Next life and the Buddhist path

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Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby Digity » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:20 am

One thing I worry about is whether I'll continue following Buddhism in my next life. I have no idea what that will be or whether I'll even be human. I strongly want to continue the path in my next life even though I struggle with it in this one. I wish I had some assurance that the next life would allow me to continue with it. What are you thoughts? Do you worry about this? It seems unless you've reached stream entry there's no guarantee what will happen. I would like to think that I've opened my "dharma eye". However, I sometimes wonder if I'm "accomplished" enough to be a true stream-entrant.
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby plwk » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:29 am

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai ... eleft.html
75. Hoping for far-off results
When lay people came to visit Luang Pu, he ordinarily wouldn't ask them about anything far away.
He'd usually ask, "Have you ever meditated?"
Some would respond that they had, others that they hadn't.

One woman, a member of the latter group, was more outspoken than the rest.
She said, "As I see it, there's no reason we have to go to all the trouble of meditating.
Every year I hear the Mahachaad sermon [a long, poetic chant of the Buddha's penultimate life, as Prince Vessantara] at least 13 times at many different temples.
The monks there say that listening to the Mahachaad story guarantees I'll be reborn in the time of the Buddha Sri Ariya Metteya, where I'll meet with nothing but pleasure and ease. So why should I make things difficult for myself by meditating?"

Luang Pu said,
"Things that are excellent are right in front of your face, and yet you don't show any interest.
Instead, you place your hopes on far-off things that are nothing but rumors. This is the mark of a person who's hopeless.
When the paths, fruitions, and nibbana of the dispensation of the Buddha Gotama are still with us, totally complete, and yet you dither around and don't show any interest in them, then when the dispensation of the Buddha Sri Ariya Metteya comes, you'll dither around even more."


88. Only practice can resolve doubt
When people asked Luang Pu about death and rebirth, or about past and future lives, he was never interested in answering.
Or if some people argued that they didn't believe that heaven or hell really existed, he never tried to reason with them or to cite evidence to defeat their arguments. Instead, he'd give them this piece of advice:

"People who practice the Dhamma don't have to give any thought to past or future lives, or to heaven or hell.
All they have to do is be firm and intent on practicing correctly in line with the principles of virtue, concentration, and discernment.

If there really are 16 levels of heaven as they say in the texts, people who practice well are sure to rise to those levels.
Or if heaven and nibbana don't exist, people who practice well don't lack for benefits here and now.
They're sure to be happy, as human beings on a high level.


"Listening to what other people say, looking things up in the texts, can't resolve your doubts.
You have to put effort into the practice to give rise to clear insight knowledge. That's when doubt will be totally resolved on its own."
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.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby thaijeppe » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:35 am

Hi Digity

Don't worry, just practise.

If you practise deligently and continously, develop Sila,Samadhi and Panna to the best of your abbilities, then you are on the path
and the possibilities about what will happen in the future are good, that is the whole idea of the path.
Remember don't use time on the past and the future, use all your energy in the present moment, and it will work out for you.

:anjali:
Jeppe
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you
let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely,
you will know complete peace and freedom.
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 23, 2012 1:36 am

There really is one thing to do, Digity - apply yourself earnestly in this life.
If you become a bon-sin-san sotapanna in this life then your future is assured.
In the dying words of a very wise man:
"Work out your salvation with diligence!"
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:28 am

Digity wrote:One thing I worry about is whether I'll continue following Buddhism in my next life. I have no idea what that will be or whether I'll even be human. I strongly want to continue the path in my next life even though I struggle with it in this one. I wish I had some assurance that the next life would allow me to continue with it. What are you thoughts? Do you worry about this? It seems unless you've reached stream entry there's no guarantee what will happen. I would like to think that I've opened my "dharma eye". However, I sometimes wonder if I'm "accomplished" enough to be a true stream-entrant.


That is a very useful worry and should give rise to more effort into direction of live in accordiance to Dhamma. I came accross some sentences today, maybe they help you to change worry in simply effort (as worry can be also a unwholsesome mindstate, especial if we do not walk on):

If such a neyya individual, knowing what is good for him according to his age, discards what should be discarded, searches for the right teacher, and obtains the right guidance from him and puts forth sufficient effort, he can obtain release from worldly ills in this very life. If, however, he becomes addicted to wrong views and wrong ways of conduct, if he finds himself unable to discard sensual pleasures, if although able to discard sensual pleasures he does not obtain the guidance of a good teacher, if although obtaining the guidance of a good teacher, he is unable to evoke sufficient effort, if although inclined to put forth effort he is unable to do so through old age, if although young he is liable to sickness, he cannot obtain release from worldly ills in this present life.


Neyya-Puggala:
Of these two classes of individuals, an individual of the neyya class can become a sotapanna in this present life if he faithfully practises the bodhipakkhiya-dhamma comprising satipatthana (four applications of mindfulness), sammapadhana (right exertion), else. If he is lax in his practice, he can become a sotapanna only in his next existence after being reborn in the deva planes. If he dies while still aloof from these (bodhipakkhiya) dhamma, such as satipatthana, etc., he will become a total loss so far as the present Buddha Sasana is concerned, but he can still attain release from worldly ills if he encounters the Sasana of the next Buddha.


See more her (under Four Classes of Individuals):
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby ground » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:30 am

Digity wrote:One thing I worry about is whether I'll continue following Buddhism in my next life.

You should be concerned with this life only and not cultivate speculations. :sage:
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby Hanzze » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:34 am

Some hours ago I gave your avatar a short thought while reading this.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby ground » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:37 am

Hanzze wrote:Some hours ago I gave your avatar a short thought while reading this.

All views originate dependently ... :sage:
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby Ben » Sun Sep 23, 2012 7:42 am

Please return to topic.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby whynotme » Sun Sep 23, 2012 8:57 am

Digity wrote:One thing I worry about is whether I'll continue following Buddhism in my next life. I have no idea what that will be or whether I'll even be human. I strongly want to continue the path in my next life even though I struggle with it in this one. I wish I had some assurance that the next life would allow me to continue with it. What are you thoughts? Do you worry about this? It seems unless you've reached stream entry there's no guarantee what will happen. I would like to think that I've opened my "dharma eye". However, I sometimes wonder if I'm "accomplished" enough to be a true stream-entrant.

Dear Digity,

I have the same feeling. IMO, you only open dharma eye when you are at least stream entrant, if you are not, then that eye has not opened yet. Stream entrant can not directly know he is a stream entrant.

And I think this feeling keep you on the right track, it is a good feeling. And the only way to make your wish closer is keep donating, sila, and practicing. And if someday you become a sotapana deva, please come back to this world, don't leave us here alone.

Regards
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby Digity » Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:45 pm

I would feel silly claiming myself as a stream-entrant, but at the same time my mind is pretty fixated on the Buddha's teachings. I think about them constantly throughout the day. I just couldn't see my life without them. So, they have become a strong focal point in my life. When I first learned about Buddhism I just had this "Eureka!" moment like this was the teachings I've been looking for, because before I found Buddhism I was seeking some sort of "truth" in life. However, I felt desperate, because everywhere I looked I was left with a sense of confusion. I didn't buy into Christianity or any other religion. Once I came across the Buddha's teaching I was floored...because it was finally something that made sense and spoke directly to what I was experiencing. I really feel like the Buddha's teachings are the most amazing discovery...nothing will surpass it. I'm just amazed when others don't share the same feeling. For instance, I tried to get my sister interested in Buddhism, but she never really cared about the teachings. I understand now that people are just different and their minds are oriented in different way.

Having said all that, I get frustrated because the practice isn't easy. I just wish seeing the teachings was enough, but it requires a long process of development. That's the part that scares me, because it's hard to judge progress at times. I usually bring mindfulness in at this point. I'm constantly evaluating my inner world to see if it's becoming more clear and refined. In some areas it is and in other areas it continues to be a mess. There's certain aspects of my personality, which I feel will always be flawed...like my anxiety...and I wonder if I'll ever experience serious inner peace because of these flaws. Maybe this is silly, but sometimes I feel like I need to be reborn into a more calmer, collected body to truly progress in the practice. Not sure what to make of this, but at the end of the day I guess you just have to do your best and leave it at that.
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby m0rl0ck » Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:06 pm

In my opinion, and this is shared by others, (check the sig) there is almost nothing that sabotages otherwise good practice like the idea of progress. I have been doing some kind of buddhist meditation practice for most of the last 20 years and at times its still difficult, but its very much worth it.

Practice is one of the most difficult things i think i have ever done and i dont really ever remember talking to anyone who thought it was easy. Be kind to yourself, especially in the beginning, just relax as much as you can and dont judge yourself. One of the teachers that at a local zendo told me that meditation practice was about two things, staying and returning. Stay on your meditation object and when you get distracted return. He said that as long as you are doing those two things you are doing it "right".

The problems and anxieties and negative personality traits that disturb you may always be there, but what i think practice can do is to lessen their grip, negative mind states become more fleeting and less painful and engaging.

IMO though, especially in the beginning, the most important thing is to relax, do the method and dont judge yourself when you dont meet some arbitrary standard you have set for yourself.

Its good to make it a habit too, just a few minutes every day maybe right after you get up. Heres is a page with some meditation timers that may help http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/ ... on-timers/
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby thaijeppe » Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:12 am

digity wrote
I'm constantly evaluating my inner world to see if it's becoming more clear and refined. In some areas it is and in other areas it continues to be a mess. There's certain aspects of my personality, which I feel will always be flawed...like my anxiety...and I wonder if I'll ever experience serious inner peace because of these flaws. Maybe this is silly, but sometimes I feel like I need to be reborn into a more calmer, collected body to truly progress in the practice. Not sure what to make of this, but at the end of the day I guess you just have to do your best and leave it at that.


Try to think less and be more in the present, with all your thinking and evaluating, you are just making it more difficult.


:anjali:
Jeppe
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you
let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace. If you let go completely,
you will know complete peace and freedom.
Ajahn Chah
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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby whynotme » Mon Sep 24, 2012 6:56 am

Digity wrote:I would feel silly claiming myself as a stream-entrant, but at the same time my mind is pretty fixated on the Buddha's teachings. I think about them constantly throughout the day. I just couldn't see my life without them. So, they have become a strong focal point in my life. When I first learned about Buddhism I just had this "Eureka!" moment like this was the teachings I've been looking for, because before I found Buddhism I was seeking some sort of "truth" in life. However, I felt desperate, because everywhere I looked I was left with a sense of confusion. I didn't buy into Christianity or any other religion. Once I came across the Buddha's teaching I was floored...because it was finally something that made sense and spoke directly to what I was experiencing. I really feel like the Buddha's teachings are the most amazing discovery...nothing will surpass it. I'm just amazed when others don't share the same feeling. For instance, I tried to get my sister interested in Buddhism, but she never really cared about the teachings. I understand now that people are just different and their minds are oriented in different way.

Having said all that, I get frustrated because the practice isn't easy. I just wish seeing the teachings was enough, but it requires a long process of development. That's the part that scares me, because it's hard to judge progress at times. I usually bring mindfulness in at this point. I'm constantly evaluating my inner world to see if it's becoming more clear and refined. In some areas it is and in other areas it continues to be a mess. There's certain aspects of my personality, which I feel will always be flawed...like my anxiety...and I wonder if I'll ever experience serious inner peace because of these flaws. Maybe this is silly, but sometimes I feel like I need to be reborn into a more calmer, collected body to truly progress in the practice. Not sure what to make of this, but at the end of the day I guess you just have to do your best and leave it at that.

lol, I have exactly the same thing here. I found that Buddhism is the most important thing in my life and how lucky I am that I found it. I wouldn't exchange it for anything, even I have messes in my life that seems there is no solution for it. Well, maybe I had made mistakes in the past, but it isn't much important anymore, bearing the physical pain and metal pain, because of past actions, it is not easy, but is a must. No one can evade his kamma.

I know sometimes the Buddha defined sotapana is this and that, it is so easy to meet the requirements. But consider all the mess I have, I don't think much about it.

I am grateful my parents, and the Buddha taught the best thank is to convert them to Buddhism. I tried but failed and I don't care much. Well, maybe we are just strangers met on a crossroad of samsara, I give them the best I have but they refused, not much is my problem. But with all behaviours and attitude, and many hard tries, they now seem not so against Buddhism any more.

Sometimes I experience serious inner peace, but it doesn't solve my problems. IMO, the more suffering you have, the more fuel you store. Life depends on conditions, one day when the fruit is mature, you may use all that fuel for a never came back journey.

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Re: Next life and the Buddhist path

Postby Caraka » Mon Sep 24, 2012 7:49 am

I tend to focus on the small things, that I know I actual are able to change into the better. E.g. not be mind discriminating when I remember, helping when condition arise, saying no thanks to drinking, practise more concentration which again helps me with my defilements. However I have no idea what birth my future death will result in, but this is the only way I can improve myself and in anyway it can't become worse than what I have been(non-improved,non-developed,ignorant). Assuming that my future being actual represent a positive development over my presence being.
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