Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby past is dead » Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:51 pm

Hello all

How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?

Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?

Can it hinders the progress in meditation?
past is dead
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:53 pm
Location: Macedonia

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby SamKR » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:08 am

past is dead wrote:
How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?

I do.

Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?

No.

Can it hinders the progress in meditation?

No.
SamKR
 
Posts: 758
Joined: Sun Jul 19, 2009 4:33 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:59 am

I think many of the attitudes that lead people to immediately disregard these things can also lead to serious problems in meditation, but a wise and healthy agnosticism should pose no problems.
User avatar
LonesomeYogurt
 
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Coyote » Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:19 am

I don't think it is belief in these "beings" that is the main point of the teaching - that we can remain agnostic about. Rather it is an understanding of the moral cause-and-effect between past, present and future states, which would include rewarding or "heavenly" states, and deprived or "hellish" states, that is vital and would be a hindrance if rejected.

"And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view..."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... index.html

That said, I do believe, because I don't really see any difference between aforementioned states and the beings inhabiting them.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
Coyote
 
Posts: 537
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:42 pm
Location: Wales - UK

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Bonsai Doug » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:17 pm

I recall reading that in the suttas are references to thirty-one planes/realms of existence into which beings can be reborn. I wonder if these ghosts might be those in the Hungry Shades/Ghosts realm (peta loka)? I seem to recall that this realm is in close connection to the manussa loka, where we are now living.

Just a thought.....
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

~ Tibetan Book of the Dead
User avatar
Bonsai Doug
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 4:59 pm
Location: Finger Lakes area of NY

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby drifting cloud » Wed Feb 13, 2013 1:33 am

past is dead wrote:How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?


I do.

past is dead wrote:Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?


No, although you might want to examine your use of "supernatural" and "deity" here.

For one thing, I don't necessarily think these beings are "supernatural" in the sense of standing outside the order of nature - they are subject to the same natural laws of sickness, aging and death that all sentient beings are. Buddhism conceives of the order of nature as being quite broad, but even devas and brahmas exist within, rather than outside of, the natural order. This is a subtle point, but it's important because there is a big distinction between how the beings of the 31 planes are understood in Buddhism vs. the way that the Judeo-Christian God is understood.

Secondly these beings are not worshiped by the Buddhist practitioner, so I'm not sure if "deity" is the right word here. The most I've seen are some parittas (protective Suttas) that call on the power of certain beings like nagas and devas for protection, and rituals that involve expelling troublesome ghosts, but these are peripheral the main practice of Buddhism (getting free of suffering).

past is dead wrote:Can it hinders the progress in meditation?


As others have mentioned, it depends entirely on your attitude. There is no need to accept something on blind faith, but I would not write something off just because it lies outside the realm of your experience.
User avatar
drifting cloud
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:24 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby whynotme » Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:23 pm

past is dead wrote:Hello all

How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?

Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?

Can it hinders the progress in meditation?

You should read kalama sutta, one of very best suttas out there.
Please stop following me
whynotme
 
Posts: 388
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2011 5:52 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby past is dead » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:33 pm

whynotme wrote:
past is dead wrote:Hello all

How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?

Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?

Can it hinders the progress in meditation?

You should read kalama sutta, one of very best suttas out there.


I don't believe, but that does not mean that they don't exist. Maybe my belief will change as my understanding deepens with time and practice :)
past is dead
 
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:53 pm
Location: Macedonia

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby SarathW » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:05 pm

I believe that there is some form of fine material existence.
I have seem smoke like thing past me three times. I have spoken to three people who have seen them.
My problem is why I can’t see them all the time.
SarathW
 
Posts: 1765
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby mogg » Sun Apr 21, 2013 12:45 pm

Yes I believe in devas and Brahmas. I have had no personal experience with either (that I am aware of) but know some people who have.

I know ghosts are real after having a ghost experience in Ireland a few years back at my sister's wedding. After many decades of disbelieving ghosts and ridiculing those that did (my pre-Buddhist days), it only took one encounter to undergo a complete paradigm shift. Now I'm open to anything.

I don't think belief in any of these is necessary at the beginning of the spiritual journey, but in time they will become part of one's worldview.
mogg
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:44 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:14 pm

past is dead wrote:Hello all

How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?

Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?

Can it hinders the progress in meditation?


I don't necessarily dismiss the possibility, but it's best to maintain a skeptical attitude with regard to ghost stories. Most of them on investigation turn out to be bunk. I've noticed that the people who share these stories tend to be the same people who clutter my e-mail inbox with various internet hoaxes (which they have fallen for) and urban legends. In brief, they are too credulous.

Skeptical doubt is a hindrance in meditation, but in normal daily life it can be very helpful. There's an entire industry which profits from people who lack this facility.
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 778
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Alex123 » Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:29 pm

past is dead wrote:How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas? ?


I don't believe in them if their image is taken literally. But if given the proper evidence, I would.

Maybe a possible way to reconcile that with current science is that those are viruses and bacteria?

As for seeing ghosts, etc: How do we know that it is not hallucination? Hallucination can appear very real, and I don't doubt the honesty and sincerity of those who say that they have seen them.

Personally, if I would see a ghost - first I would make sure that I am not dreaming, second I would investigate what was in my tea/coffee...
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
User avatar
Alex123
 
Posts: 2799
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:30 pm

past is dead wrote:Hello all

How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?

Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?

Can it hinders the progress in meditation?


Hello Past is Dead,

It depends on what you mean by "believe". I believe that experience is interpreted in many ways. I believe that the way an individual perceives and interprets their experience is real on that level. For now I will call this the level of phenomena. Some phenomena are more subtle than others. For example many people might agree that a certain location (say a hill) produces an uplifting or inspiring feeling. They might describe this experience of the hill as like being influenced by a personality. People who come to the hill might have the sense that this personality has a responsive quality with relation to their inner dialogue so that they are able to see the way they tend to think from a new perspective. All of this is actual as far as I'm concerned. Much of it is likely going to be supported by the suggestion of others but isn't much of our experience of actual people highly influenced by what we have already heard about them from others?

I Believe Gods, Devas, and the like all exist on the level of phenomena. I have experienced them myself even though I have no desire to project them into a more substantial form. The level on which they actually exist in experience has its own practical value within that limited sphere. For the purposes of meditation I think this is a valuable position to take. If I were to spend energy on asserting the non existence of these phenomena I would cut myself off from the practical value they can have. I think a person who wastes energy on asserting the existence of these phenomena is better off since they can at least make use of their subtle value, but of course this will come with its own set of problems.


Take Care

Prasadachitta
Last edited by Prasadachitta on Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
User avatar
Prasadachitta
 
Posts: 974
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby mogg » Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:56 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
past is dead wrote:Hello all

How many of you guys believe in ghosts, devas, and brahmas?

Do you think it's a must to believe in these supernatural deities in order to be a practitioner of Buddhism?

Can it hinders the progress in meditation?


I don't necessarily dismiss the possibility, but it's best to maintain a skeptical attitude with regard to ghost stories. Most of them on investigation turn out to be bunk. I've noticed that the people who share these stories tend to be the same people who clutter my e-mail inbox with various internet hoaxes (which they have fallen for) and urban legends. In brief, they are too credulous.

Skeptical doubt is a hindrance in meditation, but in normal daily life it can be very helpful. There's an entire industry which profits from people who lack this facility.

Agreed that a healthy dose of skepticism is wise when dealing with these issues, but you do realise that you've painted the Buddha and all the great Arahants with that broad brush stroke.
mogg
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:44 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:47 pm

mogg wrote:Agreed that a healthy dose of skepticism is wise when dealing with these issues, but you do realise that you've painted the Buddha and all the great Arahants with that broad brush stroke.


Have I? I didn't realize that, and it wasn't my intention to do so.

The suttas mention ghosts, devas and brahmas. As far as I know, all these beings may exist. My experience, though, is that most examples of ghost sightings do not hold up under investigation, and that the people sharing these stories have not investigated them thoroughly.

I have seen this numerous times, including on Buddhist discussion boards. Someone in great excitement posts a thread about this or that paranormal phenomenon. My interest aroused, I search around on Google and find that the claim has been debunked -- and that the person could have found this out easily with just a little critical inquiry.

That's all I meant! :)
User avatar
Lazy_eye
 
Posts: 778
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Spiny Norman » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:44 pm

past is dead wrote:I don't believe, but that does not mean that they don't exist. Maybe my belief will change as my understanding deepens with time and practice :)


There is no need to believe in these things, but also no need to disbelieve either.
Well, oi dunno...
User avatar
Spiny Norman
 
Posts: 2177
Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:32 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Mojo » Mon Apr 22, 2013 5:41 pm

I've met people of all different temperments.
User avatar
Mojo
 
Posts: 138
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:23 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Mindstar » Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:15 am

Through my investigation in the topic i belive that Ghosts, Devas and Brahmas exist in a multidimensional universe.
The term Deva refers to a being that exists on a higher dimensional level of reality.
So called "extraterestrials" would only be devas if they were able to travel multidimensionally.

You might want to check out Steven Greers new Documentary if you want to have a serious investigation on the topic:

“Sirius” from Emmy Award winning director Amardeep Kaleka (“Neverending Light”), producer J.D Seraphine and narrated by actor Thomas Jane (“Hung”) will have a gala celebrity premiere on April 22 in Hollywood followed by a limited national theatrical release on April 24.

The explosive documentary deals with the subject of UFO disclosure and clean energy. “Sirius” was also one of the most successful crowd funding initiatives ever produced. The film includes Government and Military witnesses to the UFO secrecy, explains the connection to Free Energy and provides the vision of Contact with ET Civilizations as witnessed by the CE-5 contact teams. Never before has this wealth of information and footage been shown to the public.

“This really is the greatest story never told” says Dr. Greer, “Once people understand that classified projects have figured out how UFO’s operate, they will realize we no longer need oil, coal and nuclear power. This is the truth that has driven the secrecy.”

According to Thomas Jane, “The Sirius documentary is a powerful and important film that I encourage everyone to watch with an open mind as it truly speaks to the heart of the people who, like me, are probably okay with the government keeping secrets from its people in the name of national security, but is not okay with a secret government.”

“Given the possibility that there was something profound to explore here – something that could potentially open minds to new realms and new possibilities – we seized the opportunity to take on this project. For every story we told, we found hundreds of others. Our goal is to initiate our audience on the same journey – to open their minds and inspire them to search – and freely consider that there is more in this world than we may ever know” adds director Kaleka.


ABOUT THE DISCLOSURE PROJECT:


The Disclosure Project is a research project working to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems

They have the testimony of over 100 government, military and intelligence witnesses on file testifying to their direct, personal, firsthand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret. There are hundreds more who have witnessed similar events.
Wherever he goes, there he is unafraid.. Wherever he sleeps, there he is unalarmed!
The nights and days does neither touch nor burn him. He sees nothing in this world
that is to be kept or lost.. Therefore his mind dwells in goodwill and gentle kindness
towards all beings until he falls asleep.
SN I 110
User avatar
Mindstar
 
Posts: 72
Joined: Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:44 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby mogg » Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:02 am

Mindstar wrote:Through my investigation in the topic i belive that Ghosts, Devas and Brahmas exist in a multidimensional universe.
The term Deva refers to a being that exists on a higher dimensional level of reality.
So called "extraterestrials" would only be devas if they were able to travel multidimensionally.

You might want to check out Steven Greers new Documentary if you want to have a serious investigation on the topic:

“Sirius” from Emmy Award winning director Amardeep Kaleka (“Neverending Light”), producer J.D Seraphine and narrated by actor Thomas Jane (“Hung”) will have a gala celebrity premiere on April 22 in Hollywood followed by a limited national theatrical release on April 24.

The explosive documentary deals with the subject of UFO disclosure and clean energy. “Sirius” was also one of the most successful crowd funding initiatives ever produced. The film includes Government and Military witnesses to the UFO secrecy, explains the connection to Free Energy and provides the vision of Contact with ET Civilizations as witnessed by the CE-5 contact teams. Never before has this wealth of information and footage been shown to the public.

“This really is the greatest story never told” says Dr. Greer, “Once people understand that classified projects have figured out how UFO’s operate, they will realize we no longer need oil, coal and nuclear power. This is the truth that has driven the secrecy.”

According to Thomas Jane, “The Sirius documentary is a powerful and important film that I encourage everyone to watch with an open mind as it truly speaks to the heart of the people who, like me, are probably okay with the government keeping secrets from its people in the name of national security, but is not okay with a secret government.”

“Given the possibility that there was something profound to explore here – something that could potentially open minds to new realms and new possibilities – we seized the opportunity to take on this project. For every story we told, we found hundreds of others. Our goal is to initiate our audience on the same journey – to open their minds and inspire them to search – and freely consider that there is more in this world than we may ever know” adds director Kaleka.


ABOUT THE DISCLOSURE PROJECT:


The Disclosure Project is a research project working to fully disclose the facts about UFOs, extraterrestrial intelligence, and classified advanced energy and propulsion systems

They have the testimony of over 100 government, military and intelligence witnesses on file testifying to their direct, personal, firsthand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and the cover-up that keeps this information secret. There are hundreds more who have witnessed similar events.

I will try to keep an open mind when watching this documentary, but I must confess, when I listen to this guy my BS detector lights up like a Xmas tree.
mogg
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 11:44 am

Re: Ghosts, devas, and brahmās?

Postby Digity » Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:00 am

I give little thought to ghosts, devas and brahmas. My focus is more on what's in front of me.
Digity
 
Posts: 554
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Next

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 16 guests