After Death

What Happens When We Die? - The Astonishing Truth

Q: What happens when we die?
A: When we die, the soul leaves the physical body and returns to the Spirit World.

Death comes suddenly. No one can escape death. But death is not an eternal farewell. Human beings are in essence a spirit (soul). The physical body is just a vessel. After departing from "this world” one’s soul or spirit continues to live on in "the other world."

This article is about what to expect when we die and common spiritual experiences after death, based on the Truth about the Spirit World revealed by Master Ryuho Okawa.


Q. What happens when we die?
A: When we die, the soul leaves the physical body and returns to the Spirit World.

What Happens When We Die?
- From the moment our heart stops (cardiac arrest), to what happens in the next 7 days, then 49 days, and a few months after death -

Everyone will face death someday. What do we experience at the moment of our death? Let's take a look through the example of a Grandfather who has just passed away.

(1) 0 hours after cardiac arrest (The soul leaves the body)
[Cardiac arrest (Medical Death)]

When the heart stops and the physical body dies, the soul separates from the physical body. Often, the deceased will be looking down at its physical body from above, near the ceiling.

At this point, the "Silver Cord" which connects one’s soul to the physical body is still intact. The soul can feel the pain in the physical body as if they are still one.
For a while, the soul will still be encased in a “spirit body” that resembles its physical body. It will be able to think and move as it did when it was alive. This is why the departed soul might not realize that they are dead and will try to talk to the living people around them.

(2) 24 hours after cardiac arrest (The True Death)

The reason why people wait a day to hold the wake service after a person dies is to allow time for the "Silver Cord" connecting the soul and the body to disconnect. If the physical body is cremated too soon before the “Silver Cord” is disconnected, the deceased will suffer and not be able to depart peacefully to the afterlife.

(3) Several days to about 1 week after death (Awareness of death develops)

A funeral is not just a ceremony, but important for the deceased to comprehend their death and move on to the afterlife.
The deceased gradually come to accept their own death by seeing the wake and funeral with their body in the coffin or their picture at the altar. The sutras chanted by monks or prayers said by priests at funerals are originally intended to make the deceased aware of their death.

(4) 7 to 49 days after death (Crossing the "River Styx" and determining their destination in the afterlife)
[First 7 days to 49 days]

Newly departed souls usually linger around their own homes for about seven days after death, but beyond that they are encouraged by their “guiding spirits” to cross over to the afterworld.

These “guiding spirits” are often souls of already deceased family members who are best suited for convincing the newly departed souls to cross over to the other side. Only those who have returned to Heaven can come as “guiding spirits.”
In Buddhism, memorial services are held at critical moments such as the "first 7 days" and "49 days" after death in order to ensure the newly departed souls can transition peacefully to the afterlife.

Upon embarking for the Spirit World, a newly departed soul will cross the so-called "River Styx," the boundary between this world and the next world.

After crossing the “River Styx,” they will proceed to a place similar to a movie theater called the "Life-Reflecting Theater," where the newly departed soul witnesses his or her entire life displayed on the screen like a movie, revealing one’s every thought and action from birth to death. After watching their own life movie, they will accept their destination in the Spirit World, a place most appropriate to the state of their mind.

The Spirit World is vast and divided into many layers. The higher the dimension, the closer the inhabitants who reside there are to God or Buddha. The lowest dimension and the closest dimension to this physical world
(the fourth dimensional world) contains the world known as Hell.

(5) 49 days after death and beyond (Occasional visits to the physical world)

Practices such as the scattering of cremated remains have become popular. However, creating and maintaining a grave is important. A grave serves to make the deceased acknowledge their death, especially if they wander
after death not realizing they have died.
A grave is also an "antenna" for the living to offer their prayers and thoughts to the deceased.

(6) Several months after death and beyond (Occasionally communicating with this world →Reincarnating)

[*Obon and other memorial services]
*Buddhist ceremony to remember and commemorate the deceased ancestors.)
Different cultures have customs for honoring the spirits of one’s ancestors. During Obon season in Japan, for example, memorial services to remember the dead are held because it is said that “the gates of Hell open” and the souls of the dead are allowed to come into this world to visit their families.
Even after the first Obon since a person’s death passes, occasionally remembering them by holding memorial
services enable us to send the light of Buddha (God) to them. We can do this not only towards souls who have returned to Heaven but also towards souls who have fallen to Hell.

However, if the person trying to pass on the light through the memorial services has a low level of enlightenment, or in other words, does so without understanding the Truth about the afterlife and the Spirit World, they may be negatively affected by lost spirits. It's therefore crucial for the living to learn about the afterlife and practice a life of faith.

Souls who have returned to Heaven and spend a certain period of time in the Spirit World can be reborn into this world for further soul training. By accumulating different experiences in new eras and environments,
human beings aim for eternal growth.