Lazy_eye wrote:Rebirth in the heavenly realm seems to be a fairly common goal for laypeople, and perhaps even some monastics. It's one of the "six remembrances", for instance. But I'm a little unclear on why anyone would want to strive for this. Conditions in the heavenly realms are said to be very pleasant, but they are not optimal for practicing the dhamma. So wouldn't it make a lot more sense to aim for a human rebirth? (Granted, we don't necessarily have control of this...but I mean in terms of intentions).
For an ordinary layperson, why not seek to produce the kammic conditions that would enable further development of the path in a future (human) life? If you get to heaven, sooner or later you'll use up the merit and fall back into the lower realms, which means you'll have to wait eons until that blind turtle finds its head caught in the yoke again.
What exactly can be accomplished in heaven? Is there something I've missed here?
"So, Anuruddha, it is not for the purpose of scheming to deceive people or for the purpose of flattering people or for the purpose of gain, honour, and renown, or with the thought " let people know me to be thus", that when a disciple has died, the Tathagata declares his reappearance thus "so-and-so has reappeared in such-and-such a place" Rather, it is because there are faithful clansmen inspired and gladdened by what is lofty, who when they hear that, direct their minds to such a state, and that leads to their welfare and happiness for a long time"
1. of majestic or imposing height
2. morally admirable: lofty ideals
3. unpleasantly superior: a lofty contempt
Such aspiration helps lead people to be moral, which helps them to progress to the Buddhas own teachings, the 4 noble truths