Friday, May 21, 2010
The Afterlife: Babies vs. Angels
My six-year-old son Cracky was staring at his sister as she breastfed the other day.
"I wish I was a baby," he said.
"So you could breastfeed?" I asked, stating the obvious.
"Yeah. And so you could hold me like that. I wish me and Gracie were both babies."
"That would be a lot of work for me!"
"I wish when we died we could come back as babies," he added.
"There are actually some people who believe that's exactly what happens," I said, surprised that my son had come up with reincarnation all on his own.
"Sure. Some Buddhists believe in that. It's called 'reincarnation.'"
"Reincarnation? Jesus thinks when you die, you're dead."
"Um, I think he actually thinks you go to heaven when you die," I said, trying to stifle a laugh.
"I think it's some place in the clouds where you get to go and live when you die."
"Do you get to be a baby?"
"I don't know. I don't think so." I cocked my head and thought it over. I half-considered telling him you get to be whatever you want when you go to heaven, or that you get 40 virgins, but I figured I shouldn't say too much about something I really didn't know for certain.
"I want to come back to earth and be a baby. And I want you to come back and be a baby too. Maybe we can both come back and be babies at the same time?"
"Maybe we can. The Buddha believed that we never die."
"Because we come back as babies?"
"Well, that's one way. Will you remember when I die, that I'm not really dead? That I'll live forever?"
"Yep. You'll be somebody's baby somewhere."