All cultures have teachings about what happens to us when we die. Religions teach that in death, there are soul destinations based on the individual’s actions in life; a few of these are noted below. Free thinkers, atheists, and agnostics do not believe in soul existence or afterlife. Their ‘destination’ is not relevant because they are gone; complete with life. Even though they are gone, their life accomplishments are destined to be carried forward in the hearts of those who loved them. A growing trend for persons describing themselves as spiritual rather than religious, is to believe that there is no such thing as death; only a transformation of energy.
The founders of Further Shore acknowledge the power of faith, and the comfort that individuals may receive through their religious and spiritual orientation. We also respect and acknowledge those who live and die by secular or humanist principles. We believe that through the application of unconditional love, compassion, respect, kindness, and caring the end of days can be a deeply intimate, tranquil, and even joyous time for all concerned. Here are some examples of soul destinations according to different religions.
- Christianity teaches that after death one will either reap the fruits of Heaven, or suffer the damnation of Hell. A number of factors determine the fate of the deceased which may include whether or not one sought salvation through Jesus Christ.
- For Hindus, death is not a fearsome prospect. The soul, the Vedas declare, is immortal, but individuals still seek to find understanding that will make death acceptable. The path of karma determines a soul’s rebirth into this world.
- When a Navajo dies, it is believed that their spirit moves on to the next world. It is possible that a spirit can be interrupted in their journey or perhaps even called back. They do not, therefore speak the name of the deceased or show great distress at the funeral.
- For Muslims, life involves preparing the soul to become worthy to pass through death, which is a transition, and progress to eternity in Paradise or hellfire.
- In Judaism, death is not a tragedy, even when it occurs early in life or through unfortunate circumstances. Death is a natural process and has meaning. There is a destination or afterlife for the soul.
- According to Buddhist tradition, reincarnation is a process in which the spirit is continually reborn after death until ultimate enlightenment is reached. Buddhist beliefs in death reflect how one leads life in the now.
The following is a Buddhist prayer that is offered by and for the dying. It refers to the Buddhist practice of accepting the impermanence of our earthly existence; detaching from the physical body and dissolving the separatist ego. This prayer inspired our name, Further Shore. It is a teaching of peace, selflessness and surrender to the inevitability of our transformation from form to formless.
“May I be a protector for those without protection, a leader for those who journey, and a boat, a bridge, a passage for those desiring the further shore. May the pain of every living creature be completely cleared away. May I be the doctor and the medicine; and may I be the nurse for all sick beings until everyone is healed.
Just like space, and the great elements such as earth, may I always support the life of all the boundless creatures.
And until they pass away from pain, may I also be the source of life for all the realms of varied beings, that reach unto the ends of space.”