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the great rebirth debate - Page 153 - Dhamma Wheel

the great rebirth debate

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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Lazy_eye
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:46 pm


vinasp
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby vinasp » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:00 am

Hi everyone,

"When the Aggregates arise, decay and die, O Bhikkhu, every moment you are born, decay
and die." The Buddha.

Regards, Vincent.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:09 am


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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby BlueLotus » Sat Dec 08, 2012 3:09 am


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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Lazy_eye » Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:30 am


alan...
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:20 am

this is a long running thread and i don't have time to search every post to see if this has been said yet but:

there is some sutta in the samyutta nikaya where the buddha says that the underworld does not actually exist (under the sea... or something???) but refers to a state of mind! this is super confusing and as far as i know it is the only place where he comes out and says something like this. other than this one instance it seems like he taught that these realms are quite real. any one know what i'm talking about?

i for one think that the overwhelming number of times he seems to talk quite literally about these places means he taught that they were literal realms. but this one sutta i mentioned above has always bothered me, i don't get it's place among the rest.

i think that one can let go of thinking about them though if, in doing so, one focuses wholly on practicing the eightfold path. for one doing so there is no need to contemplate such states and realms. i feel they are spoken about to spur on people who are not practicing with much vigor or not practicing at all.

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cooran
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby cooran » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:38 am

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

alan...
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 08, 2012 8:55 am


alan...
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby alan... » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:04 am

i think this is it:

SN 36.4 the bottomless abyss

"bhikkhus, when the uninstructed worldling makes the statement, 'in the great ocean there is a bottomless abyss,' he makes such a statement about something that is nonexistent and unreal. this, bhikkhus is rather a designation for painful bodily feelings, that is, 'bottomless abyss.' "

very open to interpretation. it could be saying that the idea of a bottomless abyss hell type realm is non existent and is simply a metaphor for painful bodily feelings. however as i mentioned above, this is the only place i have seen where he gives such a statement and in the rest of the canon he frequently talks about these types of places as if they are very real and no mere metaphors for our bodily pains.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby darvki » Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:53 am


Papashaw
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Papashaw » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:17 am

I can imagine other realms that have more pain than this, there probably is a hell and hungry ghost realm of sorts,
what I would be asking myself is if they were to last as long as described; they are described with huge numbers found in Southern Asian religions( 10^999....)

I would ideally think the portion of time is based on how long and painful as the effect of the action, the removed potential of the action(ex.years taken from someone by killing), and the pain combined with the pain of others in the action(mourning by relatives of murder victim). But I do not know how kamma works or remember my past lives in hell(I dont even know my most recent one) to know now what it is like.

I would forgive my murderer though, but its karma not divine punishment.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby alan... » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:58 am

no one thinks the sutta quote i posted has any relevance to this discussion? strange. i feel like i've seen a large debate about it's meaning somewhere before... or perhaps an article? not sure why no one thinks anything of it here. oh well. i guess i'll never know what is up with it, odd and uncharacteristic to the rest of the canon as it is.

i'm trying to remember, i feel like i read an article called "not a place under the sea" that discussed the implications of this sutta in relation to the idea of hell, but a web search returns nothing...

here is an EXTREMELY free translation of that sutta excerpt from dhammawiki :

'“When the average ignorant person makes an assertion that there is a Hell under the ocean (or other freezing or burning, fire ridden place), he is making a statement that is false and without basis. The word 'hell' is a term for painful bodily sensations.” Samyutta Nikaya 36.4"

i don't speak pali, but i'm fairly certain it in no way says or implies "(or other freezing or burning, fire ridden place)"

and i see no other translations out there where they translate "bottomless abyss" as "hell". whoever wrote this article clearly believes this sutta is the buddha saying, flat out, that hell does not exist. however if i'm wrong and it does translate directly to this then this sutta completely and undeniably proves that the buddha taught, at least on one occasion, that there is no such place as hell and that it is only a metaphor for bodily suffering!

that being said: it is VERY relevant to this discussion, probably the most relevant and definitive post yet for this thread. i'm not talking up my writing but the striking words of the sutta and their implications for the topic at hand! this excerpt could literally be the one and only definitive answer to this post, from the buddha's own lips no less. again, not saying anything about me, it's about the sutta! it's nearly an exact answer for this specific thread. not to mention i've pondered this sutta alone for years and now would be a perfect time for someone to discuss it!

you are all silly people if you don't notice this :tongue: just playing around, no offense to anyone :heart:

but seriously, what do you all think about this sutta???

edit: if someone has already posted that excerpt in this thread and it's old hat now, :oops: sorry, i simply don't have time to read all 9 pages of this thread.

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby polarbear101 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:26 am

"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

alan...
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby alan... » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:00 am


santa100
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby santa100 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:44 pm

The Buddha was quite explicit with the literal meaning of hell and other realms. The common stock phrase "on the break-up of the body, after death, he/she reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, hell" was mentioned repeatedly in many suttas:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/search_r ... ght.org%2F

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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby polarbear101 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:24 pm

"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

alan...
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby alan... » Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:20 am


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Aloka
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby Aloka » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:30 am


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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:40 am

Hi Aloka,

In my experience, the majority of bhikkhus I've met (Ajahn Chah lineage included) don't deny literal interpretations.

:anjali:
Mike

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cooran
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Re: Is hell and hungry ghost realm to be taken literally?

Postby cooran » Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:45 am

Hello Mike, Aloka, all,

Same for me, Mike - I've never heard a bhikkhu state that he does not accept the hell and hungry ghost realms - if I had, I would certainly have asked why.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---


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