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Does Heaven Exist?

6 religious experts give their opinion on the afterlife

A butterfly tries to escape through a closed window- where is heaven on earth

En español | They say heaven is a place on earth. Or is it actually a destination in the sky? We asked five of our favorite spiritual leaders to weigh in on this celestial destination.

Roshi Pat Enkyo O'Hara, Village Zendo, New York

One day a fierce samurai warrior strode up to Zen Master Hakuin and shouted, "Heaven and hell — do they really exist?"

Hakuin looked at the man and said, "Who are you?"

"I am a samurai!"

Hakuin snorted, and said, "You look like a puny beggar, not a courageous soldier."

The samurai flew into a rage, and began to draw his sword, menacing Hakuin.

Hakuin shouted, "This is hell!"

Hearing this, the soldier dropped his hand and realized the teaching. He smiled and bowed to Hakuin.

Softly, Hakuin said, "This is heaven."

Next: What is heaven? >>

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