Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

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Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Individual » Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:39 pm

I'll try to be brief. Tell me if any of this makes sense? This isn't all just stuff I read from Wikipedia. It's reading Wikipedia and then trying to fill in the gaps intuitively. :)

Here goes...

"Where Buddhas live", not listed because it's inappropriate to call it a realm, but it is inappropriate to say no such realm exists. Buddhas can go wherever they want and take whatever form or formless, subtle or gross state they want without restrictions or karmic effects. And not "want," in the sense of either intention or desire.

  • Formless realms: one for each of the four formless jhanas. Just mind, no body.
  • Form realms: Physical places (not in our universe, though); you get a subtle body, because of subtle desire (for form) rather than sensual desire (for particular sense-pleasures).
    • Pure Abodes: Place for non-returners. From lowest to highest: Not-falling, untroubled, beautiful, clear-seeing. All are not-falling, but you can be not-falling, but not necessarily untroubled, beautiful, or clear-seeing. You can be not-falling and untroubled, but not necessarily beautiful and clear-seeing, etc..
    • Other four immaterial realms: One realm for each jhana of form, sub-divided by the immaterial jhana they connect with most. (Only 3 sub-divisions, not the expected 4 because it's not possible to have the jhana of nothingness combined with anything but the fourth jhana, because you can't perceive nothing and form at the same time. And even if you could, that would be neither perception nor non-perception. And only if the fourth jhana is sufficiently strong enough.)
  • Desire realms: Where we are. You get a gross body (a sensual body?), because of sensual desire.
    • Upper desire realms are associated with the creation of objects of desire (where objects of creation are truly made; in the lower realms, it is merely a manifestation). Mara lives here (the desire realm is regarded as his domain), but the beings in this realm are not all necessarily malevolent.
    • Lower desire realms are primarily concerned with using and consuming these objects, the physical act of creation and for taking credit for their creation.
      • Realms of Sumeru: The five\six realms of Samsara we're probably familiar with. Places for beings concerned primarily with sensual desire. Sub-divided according to the types of sensual desire which tend to correlate.
        • Upper realms of Sumeru: Devas concerned, not with creation in general, but specifically with the governance of the human realm (the sky, moon, sun, time, planets, etc.). As extraordinary as that sounds, their power is very limited. Devas are generally more blissful, asuras are generally more negative, and the two are opposed, while the Four Great Kings are equanimous.
        • Human\Earth realms: No idea why there's four of them. Separated by cakravadas... something like the universe's event horizon?
        • Woeful realms: Animal realm (ignorance), Preta realms (great pity for one's self and hunger), hell realms (a great hatred for self & others and outrageous greed).

...This isn't a Theravada idea, but... The "jeweled net of Indra" in Mahayana means that the whole Buddhist cosmology is contained within each sentient being's mind, because each contains a mixture of all the qualities related to each realm, and then reflects these qualities towards others. :)
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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby BlackBird » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:37 pm

Individual wrote:"Where Buddhas live", not listed because it's inappropriate to call it a realm, but it is inappropriate to say no such realm exists. Buddhas can go wherever they want and take whatever form or formless, subtle or gross state they want without restrictions or karmic effects. And not "want," in the sense of either intention or desire.


Individual wrote:...This isn't a Theravada idea


You can say that again.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Individual » Sun Oct 31, 2010 11:48 pm

Blackbird, do you object to the whole thread or just the part about Buddhas?
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby BlackBird » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:01 am

Just the part about Buddhas. According to Theravada, Asuras are below the human realm, also.
"And so, because this Teaching is so different from what Westerners are accustomed to, they will try to adapt the Teaching to their own framework. What they need to learn to do is not to adapt the Teaching to their own point of view but to adapt their own point of view to the Teaching. This is called saddhá, or faith, and it means giving oneself to the Teaching even if the Teaching is contrary to one’s own preconceived notions of the way things are."- Ven Bodhesako

Nanavira Thera's teachings - An existential approach to the Dhamma | Ven. Bodhesako's essay on anicca
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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby clw_uk » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:08 am

Does this understanding help you at all in abandoning dukkha?
Open your mind and see, open your mind and rise. Shine the light of wisdom and see, don't wait till the end of time.
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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:30 am

clw_uk wrote:Does this understanding help you at all in abandoning dukkha?

Not me, but the knowledge is a correlate with understanding it and it might be helpful to someone.

If it was useless with regard to abandoning dukkha, the Buddha wouldn't have taught it either. :)
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby plwk » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:38 am

...the Buddha wouldn't have taught it either

Here's a not so 'Theravada' question...did the Buddha 'teach' anything? :tongue: :namaste:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Individual » Mon Nov 01, 2010 3:53 am

plwk wrote:
...the Buddha wouldn't have taught it either

Here's a not so 'Theravada' question...did the Buddha 'teach' anything? :tongue: :namaste:

There are a number of ways I could answer that.

None of them would spare me the embarrassment of this thread or remove sensual-desire and its objects.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Nov 01, 2010 5:25 am

I find that these spectrums of potential physical come mental proximities are very helpful in having a sense of where certain sorts of karma might lead. I find that to hold these spectrum's of being in my mind as a general layout of what I might expect throughout existence gives meaning and focus to how I act intentionally in the present.

Metta

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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Kenshou » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:48 am

plwk wrote:...did the Buddha 'teach' anything? :tongue: :namaste:

I'm gonna go with... yes?
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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Aloka » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:07 pm

The different realms can be interpreted as mental states. Not only do I believe that myself but a Tibetan Buddhist teacher said the same thing to me too, and Bhikkhu Buddhadasa said something similar in 'Two Kinds of Language'.

It's not really relevant to my practice to speculate about literal different realms otherwise. Can anyone show me them?
I doubt it.




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Re: Buddhist cosmology makes sense now.

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Nov 01, 2010 7:23 pm

Kenshou wrote:
plwk wrote:...did the Buddha 'teach' anything? :tongue: :namaste:

I'm gonna go with... yes?

I'll join you in going with yes....for more than 40 years..to anyone with "only a little dust in their eyes". Mainly because this was not stuff that they could somehow figure out for themselves.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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