Author Topic: Changing of Religion before death  (Read 11302 times)

RedLantern

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 758
Changing of Religion before death
« on: December 02, 2012, 07:33:28 PM »
Very often we come across cases of people who change their religion at the last moment when they are about to die.By embracing another religion,some people are under the mistaken belief that they can 'wash away their sins' and gain an easy passage to heaven.This is only a dream.
According to Buddha's teachings there is no such belief that there is someone who can wash away sins.It is only when people sincerely realize that they are doing wrong and after realizing this,try to mend their ways and do good,that they can suppress or counter the bad reactions that would accrue to them for the evil they've commit.The only way to end suffering is to purify the mind.

dondrup

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 816
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 08:00:35 PM »
Yes, people at the last moments of death are the most vulnerable and susceptible to suggestions that would delay their death!  Why?  The fear of dying manifests the strongest upon death.  These persons are desperate and want to avoid dying.  Hence they will resort to whatever methods available to remain alive!  They become very easy targets of religion that would want to convert them.  They will be convinced that their sins can be purified by surrendering to god.   They want to believe that they can go to heaven where they will be safe.  That’s their last hope and chance of redemption!  We know through Dharma that we have to purify our own sins.  No gods or any external force can do that for us.

jessicajameson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
    • Email
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 09:02:56 AM »
It's true what you both have said, dondrup and redlantern.

Many people are scared and confused when on their deathbeds. They don't know what's going to happen to them, they remember all the things that they have yet to do, the people that they will have to leave behind, the possessions that they can't take with them and the things that they have done and regretted.

When desperate, and given a quick and easy solution - they grab right at it. But how can accepting a religion help with all of the sins that you have done.

How can a man practicing compassion all his life, go to hell because he is Buddhist - but a rich man, who accepts God before he dies, goes to heaven after spending a lifetime on Earth abusing his wealth?

It's like having a dirty black cup of water, and hoping that one drop of clean water will make your cup drinkable again. Whereas, the Buddhist man never got his cup of water dirty in the first place. Perhaps a few specks!

I'm not sure which is worse though, the person who is eager to convert to save his/her life - or the one who seeks to convert.

In the Buddhist faith, those who force others to convert to Buddhism will create the causes for they themselves not meeting the Dharma in their future lives.

I don't know about you, but the more I learn Buddhism, the more I realize that even if you don't believe in the Buddhist sutras - just by believing in the law of cause and effect (what you do, and the effect you get back), that itself generally makes you a better person, a better citizen on our planet.

Big Uncle

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1995
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 09:47:15 AM »
Well some faiths believe that very strongly. In fact, in some faiths, there is baptism ritual that can be performed on those who are dying. The belief is that if we accept God, all our sins would be washed away and we can be permitted into heaven. That belief is very simplistic and negates all the prior negative actions in an instant.

That form of belief is very simplistic and compelling especially for those who are simplistic and don't want to look at things deeply. If we just contemplate how everybody are born unequal, one would wonder where is God and his compassionate ways? Why is God so unfair to make some suffer right from birth while others live in the lap of luxury and pleasure. Therefore, I think the Buddhist view of karma is a much better explanation of reality. It may not answer every single question and doubts we may have but it does answer the more important ones. Don't you think?

Ensapa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4124
    • Email
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2012, 10:22:43 AM »
I dont really see the point of changing religion before death. Why? because the person needs to be familiar with his or her spiritual path when he or she is alive. If the person does not understand the religion they are in, then what is the point of the conversion? Who can focus on religion when one is in much pain? And how sincere or how much can that person learn about his or her new religion when they are about to die? To me, it is pointless as religion is meant to be practiced when the person is living, not when the person is about to die.

It'll look nice on the national census, but not on a logical level.

diablo1974

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 251
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 07:27:41 PM »
Even if believers hold on to their GOD beliefs dearly to their last breath, waiting for him to bring the person to heaven of eternity, what the consciousness/soul looking at is his/her own disposition....they might be seeing God in the way they perceive but one law stood same and will never sways and thats the law of karma. I guess everyone agrees that to be able to meet buddhism and practise the dharma is as precious as having a good rebirth in the human realm so to change religion (to buddhism) before death needs immense merits and causes to be able to do that.

jessicajameson

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 290
    • Email
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2012, 08:09:45 PM »
The best thing for a person passing away is to keep the mind calm. If the person needs something spiritual to occupy their mind with, it would be best to advise the person to focus on what they themselves find most familiar. Whether it be Tara, Jesus Christ, Allah, God etc.

As what Ensapa says, if we force a different belief upon someone who's passing away, it may cause them to freak out as they're not familiar with it. Worse thing to do is to have someone die whilst panicking. It may cause their consciousness may leave from the middle or lower segment of the body, resulting in them taking rebirth in an unfortunate place.

Deathbed conversion is not cool. Charles Darwin apparently lamented that he shouldn't have spoken about evolution, and took Jesus Christ as his saviour on his deathbed.

A stark contrast to Mother Theresa who seemed to renounce God on her deathbed!

pgdharma

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1055
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2012, 11:03:34 AM »
A dying man's destiny in his next life is dependent on his last thoughts which appear to him according to the good and bad karma he had accumulated during his current lifetime, irrespective of what type of religious label he prefers to take at the last moment. The only way to end suffering is by purifying the mind. We created our own suffering and we alone can end it. We cannot hope to eradicate the consequences of our evil actions simply by changing our  religion at the time of death.

Galen

  • Moderator
  • Sr. Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 420
    • Email
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2012, 01:12:05 PM »
Karma is created in the  person's lifetime and by changing their religion just before they die does not make any difference to them. Maybe it will ease their mind slightly so that they think that they will be going to a better place, but in reality, he will be going to where his karma ripen to be.

I have heard from a friend that when his grand father passed away, the family members got a monk and gave refuge to his grandfather so that he is protected by the three jewels and that he will meet Dharma in his future life. All this while the grand father does not belief in any religion. Does this work? Maybe this action will ease the minds of the family members but what does it do for the grandfather?

Anyone can shed some light?

Ensapa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4124
    • Email
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2012, 01:47:52 PM »
Religion isnt about accepting something or someone as a savior, but it is actually and in fact, it is a way of life and as a way of life, it can only be done when the person is living. If religion is all about acceptance, then everyone would be happy and satisfied with their lives because all they need to do is accept someone to be their savior. Deathbed conversion isnt helpful for the dying person except that it allows them to have a burial style of their choice.

vajrastorm

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 706
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2012, 06:43:09 AM »
 Impermanence and Death is a reality and so is the reality of the uncertainty of when death will strike. This thread brings to sharp focus the fact that most people are too afraid of death to even think about it, and when it hits one, one is mostly unprepared.

Lord Buddha place these realities in the core of Dharma. Buddhist practitioners make these realities and the truth of the Universal Law of Karma, a focus of their thought , contemplation and meditation. Hence, we are taught to live every moment of this precious human life meaningfully in abandoning non-virtues and gather virtues in preparation for future lives.Indeed practitioners see this life as but an instant in an ongoing cycle of transmigration and will set their sights on the ultimate goal of freedom from suffering and samsara and attaining Buddhahood to benefit all beings. So preparation for a calm peaceful death is important and a state of mind that is virtuous.       

ratanasutra

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 345
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2012, 08:04:58 AM »
I do not understand why people changing their religion before death, however if it make the person to become more happy and have a peaceful and calm mind that should be a positive result as the mind at that moment is very important.

I heard that some of high lamas also gave an initiation to dying person so that he/she can collect some merit before dying and also it plant the seed for he/she to be born and continue the practice in future life. 

Q

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 557
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2012, 10:52:15 AM »
It is quite sad that people get the whole point of religion wrongly... religion does not safe guard one's entry into 'heaven', it teaches us how to live life ethically and fully. I am strongly against converting people especially during their last moments of life... as it is, dying is already very scary and stressful for a person. When someone tries to convert a person at that fragile stage, it is usually through the method of force or playing on their fear of death. Where fear is, we all know how a person will leave his body when he/she dies.

Extremely detrimental for the person on his death bed, especially when we know that just accepting 'God' or 'Buddha' will not save from our Karma...

Ensapa

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4124
    • Email
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2012, 11:00:06 AM »
From what I can understand after giving this topic a thought or two and also after talking about it with a few friends, I realize that some people may want to convert at their deathbeds for very superficial reasons and it is not about religion anymore: it is more or less about being buried in the right burial ground, or to be more accessible to the surviving relatives so that it is easier for them  to visit the deceased. Some of them do it because their children want them to.  Its not about spiritual reasons to why they convert.

bambi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 722
Re: Changing of Religion before death
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2012, 04:40:10 PM »
Its just confusing when people are dying and you try to feed them informations like that. What if the person passed away confused? I have an aunt who was really sick, in a coma and dying. I went to visit her and there was a lady whispering into her ears. I thought the lady is a friend but she told me that she is from a church and she is praying talking to my aunt. That was really rude because she did not ask for permission to do so. They shouldnt do that.
If only that it is easy.... Change your belief the last minute and hope that everything that we have done is purified...