Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:17 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
clw_uk wrote:I agree with Pink, all the hells are right here, they can be in the next mind moment

Many people do not believe in literal hell realms. I wonder if those same people believe that a human being can be reborn after death in the animal realms, for example as a horse, bird, fish, or insect. Those realms of existence are undeniably real.



Greetings Bhante

I dont deny animals, what i dont (currently) suscribe to is that he taught there is a rebirth of counsciousness after death into animals, or other realms

The Buddhas noble teachings are about removing all sense of "I" so one can abide in Voidness and truly be at peace, not about reincarnation


Metta
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby Ben » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:42 pm

Hi Craig

I think its a mistake to separate the Buddha's teachings from post-mortem rebirth. In fact, I don't believe you can separate the two without distorting the Buddha's teachings to one's own predelictions and delusions. No personal criticism intended. If you survey the Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma you will see that the doctrine of rebirth not only appears everywhere you look, but key aspects of the teachings don't make much sense without rebirth.

If, Craig, you find the concept of rebirth hard to accept, then for the time being lay it to the side and continue with your practice. Denying the reality of rebirth without having developed your own experiential wisdom may become an obstruction for further development on the path. For the time being, consider trying to keep your mind open with relation to some aspects of the teaching that are challenging for you.
Metta

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby Ordinaryperson » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:20 am

I think the best thing to do is to try to understand Realms of Existence and to investigate them a bit more as such teaching is not there simply to force us into submission using scare tactic. They are explained by Buddha for a good reason. i.e. some of us might end up there one day if we simply thread the wrong path.

So if one does not consider the Realms of Existence as real then what about sentient beings?

:anjali:

p/s: I am pleased to see Bhikkhu Pesala posting again as I think he was excluded from another forum.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:51 am

Hi Ordinaryperson

Ordinaryperson wrote:p/s: I am pleased to see Bhikkhu Pesala posting again.


Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Sangham saranam gacchami!
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:35 am

This is a time of dissolution when all our hungrily cherished institutionalized towers of babel (babble) are crumbling away (whether we acknowledge it or not). The modern world is peaking in babble-time as the foundations of our most revered stories are revealing themselves as false.

Look at xtianity with millions of fervent believers, churches numbering in the hundreds of thousands, millions of serious theological books, billions of lines of biblical commentary, endless biblical debate - that have all been all based on the false assumption that Jesus was an actual person, and that there is somewhere a literal heaven and hell within which we will be literally reborn based on our actions - all crumbling away in light of modern scholarly research and the growing awareness that "Jesus" was an allegorical figure that symbolized the Sun - part of an ancient imaginative framework used to tell a ancient astronomy story about the cyclical movements of "The Heavens" and the real, verifiable effects that these movements have on the planet and it's inhabitants. Practical stories that have been spun into amnesia-spawned nonsensical babble - the original wisdom message (science and a medicinal way of life, not theology) buried and hidden - replaced by literalism and a fear-based moral code, with the symbolic references either no longer recognized or wrongly interpreted in ways that reify the delusion.

Buddhist symbology and the Buddhist Suttas are chock-a-block full of references to this same exact story and include myriad symbolic references that match those found in the wisdom stories of nearly all premodern societies that all were telling the same story as the one that was encoded into a popular story about a wise man (who varied from culture to culture), born of a virgin birth, lived as a prince, who let go of the old way, and offered humankind a new way - a survival guide for life in an ever-changing world - specifically referencing the gap time of chaos that arises between eras. It is interesting to note that the approximatized date of the "Buddha's birth" coincides with an important, significant milestone in the movements of the Sun and solar system through the approx. 26,000 year wheel of time - that was known and witnessed by nearly all premodern advanced cultures (and verified by modern astronomy). Wheel, lion, pillar, broken axil, fig tree, etc... just a few among many symbols that play important roles in this ancient widespread body of astronomical knowledge. Also, it isn't just coincidence that the system of symbolic numbers found in Buddhism far predate the institution of Buddhism itself in premodern teachings from around the globe - related to astronomy. Did "The Buddha" exist? Or was he yet another allegorical representation of "The Light of the World" (budh), coinciding with the Sun moving into the current astronomical era? Imo, he (perhaps) only existed as Siddhārtha Gautama, who was aware of the astronomical wisdom of his time (having had the benefit of education afforded to the wealthy) and who taught humanity through psychology, parable, and allegory how to live on a volatile, ever-changing planet with a mind prone to building towers of babble and then believing them to the detriment of all living beings.

The intelligent medicinal practices found within Buddhism can be verified in this life, not just within our own experience - but also when we extend our understanding of them as being one part of a terrestrial survival guide for all living beings - part science, part practical application. Everything else (especially literal interpretations of post mortem literal rebirth) is best viewed with one eyebrow mindfully raised, ideally within a broad global context that includes related wisdom teachings that predate the institution of Buddhism. It's a time to look outside the box, and we have the tools to do it - or we can cling to the tower. I see this as consistent with the Dharma (which the institution of Buddhism set out to contain).
Last edited by pink_trike on Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby Ben » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:37 am

Hi Pink

There is no clinging going on. I am merely suggesting that one puts to the side for the time being any part of the doctrine that is unacceptable and to keep one's mind open. It is one's own wisdom, developed through the practice of samatha and vipassana and through the development of one's paramitas, that will answer questions regarding the reality of rebirth, kamma or some other aspect/s of the teaching that one may dismiss as smbolism or cultural accretion. This is what I think the Buddha extolled his disciples when he said Ehi passiko! (see for yourself!)
Metta

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 22, 2009 3:45 am

Yes, I completely agree (up to a point). ;)
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Re: be heedful

Postby Will » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:19 am

If the jhanas are experiences of the deva realms and the jhanas are states of the human mind, why would it not also be true that profound "meditations" on hatred or desire or corruption etc. would let a human mind know the hells?

In short, what is the difference, if any, between the hell (or heaven) experienced from the human environment now and the post-mortem hell (or heaven) experience?
This noble eightfold path is the ancient path traveled by all the Buddhas of eons past. Nagara Sutta
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:41 am

Ben wrote:Hi Craig

I think its a mistake to separate the Buddha's teachings from post-mortem rebirth. In fact, I don't believe you can separate the two without distorting the Buddha's teachings to one's own predelictions and delusions. No personal criticism intended. If you survey the Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma you will see that the doctrine of rebirth not only appears everywhere you look, but key aspects of the teachings don't make much sense without rebirth.

If, Craig, you find the concept of rebirth hard to accept, then for the time being lay it to the side and continue with your practice. Denying the reality of rebirth without having developed your own experiential wisdom may become an obstruction for further development on the path. For the time being, consider trying to keep your mind open with relation to some aspects of the teaching that are challenging for you.
Metta

Ben



Hi Ben

I dont advert from rebirth, i did accept it

Could you elaborate on how taking away post-mortem rebirth distorts the teachings? Im not trying to be confronational :smile: but if i understand your argument for it then i could answer you more fully (perhaps in the rebirth topic since it would probably be out of place in this thread)


No personal criticism intended


None taken :smile: , no one here to offend only empty khandas

If you survey the Sutta Pitaka and the Abhidhamma you will see that the doctrine of rebirth not only appears everywhere you look, but key aspects of the teachings don't make much sense without rebirth.


I know its in the Abhidhamma but i dont go to that for teachings (much). I dont deny that its in the suttas but you will notice that most of the time, its in discussion with brahmins or jains etc. The Buddhas own noble teachings pointed out that having any speculative view about what happens after death rises from and ignorant clinging of and idea of self through identification with one or more of the khandas even if the "person" is aware of it or not

That is why the Buddha didnt hold any speculative view, he explained that he did not because he "has seen with proper wisdom thus; such is form, origination, dissappearence, perception..., feeling..., formations..., consciousness.... (which as he states only arises when there is contact at the six sense bases).

Therefore as he sees the khandas with wisdom and so doesnt identify with them, there are no speculative views about what happens after death, since all these views come to be through clinging and thus claiming an identity

The Buddhas own noble teachings were, (in short), that there is Dukkha through having this sense of "I am". When there is "I am" there is ageing and death since there is identification with that which ages and dies and so the thought "I am ageing and dying". Remove all thoughts and perceptions about self and there is no more identification and so no more ageing, sickness or death ( and no more speculative views about what happneds after death)

Its interesting to note that when the Buddha himself set out to find the deathless, he didnt do it with the view "i will be rebortn and suffer" since, if you interpret it as rebirth, he only seen rebirth on the actual night of his enlightenment. Before that he set out with the view "I am a victim of ageing, sickness and death". This is the right view to start with, this if the first noble truth (although for us our right view includes 4 noble truths since he discovered the rest and taught them to us). If you say that one must have right view of rebirth in order to practice, then you are saying the Buddha himself had wrong view to start with

Its interesting as well of the Buddha states to his Bhikkhus how it is good that they have gone into homelessness with the understanding "I am a victim of old age, sicknes and death" as in right now, not "I will be a vicitm of old age, sickness and death". This is an important point, i feel

The Buddhas teachings are all about how dukkha arises here and now, acknowledgement of that and the practice to remove it, not with the view "i will be reborn and suffer"


Metta

P.S. Sorry for all the paraphrasing, im doing this before i start work, if you want me to back up with suttas i will happily do so later on tonight :smile:
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby BlackBird » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:36 am

Thank you for reiterating the reality of life, Venerable Pesala, how easy it is to fall from the path, and the consequences it has.

I think Pink, Clw_UK: We need to remember that the 31 planes of existence are taught as being real places of rebirth by the Buddha.

If one has seen the Dhamma, on even a very superficial level in every day life, and realised: "This here, the Buddha taught this." Then one gains conviction that indeed the Buddha must be omniscient. If one believes the Buddha to be enlightened, then one can deduce that the Hell realms are infact real places that sentient beings are reborn.

Hope you all had a day which was filled with good practise, and little suffering.

With metta
Jack :heart:
"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

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby cooran » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:58 am

Hello all,

How wonderful to think that this life is all there is! :woohoo: When things get too much, or life is too painful, or boring - just ... take pills, drive off a cliff, use a handgun, hang yourself, step out in front of a car ... and it's all over, the light goes out. What an easy solution. Except ... that's not what the Buddha taught.

Dhamma Without Rebirth?
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Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_06.html

metta
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:08 am

Chris wrote:Hello all,

How wonderful to think that this life is all there is! :woohoo: When things get too much, or life is too painful, or boring - just ... take pills, drive off a cliff, use a handgun, hang yourself, step out in front of a car ... and it's all over, the light goes out. What an easy solution. Except ... that's not what the Buddha taught.

Dhamma Without Rebirth?
by
Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_06.html

metta
Chris



This is another speculative view "if there is no rebirth, I wont exsist"

The Buddha clearly showed how all specualtive views come to be, through clinging to the khandas as self

No clinging, no speculative view

Furthermore the Buddha didnt state that life was suffering, if he did then suicide might be a good option, what he said is there is suffering which comes to be because of clinging to things and so having a sense of "I" or"me"

Also when people say "is this life all there is" its usual in dismay and with the hope of another life, i.e. craving for exsistence coming from self view

Lets not forget the Buddhas own noble teachings of the Four Noble Truths, teachings that have no reference to rebirth at all, unless people sneak it in

The Buddha himself didnt set out for his search for the deathless with the view of "i will be reborn and suffer". It was with correct wisdom based on observation that there is dukkha, there is ageing and death. He even states that is good for Bhikkhus to have gone forth with the understanding of "I am a victim of ageing and death" etc, as in right now, the observation of it right here, he doesnt say

it is good you have gone forth with the view "i will be reborn, age and suffer" its "I am a victim of birth, ageing and dukkha"

Not I will be a victim, I am a victim

The Buddhas teachings then show us the way out of this dukkha, through non-identification since identification brings about birth ageing and death via identifying with those things that will age and die, so for example if there is identication with the body, when that ages and die there will be the ignorant thought/perception "I am ageing and dying" and so there will be distress/dukkha

No identification, no birth or death since there is no "I am" to identify with age and death and so no dukkha


Metta
Last edited by clw_uk on Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:29 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:11 am

BlackBird wrote:Thank you for reiterating the reality of life, Venerable Pesala, how easy it is to fall from the path, and the consequences it has.

I think Pink, Clw_UK: We need to remember that the 31 planes of existence are taught as being real places of rebirth by the Buddha.

If one has seen the Dhamma, on even a very superficial level in every day life, and realised: "This here, the Buddha taught this." Then one gains conviction that indeed the Buddha must be omniscient. If one believes the Buddha to be enlightened, then one can deduce that the Hell realms are infact real places that sentient beings are reborn.

Hope you all had a day which was filled with good practise, and little suffering.

With metta
Jack :heart:



This is all dependent on a particular interpretation of rebirth

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby Jechbi » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:41 pm

Hi Craig,

I respect the notion that you're bringing to the table, namely, that practice is relevant in this present moment and only occurs here. At least that's what I hear you saying.

I'm not following, though, why you think there's a whole lot to talk about with regard to rebirth. Seems to me that our present attitude toward rebirth is going to be conditioned by past and present kamma, nothing more. So we might not have complete control of whatever attitude about rebirth bubbles up to the surface. In that respect, arguing back and forth about the importance of having a certain attitude about rebirth seems like it might be counterproductive. I like Ben's approach: Recognize one's understanding of rebirth for what it is, then set it aside and keep on practicing.

clw_uk wrote:Could you elaborate on how taking away post-mortem rebirth distorts the teachings?
Not to answer for Ben (because I'm sure he'll have a better answer), but the teachings are chock full of references to post-mortem rebirth, so if you take post-mortem rebirth out, that process involves seeing the teachings through the lens of your predilections. Okay, we're all going to be guilty of putting our own spin on the teachings to some extent. But the problem lies in trying to say that a particular spin that excludes post-mortem rebirth is not a substantial distortion of the teachings. Because it is.

clw_uk wrote:The Buddhas own noble teachings were, (in short), that there is Dukkha through having this sense of "I am". When there is "I am" there is ageing and death since there is identification with that which ages and dies and so the thought "I am ageing and dying". Remove all thoughts and perceptions about self and there is no more identification and so no more ageing, sickness or death ( and no more speculative views about what happneds after death)
I don't think this paragraph adequately encapsulates the Buddha's teachings in short. It's not true that if you remove all thoughts and perceptions about self, then there will be no more identification, no more aging, sickness or death. The action of "removing thoughts and perceptions about self" does not have the result of "nibbana." It's more complicated than that. The conditions for the kamma that bring a perfect understanding of anatta are complex. They are summarized in the 4th Noble Truth. It's not just a matter of removing certain thoughts and perceptions.

clw_uk wrote:Its interesting to note that when the Buddha himself set out to find the deathless, he didnt do it with the view "i will be rebortn and suffer" since, if you interpret it as rebirth, he only seen rebirth on the actual night of his enlightenment. Before that he set out with the view "I am a victim of ageing, sickness and death".
I don't think you can know the mind of the Bodhisatta Gotama on the night of his renunciation. But we do know that later, the clear teaching is that: "Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, death is suffering ..." (from here). If the Buddha mainly is trying to make the point that we practice in this present moment solely to end suffering here and now for ourselves alone, then why would he bother saying that birth is suffering?

Craig, personally I think it's great that you open up these topics for discussion. It's good kamma to discuss the Dhamma, in my opinion. But I think we all have to recognize that we bring our own preferences and rose-tinted glasses to the table. Sometimes discussions like this seem to be more about how relatively tinted or untinted our lenses actually are. Well, that kind of discussion is going to tend to feed self view rather than overcome it.

This thread is about heedfulness and the reality of the experience of hell realms. It appears nobody disagrees that the experience of hell realms is a real possibility. And nobody is going to persuade anyone to change his or her cosmological opinions about what occurs after physical death. So maybe the answer is to acknowledge that we all have our own distorted way of looking at things, we all need practice, and that's just the way it is.

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby thornbush » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:52 pm

Well, the 'Hell' of Buddhism is not a forever thingy, nor a conception of some "Old Man in the Sky' 's 'sadistic pastime'.
Even so, a 'temporal' stay in 'it', even for one moment, may seem like forever....so it's not a preferred destination...by all means... :thinking:
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby kc2dpt » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:18 pm

Ben wrote:There is no clinging going on.

I don't know about you, Ben, but I see a lot of clinging in this thread - people clinging to their dislike of rebirth teachings. ;) You say "let it be" but they can't. They must fight and scratch and spit and do whatever they can to push away these teachings of the Buddha. Aversion is just another form of clinging and we can't just wish it away. Aversion, like clinging, is only eradicated through practice. :meditate:
- Peter

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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:21 pm

Peter wrote:
Ben wrote:There is no clinging going on.

I don't know about you, Ben, but I see a lot of clinging in this thread - people clinging to their dislike of rebirth teachings. ;) You say "let it be" but they can't. They must fight and scratch and spit and do whatever they can to push away these teachings of the Buddha. Aversion is just another form of clinging and we can't just wish it away. Aversion, like clinging, is only eradicated through practice. :meditate:



Thats your assumption, I dont advert from rebirth just to state again. I started with a view of Rebirth

I dont go by likes and dislikes, i go by what is and practice for understanding of the 4nt and D.O. via following the NEFP

If you must know, because of ignorance and clinging "I" like the idea of rebirth, but thats not important since one doesnt gain freedom by following likes and dislikes, only by acknowledgement and investigation of what is

Dukkha
Cause
Removal
Way to end


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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:15 pm

Peter wrote:
Ben wrote:There is no clinging going on.

I don't know about you, Ben, but I see a lot of clinging in this thread - people clinging to their dislike of rebirth teachings. ;) You say "let it be" but they can't. They must fight and scratch and spit and do whatever they can to push away these teachings of the Buddha. Aversion is just another form of clinging and we can't just wish it away. Aversion, like clinging, is only eradicated through practice. :meditate:


Yup..lots of clinging to the notion that post mortem rebirth must be defended. And lots of aversion to the idea that there is only "just this". :) I agree that aversion is only eradicated through practice - no post-mortem rebirth is a bitter pill to swallow for those steeped in literalism, but practice eventually clears it up. Hang in there... ;)
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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby clw_uk » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:20 pm

Its also important to remember that the view "there is no rebirth" is just as speculative as "there is rebirth"


The Buddhas own noble teaching transcends both with the removal of "I am" since its that which gives rise to both (and all the other speculative views)


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Re: Anyone can go to hell, so be heedful

Postby pink_trike » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:21 pm

Ben wrote:Hi Craig

In fact, I don't believe you can separate the two without distorting the Buddha's teachings to one's own predelictions and delusions.


Imo, Ajahn Buddhadasa and Ven. Varasak Varadhammo did this quite well, clarifying not distorting the teachings.
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