Sorry to butt into the discussion, I just thought I'd add that little tid-bit.
I don't think any of this was in the original Buddhism, but it got into it pretty early so it's hard to say. In Thailand one of the best ways to get yourself into a pretty nice heaven for a good long time is for a son to become a monk.
I don't know that I care to post my personal view of these ideas.
Edited by Frank Merton, 10 March 2013 - 03:14 PM.