism, there is no personal judge either to condemn or to reward but only the working of an impersonal moral causation and natural law.
Why wicked people enjoy while good people suffer
Some people ask, 'If good begets good and bad begets bad why should many good people suffer and some wicked people prosper in this world? ' The answer to this question, according to the Buddhist point of view, is that although some are good by nature, they have not accumulated enough good merits in their previous birth to compensate for the bad effects of unwholesome kamma in this present life; somewhere in their past there must have been some defect. On the other hand, some are wicked by nature and yet are able to enjoy this life for a short period of due to some strong good kamma that they accumulated in their previous birth.
For example, there are certain people who by nature have inherited a strong constitution and as a result enjoy perfect health. Their physical power of resistance is strong and hence they are not prone to illnesses. Although they do not take special precautions to lead a hygienic life, they are able to remain strong and healthy. On the other hand, there are others who take various tonics and vitamin?enriched foods to fortify themselves, but in spite of their efforts to become strong and healthy, their health do not show any improvement.
Whatever good and bad deeds people commit within this life-time, they will definitely experience the reaction within this life or hereafter. It is impossible to escape from their results simply by praying, but by cultivating the mind and leading a noble life.
Buddhists are encouraged to do good deeds not for the sake of gaining a place in heaven. They are expected to do good in order to eradicate their selfishness and to experience peace and happiness.
Source: Buddhist Study and Practice Group, http://www.sinc.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/
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