The Great Ghost of Impermanence comes so unexpectedly that the spirit of the deceased drifts unconsciously without knowing his offenses and blessings. For forty-nine days they are as if in a state of delusion and deafness or under judgment for their karmic retributions. Once judgment is fixed, rebirths are undergone according to their karma. Pending judgment, the deceased has to go through myriads of sufferings, not to mention the agonies of falling to the evil paths.
(The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva)