Q:What is your vision of heaven? What images - from Scripture, tradition, culture or your personal experience - best describe heaven for you?
Many of the great traditions advise against any attempt to imagine heaven - or what happens after we die. The Buddha always refused to define Nirvana, because we had neither the words nor the concepts for a state entirely free of selfishness and egotism. All our knowledge and imaginings depend upon and are colored by sensory experience and we cannot therefore envisage an existence without the body. 'Eye has not seen, ear has not heard', wrote St. Paul, 'what things God has prepared for all that love him '. And the Qur'an insists that every single one of its statements is an ayah, a 'parable', because we can only talk about God and the spirit in terms of signs or symbols - and that also goes for the great images of the Last Judgment or Paradise.
I personally think ]…] that religion is supposed to be about the loss of ego - not fantasies about its eternal survival in optimum conditions.
I suppose that is why the Chinese preferred to call the ultimate reality the Way, concentrating on the process of detaching oneself from ego by means of the discipline of compassion, rather than what lies at the end of the road - because this Way IS the transcendence we seek. 'The Kingdom of heaven is within you.’ A daily struggle]…] dethroning the ego from the center of our world and putting others in its place, can give us intimations of 'heaven' right here on earth.