If There Were No After Life
Whether there’s afterlife, the answer has never been the same. The atheists deny after life, believing that our life is no more than from the cradle to the grave. They may care about their illustrious names after death; they may feel attached to the affection of their offspring, but they never lay their hopes on their afterlife. They may also say that good will be rewarded with good, and evil with evil, but they don’t really believe any retribution in their after life.
However, in the religious world or among the superstitious people, the belief in afterlife is very popular. They do not only believe in afterlife, but thousands of reincarnations as well. In the mysterious world, there are the paradise and the hell, the celestial beings and the gods, the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas.
Maybe they really believed it, or maybe they just wanted to make use of people’s veneration, the ancient emperors always declared that they were the real dragons, the sons of God, while the royal ministers claimed to be the reincarnations of various constellations. But can the stars reincarnate?
Many people burn incense and kowtow, do good deeds and strive for virtues, not just for the present, but mainly to let God see their sincerity so as to be reborn into a better afterlife, or to achieve the highest enlightenment after several lives of practice. They do believe in afterlife. But I can’t help asking: Suppose there were no afterlife, would you still do good deeds and strive for virtues? And If God does not see what you are doing, would you still be so upright and selfless? If you work, not for serving the public and liberating the others, but just for a better afterlife of your own, isn’t it a little too selfish? Comparing with this kind of believers, those who don’t believe in afterlife, but still keep doing good deeds, are the most sincere and honest philanthropists, because they do them not for themselves but for other.
You may wonder if I believe in afterlife. My answer is: I know nothing about my previous life, so I dare not make improper comments on afterlife. But I do hope there’s afterlife! Because our present life is so short that so many things slip away before our proper understanding. I have so many dreams, so many wishes, so many ambitions, as well as so many regrets and concerns. If there were no afterlife, all of them will remain unrealized!
I’m not contented with the present commonplace life, I’m very much attached to the affections that should have been mine but have been washed away by the hurrying time, and I yearn for the perfection and maturity if I could start all over again. So believe it or not, I’d rather there were afterlife.
Translated by Zhang Baodan (Diana)
May 1, 2004