This holds true for everyone: when we die, our minds leave our bodies.
We travel down a long and winding lane where we meet all our loved ones. We choose which of them we wish to be reborn with, and they continue with us along the lane.
No one gets left behind.
Everyone sees a lane, but our lanes usually differ. However, because we all share continua, we see best when we’re not alone.
The guides who will help us in that “next” lifetime walk the lane with us also.
Again, everyone you love meets you along the lane: even those who are already in bodies, already in your next life.
Along the lane, we may find anyone we wish to see. However, we don’t ask for others, because loved ones understand each other and don’t require permission.
Because we all connect so intimately, people attach to one another, and many people, once attached, never separate for very long.
Everyone chooses not how they will match up in this lifetime, but who they will be matched with. Karma determines how people match together, while people and places come together by choice.
Only loved ones may choose to walk together; enemies cannot walk with you. Most people actually have no true enemies, so this seldom presents an issue.
When we share choices of the same people and places, we call that ‘collective karma’. However, ‘collective karma’ does not mean that everyone shares the same experience. Collective karma means nothing other than that people share a connection.
What, or rather who, is a “person”, anyway?
Many factors come into play once we resume our walk along the lane. We meet many people, and we must decide which appeals more: questioning many knowledge-holders and prophets (which presents challenges), or following more comfortable paths?
Comfortable paths don’t hold much challenge, but can offer a respite after having lived a lifetime filled with challenges and tribulations that proved exhausting.
Each time we walk down our lanes, we choose our companions and decide where we wish to meet in our next life. We don’t choose what role they’ll play, although we may request specific roles. ‘May’, because we can only make requests if we have enough merit to be able to make them. Not everyone can make requests, because anyone may refuse a request from someone else.
We all share the walk down the lane. We do not all share the same amount of merit.
To say that you don’t have the merit means that you haven’t done enough nice things for people to want to help you. Less merit means less help; it’s that simple, and people who don’t help others don’t get help.
Now if you have merit, people will be happy to help you, and you can make requests and people will consent to grant them. If people agree to your requests, you then negotiate the terms and conditions. Others don’t have to agree to your terms and conditions just because they agree to your requests. Sometimes people simply agree to meet, and karma takes care of the rest.
Karma stores like merit. You accumulate it, and karma may ripen immediately or in the future.
Karma differs from merit in that you exercise no control over how it’s spent.
As soon as karma accumulates, it begins to increase in value, but karma’s value is not always positive.
Karma is a law of nature, just like gravity. You create karma when you perform actions, and this karma proves positive or negative, depending on your intentions.
Positive karma comes from performing an action while wishing to help others. Negative karma comes from performing an action wishing to help oneself.
We all act with a mixture of wishing to help others and wishing to help ourselves. This is part of human nature. So, all of our actions result in a mixture of positive and negative karma, and we often can’t be sure what – or how beneficial – the results will be.
Performing actions as if we were doing them to ourselves best assures that we’re creating positive karma. Although we may not be doing what people want us to do, if we follow this approach we can be sure that we’ll experience the same result as if we had done it to ourselves.
This is why Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
Now, this can get tricky; it doesn’t mean that we should go out and do only what we want to do.
If we remember that others want us to do what they want us to do, we’ll see that we actually need to do what others want us to do, as much as we can.
That is what we would want for ourselves – to have others help us. So we should help others whenever we can.
Now let’s get back to karma. When we must make hard choices, we have to choose between merit and karma.
Merit earns people help, and karma earns people good conditions; you cannot always have both.
People make choices like this every day, and many of our choices are contradictory.
No one can know for certain if their choices will give them what they want, but if you choose merit you have more control over the outcome. When you chose merit over karma, you might not get what you want, but you know that your choice will propel you in the direction of your wishes.
If you choose karma, you get help from people who can’t make any guarantees; if you choose merit and dedicate it to benefitting others, you’re guaranteed success. If you choose merit and dedicate it to benefitting yourself, you get limited material success, which eventually runs out. If you choose merit and dedicate it to benefitting others, then the merit of others is added to your own merit.
So it’s not only a smart thing to choose merit and dedicate it to others, it’s also a good thing.
We’ll keep these instructions brief, because the principles are simple and the steps are easy to follow. When you wish to help others, you’re already off to a good start. Not only do you have the best possible motivation, but you also create more merit just by generating the wish to benefit others. So you’re protected by your intention and fueled by the laws of merit and karma.
Nothing can stop you if your motivation is pure.
Long before the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, people knew about merit and karma, suffering and rebirth, and how important it is to follow good advice. These concepts are not new, but in this world people have trouble remembering them because most people have almost exhausted the last of their merit.
When you run out of merit, you can no longer take a human rebirth and walk along the lane and choose your companions. Instead you must go straight to Hell, unless you are saved by the merit of others, which they may give to you. Now, little do you know about who might have given you how much merit, or how long it will last before it runs out and you find yourself in Hell again.
This is how Jesus saves his followers, by giving them His merit.
Christians don’t call themselves Buddhists, but Jesus is a Buddha. As many have already said, the word ‘Buddha’ simply means ‘Enlightened One’. We use the word ‘Buddha’ more as an adjective than a noun, because that more accurately portrays how Enlightenment works.
If more people could meet more Buddha-like people, more people could become Buddha-like.
We have much ground to cover, so please keep reading.