nathan wrote:I've never been able to get my head around the point of preparing to deal with a metaphorical heaven or hell. I'd deal with the metaphorical suffering involved as well if that were the case. It makes about as much sense to me as working towards an allegorical awakening or a hypothetical maturation of insight wisdom. No need to weary me about how it is all happening in the present. Effectively speak to happening your way out of it continuing to happen from this present onward and you'll have my attention pronto. Spend that time trying to convince me that existence isn't happening also right now in a literal hell or a literal heaven and you are wasting both of our time. We are here, now. Best get to it before the hells or whatever else are as well. The whole modern inclination to blithely dismiss everything unknown to homo-prosaicus as unscientific is about to fall apart before everyone's eyes in the upcoming decades. It will be especially messy for those who have sheltered under the awning of that thin rhetoric. It does seem as if hell is willing to put in an appearance here on earth as an effective challenge to that conventional wisdom already. It also looks like the other team is probably going to sit this one out in the metaphorical grandstands.
Well they arent metaphorical as mind states, they are quite real
Spend that time trying to convince me that existence isn't happening also right now in a literal hell or a literal heaven and you are wasting both of our time. We are here,
I agree that there is heaven and hell right here, right now. They can be entered into at anytime via wholesome or unwholesome intentions
However Buddhism doesnt really hinge on if there is heaven or hell after death, the first noble truth states there is
suffering, as in right here
Talking about heaven or hell that might be after death isnt really connected with Dukkha or its quenching and so its not the core of Buddhadhamma, its just going into speculation, reguardless of how real or not they are
To call something a foundation of the Buddhist Teachings is only correct if firstly, it is a principle which aims at the extinction of Dukkha  and, secondly, it has a logic that one can see for oneself without having to believe others. These are the important constituents of a foundation.
The Buddha refused to have any dealing with those things which don't lead to the extinction of Dukkha. Take the question of whether or not there. is rebirth. What is reborn? How is it reborn? What is its kammic inheritance  ? These questions are not aimed at the extinction of Dukkha. That being so they are not Buddhist teaching and they are not connected with it. They do not lie in the sphere of Buddhism. Also, the one who asks about such matters has no choice but to indiscriminately believe the answer he's given, because the one who answers is not going to be able to produce any proofs, he's just going to speak according to his memory and feeling. The listener can't see for himself and so has to blindly believe "the other's words. Little by little the matter strays from Dhamma until it's something else altogether, unconnected with the extinction of Dukkha.
Now, if one doesn't raise those sort of problems, one can ask instead, "Is there Dukkha?" and "How can Dukkha be extinguished ?". To these questions the Buddha agreed to answer and the listener can see the truth of every word of his answer without having to blindly believe them, see more and more clearly until he understands. And if one understands to the extent of being able to extinguish Dukkha, then that is the ultimate understanding. One knows that, even at this moment, there is no person living; one sees without doubt that there is no self or anything belonging to a self. There is just a feeling of "I" and "mine" arising due to the foolishness whereby one is deluded by the beguiling nature of sense - experience.
Therefore, there being no one born here, there is no one who dies and is reborn. So, the whole Question of rebirth is utterly foolish and nothing to do with Buddhism at all.
Ajhan Buddhadasahttp://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books ... o_Tree.htm