A respectable view of ‘heaven’

Nagasaki

Regarding Grant Piper’s April 8 letter, “Expressions to avoid discomfort“: Piper, just like Jennifer Kim (“Expressions of religious belief,” April 5 letter) and Paul Gaysford (“Sentiment that does not console,” April 1 letter), misunderstood the sentiments expressed by Megumi Watanabe (“Hope for 3/11 survivors,” March 29 letter).

Piper seems to be trying to understand a Japanese Buddhist mind through Judaistic principles. Piper’s definition of Heaven and Hell is secular, expressed by many poets in every language. Religious definitions are different, however. It is difficult for those raised in the Judaistic religions to accept that a human soul can be in the sky and how one can go to heaven or hell without waiting a thousand, or a million, years for Judgment Day. For followers of the Hindu-Buddhist system (Mahayana Buddhism derives mostly from Hinduism), it is very easy.

After death, the soul will transfer to one of the other universes — some of these are excellent (heaven), some are bad( hell) — for a temporary period. Next, the soul will be reincarnated back into this universe, Earth. There is One Supreme Creator called Brahman in Hinduism, Dhammakaya in Zen Buddhism or Bramha in Thai Buddhism. It is possible for a soul to be in the sky in another universe for a while, with “God” taking care of that soul.

So, Watanabe correctly expressed her sad thoughts according to her Japanese Buddhist mind, which the followers of Judaistic religions may find strange, offensive and unacceptable.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

dipak basu