I’ve been a Buddhist for two years, and recently I’ve been re-focusing on the reasons why I became a Buddhist in the first place, to live a more peaceful and wholesome life.
Wherever we go after death, whether a Pure Land or a hell, is unknowable in the present because it’s outside our reach of experience. All we have right now is the here and now.
Those who commit evil deeds all their life, thinking that the Buddha will “save” them if they just call his name, might be missing the original point of the Buddha’s teachings.
The Vimalakirti Sutra says of Mahayana practitioners, “Though they honor Buddhas by the millions, with every conceivable offering, they never dwell upon the least difference between the Buddhas and themselves.”
The above passage suggests that the relationship between the Buddha and ourselves is non-duality, that we are to work on awakening the Buddha within ourselves, rather than relying on an external Buddha to “save” us.
Buddhism traditionally teaches that our destination after death is conditioned by our actions in the present life:
Beings are born into a particular realm according to their past kamma. When they pass away, they take rebirth once again elsewhere according to the quality of their kamma: wholesome actions bring about a favorable rebirth, while unwholesome actions lead to an unfavorable one.