|Forty Days after Seung
The Chung Pyung Providence and the Way of Blessed Families
Sunghwa Publishing Co., Ltd., 2000
People with fallen nature, when they go to the spiritual world, find themselves in an inferior place of hell. When a spirit self departs the body upon death, it sees its own color and shape and goes to where spirits of similar form are gathered. After it finds its place in such a quarter, it may still complain, saying “Why am I in this kind of place?” and wander around the spiritual world here and there to go to a better place, only to end up returning to the same place.
In other words, although the spirit wanders around in a hope to go to a better place, it realizes that other places are not where it should be on account of different forms of the spirits there. This search for the proper place lasts for forty days. Our members commonly suppose that after Seung Hwa the spirit stays on earth for forty days before going to the spiritual world, but this is not the case. In forth days, the spirit comes to realize that he has found the right place, and there is no other way, and that whatever was bound on earth should have been loosed on earth. After forth days, the spirit is neither able nor willing to wander any further because it knows everything now. If that place is too unbearable, the spirit does not stay there but returns to earth and enters the body of its family member or descendent with a desire that they take away its sins by making indemnity conditions and help it proceed to the place of perfection.
If the spirit during its
wandering realizes its faults and the fact that this must be resolved on
earth, it comes down to earth immediately. If it does not realize
this right away, it does so after the forty day’s wandering. When
it returns to earth then, however, since its body has rotten away already,
it enters the body of its family member or descendent.