“…..after I had discussed this matter, a young officer asked if I really believe that people could become animals after death. I replied, “If you believe that people can become animals, that is fine, and if you don’t believe, that is also fine. If you are due to become an animal in your next life, and you believe that people can be reborn as animals, then you will end up as an animal; if you don’t believe that you can become an animal, and you are due to become one, then, your disbelief notwithstanding, you will become an animal all the same. If you do the deeds of a Bodhisattva, you will become a Bodhisattva; if you do the deeds of a human, you will be born among men; and if you do ghostly deeds you will end up among the ghosts. You are what you do. It is not a case of your belief making a situation go one way, and your disbelief making it go another. Believe it or not, you will be what you ought to be and you will certainly not be what you should not be.”
At this pint everyone should ask himself , “When am I going to die? The sutra says that the life of the Brahman woman’s mother ended before long. When will mine end? Will I, like her, fall into the hells?” When studying the sutras the important point is to reverse one’s illumination; in other words, study yourself a little. Simply to study books and let it go at that is useless.
Everyone, without exception, is going to die. Don’t worry weather death is a good thing or not; if you do good, your death will be good, and if you do bad, your death will be horrible. If you plant deeds you will reap good fruits; if you plant bad deeds you will reap bad fruits. An ancient author said,
When I see another’s death,
my heart burns like fire;
It burns, nut not for him;
for death rolls on toward me.