02.04.09 : Burn Everything to Recreate Everything?
- Realisation: Should We Burn Everything to Recreate Everything?
Burning what shouldn't be burnt destroys blessings - it doesn't share them.
Many Chinese believe that all will be reborn within hells in the afterlife, which is imagined to be a mirror image of this world. However, only those who have created very negative karma are reborn there, while there are five other possible realms of existence - realm of hungry ghosts (and wandering spirits), animals, humans, demi-gods and gods. Hell is also not an 'interchange terminal' between every two consecutive lives. Since it is a realm of suffering, 'requisites' such as money, houses, cars and handphones are not relevant. There is also no proof that incinerated paper items like such can re-materialise into solid items.
Also, money is useless without trade, houses without land, cars without fuel, just as handphones are pontless without telecos! If life in hell requires everything in our world via burning, we would need to burn the whole world, as every thing is interdependent on every other thing! The custom of burning is thus illogical. Burning expensive paper items not only wastes paper, money, time and energy, it also pollutes the environment, and is damaging for plant, animal and human health. Ironically, much fire, ash and smoke might also displease unseen beings, just as they irritate many humans.
Sometimes, the deceased are so attached to paper items that they manifest in dreams to ensure they are burnt – even though they are not needed at all. In such cases, it's okay to burn a little if 'counselling' fails, but it's more important to do charity in the name of the deceased to help them create merits for better rebirths. Another possible reason for such dreams is that the family of the deceased are attached to the idea that paper items must be burnt, thus creating such dreams out of guilt, fear and worry. We should also offer prayers by chanting to share the Dharma, ideally urging them to be born in Amituofo's Pureland. - Anonone
Burning paper offerings is likened to sending bouncing cheques - at high costs.
To subscribe to the above, email firstname.lastname@example.org TDE-Weekly is a free Buddhist inspiration e-newsletter. You can support us by contributing news and articles, and by encouraging friends to join. Unsubscriptions, change of emails, contributions, suggestions and queries are welcomed at tde<at>TheDailyEnlightenment.com The information within the articles need not represent TDE's views. The copyright of the articles belong to the authors.