Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby zamotcr » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:11 am

those worlds exists due to kamma. If there aren't more beings destined to hell, then hell will cease to exists. And if a realm does not exist it will be created by our own kamma.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:44 am

Jason wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:How about discussing the point at hand? Can you explain how your quote supports a psychological interpretation of the realms - I honestly can't see it. Saying something is like something else isn't the same as equating them. If somebody said "It was hell at work today" we'd assume they meant they had a bad day at work, not that they'd been literally roasted over hot coals while fending off jabs from Satan.


Don't really see the point, to be honest. We've already had discussions like this multiple times on more than one forum (e.g., here) to no satisfactory conclusion. You couldn't see my points then, and I sincerely doubt you will now, so why bother wasting each other's time?


It's up to you. You keep pasting the same chunks of blog text into forum discussions, then don't want to discuss the points you've made, so.... :shrug:
Last edited by Spiny Norman on Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:45 am

pegembara wrote:A more relevant question - Who "created" the earthly realm? Or how is the earthly realm created?

Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


So what do you think? I'm not sure how relevant this quote is to the OP question.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Spiny Norman » Sat Jan 04, 2014 10:52 am

mettafuture wrote:I want to find a way to succinctly and accurately distinguish the heaven and hell realms of Buddhism from those described in Abrahamic scriptures.


An obvious difference is that in Buddhism the realms are temporary abodes, whereas in the Abrahamic tradition heaven and hell are one-off eternal destinations.
An obvious similarity is that both systems are related to ethical conduct, though in Buddhism it's a natural system with is no deity to arbitrate.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Jason » Sat Jan 04, 2014 6:02 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
Jason wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:How about discussing the point at hand? Can you explain how your quote supports a psychological interpretation of the realms - I honestly can't see it. Saying something is like something else isn't the same as equating them. If somebody said "It was hell at work today" we'd assume they meant they had a bad day at work, not that they'd been literally roasted over hot coals while fending off jabs from Satan.


Don't really see the point, to be honest. We've already had discussions like this multiple times on more than one forum (e.g., here) to no satisfactory conclusion. You couldn't see my points then, and I sincerely doubt you will now, so why bother wasting each other's time?


It's up to you. You keep pasting the same chunks of blog text into forum discussions, then don't want to discuss the points you've made, so.... :shrug:


Last time we discussed it for 2 pages, agreed to disagree, and then continued to disagree about it. Having the same unrproductive discussions over and over just doesn't interest me, and I'm not sure what else can I say about it. I see in the suttas levels of meaning that you seemingly don't. But I'll give it one more shot just for you.

The passage I posted above is one example where I think the psychological and cosmological aspects of becoming and rebirth are directly compared, illustrating their relationship, i.e., where rearising in an 'injurious world' is analogous to the experience of painful feelings (an aspect of mind) like beings in hell, suggesting to me that hell itself can also refer to an unpleasant mental state as much as it can a literal place one rearises:

    "And what is kamma that is dark with dark result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates an injurious bodily fabrication, fabricates an injurious verbal fabrication, fabricates an injurious mental fabrication. Having fabricated an injurious bodily fabrication, having fabricated an injurious verbal fabrication, having fabricated an injurious mental fabrication, he rearises in an injurious world. On rearising in an injurious world, he is there touched by injurious contacts. Touched by injurious contacts, he experiences feelings that are exclusively painful, like those of the beings in hell. This is called kamma that is dark with dark result.


And I think this approach is further supported by the fact that the term loka (world/realm) itself is often used as a metaphor for the five aggregates, the six sense spheres, and/or the internal world of fabricated experience (e.g., SN 35.23, SN 35.116, SN 12.44, AN 4.45, etc.).

In essence, you seem to be viewing loka in this context as referring to purely external phenomena loka means x and nothing else, while I see it as referring to both external phenomena as well as mental states (loka means x and also seems to imply y). I can't explain it any clearer than that.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby mettafuture » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:31 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:An obvious difference is that in Buddhism the realms are temporary abodes, whereas in the Abrahamic tradition heaven and hell are one-off eternal destinations. An obvious similarity is that both systems are related to ethical conduct, though in Buddhism it's a natural system with is no deity to arbitrate.

Beautifully stated. I especially like "temporary abodes." I forgot about that point. I've included it in the blog entry I'm working on titled Karma, Rebirth, Heaven and Hell. I've pasted the updated draft below. If you (or anyone) see any problems with it, please let me know.

For many Buddhist seekers in the West, doubt, particularly about kamma (karma), rebirth, and the various planes of existence (heavenly and hell realms. etc) mentioned in the early texts, is one of the biggest hindrances standing between them and the benefits of practice.

As someone who was once a hard-lined atheist, I was skeptical about these ideas as well, but I've since come to learn that the seemingly irrational parts of Buddhism can be understood in a very rational way.

Kamma is a way to describe the causes and effects that naturally arise from our volitional activities. Each action results in an immediate / macro or subtle / micro reaction which effects you and your relation with the surrounding samsaric environment.

Rebirth is the recycling of our elemental aggregates (khandhas) into a new life form. There's nothing supernatural about this process, and no souls or anything magical are being passed.

And the heavenly and hell realms described in the Tipitaka aren't like those propagated by Abrahmic scriptures, but are temporary abodes where the conditions are the byproduct of its inhabitants, similar to pleasant or hostile conditions that are created by the inhabitants of a country.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Jason » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:56 pm

mettafuture wrote:Beautifully stated. I especially like "temporary abodes." I forgot about that point. I've included it in the blog entry I'm working on titled Karma, Rebirth, Heaven and Hell. I've pasted the updated draft below. If you (or anyone) see any problems with it, please let me know.

For many Buddhist seekers in the West, doubt, particularly about kamma (karma), rebirth, and the various planes of existence (heavenly and hell realms. etc) mentioned in the early texts, is one of the biggest hindrances standing between them and the benefits of practice.

As someone who was once a hard-lined atheist, I was skeptical about these ideas as well, but I've since come to learn that the seemingly irrational parts of Buddhism can be understood in a very rational way.

Kamma is a way to describe the causes and effects that naturally arise from our volitional activities. Each action results in an immediate / macro or subtle / micro reaction which effects you and your relation with the surrounding samsaric environment.

Rebirth is the recycling of our elemental aggregates (khandhas) into a new life form. There's nothing supernatural about this process, and no souls or anything magical are being passed.

And the heavenly and hell realms described in the Tipitaka aren't like those propagated by Abrahmic scriptures, but are temporary abodes where the conditions are the byproduct of its inhabitants, similar to pleasant or hostile conditions that are created by the inhabitants of a country.


I think it's good. Definitely more succinct than my attempts to explain the matter. I especially like the line, "Each action results in an immediate / macro or subtle / micro reaction which effects you and your relation with the surrounding samsaric environment."

That said, AN 6.63 suggests that the results aren't necessarily immediate, although I suppose it's not incorrect to say that they may immediately condition a process whereby the result will eventually manifest or come to fruition:

    "And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.
"Sabbe dhamma nalam abhinivesaya" (AN 7.58).

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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby mettafuture » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:53 pm

Jason wrote:I think it's good. Definitely more succinct than my attempts to explain the matter. I especially like the line, "Each action results in an immediate / macro or subtle / micro reaction which effects you and your relation with the surrounding samsaric environment."

Thank you. I'm dyslexic, so I try to write as succinctly as I can to make proof reading easier.

I've booked marked your post.

That said, AN 6.63 suggests that the results aren't necessarily immediate, although I suppose it's not incorrect to say that they may immediately condition a process whereby the result will eventually manifest or come to fruition:

    "And what is the result of kamma? The result of kamma is of three sorts, I tell you: that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that. This is called the result of kamma.

Good quote. I have the Anguttara Nikaya, but I've only skimmed it. I should make time to read it.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Babadhari » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:24 am

mettafuture wrote:

Kamma is a way to describe the causes and effects that naturally arise from our volitional activities. Each action results in an immediate / macro or subtle / micro reaction which effects you and your relation with the surrounding samsaric environment.



anyone interested in seeing some instant karma just check out this 10 second clip :rofl:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYK2j7s5Ono
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Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby SDC » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:48 am

lyndon taylor wrote:In the scripture, the buddha clearly taught the other realms as being literal places of alternative planes of existence, not states of mind...


Actually he clearly taught neither. Save your fingers, LT, I say this only for the information of others and will not respond to anything you say.

lyndon taylor wrote:Back in the real world, Jason, your forum where you're moderator is being used to promote drug use by practitioners, just thought that might be a more pressing concern to be worrying about.


A PM would've been more appropriate. Call outs like this are bad for the community.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby SDC » Sun Jan 05, 2014 12:50 am

pegembara wrote:A more relevant question - Who "created" the earthly realm? Or how is the earthly realm created?

Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html


:thumbsup: One of my favorite suttas.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:03 am

SDC wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:In the scripture, the buddha clearly taught the other realms as being literal places of alternative planes of existence, not states of mind...


Actually he clearly taught neither. Save your fingers, LT, I say this only for the information of others and will not respond to anything you say.

lyndon taylor wrote:Back in the real world, Jason, your forum where you're moderator is being used to promote drug use by practitioners, just thought that might be a more pressing concern to be worrying about.


A PM would've been more appropriate. Call outs like this are bad for the community.


BS about the Buddha not saying things he clearly did in many places in the scripture is bad for the community as well........
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Jason » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:14 am

lyndon taylor wrote:In the scripture, the buddha clearly taught the other realms as being literal places of alternative planes of existence, not states of mind, You are free to disagree, just stop trying to get the Buddha to back you up on it.


To me, the suttas are clearly more nuanced and rich in meaning in this regard. I've already given what I feel to be a relatively explicit example above. YMMV, of course.

lyndon taylor wrote:Back in the real world, Jason, your forum where you're moderator is being used to promote drug use by practitioners, just thought that might be a more pressing concern to be worrying about.


Not sure what the relevance of this is to the discussion. All I get out of it i I shouldn't bother participating here because somebody on another webforum (which isn't mine, by the way) is talking about drug use and meditation (which doesn't violate forum policy).
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Jason » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:15 am

lyndon taylor wrote:
SDC wrote:
lyndon taylor wrote:In the scripture, the buddha clearly taught the other realms as being literal places of alternative planes of existence, not states of mind...


Actually he clearly taught neither. Save your fingers, LT, I say this only for the information of others and will not respond to anything you say.

lyndon taylor wrote:Back in the real world, Jason, your forum where you're moderator is being used to promote drug use by practitioners, just thought that might be a more pressing concern to be worrying about.


A PM would've been more appropriate. Call outs like this are bad for the community.


BS about the Buddha not saying things he clearly did in many places in the scripture is bad for the community as well........


Is this imply that I'm somehow bad for the community?
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:30 am

Misrepresenting what the scriptures say is bad for the community, not saying you're doing that, but you need to look at the body of scripture not one isolated text.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Jason » Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:48 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Misrepresenting what the scriptures say is bad for the community, not saying you're doing that, but you need to look at the body of scripture not one isolated text.


I have, which is why I also included a number of suttas where I believe the term loka (world/realm) is used as a metaphor for the five aggregates, the six sense spheres, and/or the internal world of fabricated experience to help further support my view that the psychological aspects aren't as divorced from the cosmological as many assume. I'm not saying that's the case in every circumstance, mind you, but certainly some in my opinion.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:22 am

I suggest studying what the Buddha taught and coming to an understanding of how he saw things, whether you agree or not. Instead of having your own beliefs and approaching the Buddha scriptures to twist them around to make them agree with your own beliefs, whether they do or not, case in point.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Jason » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:18 am

lyndon taylor wrote:I suggest studying what the Buddha taught and coming to an understanding of how he saw things, whether you agree or not. Instead of having your own beliefs and approaching the Buddha scriptures to twist them around to make them agree with your own beliefs, whether they do or not, case in point.


And what makes you think that's not what I've done? Just because I have a different understanding of certain suttas than you doesn't mean that I'm simply twisting the scriptures around to make them agree with my beliefs. If you take the time to read the things I've written, both here and elsewhere, I think you'll see I've put a fair amount of time and effort into studying the suttas and formulating my own ideas about them, sometimes in agreement with Theravadin orthodoxy and sometimes not. If you have a different take on the matter and want to present it in contrast to mine, then by all means, go through the examples I've given and supporting arguments I've made and make your own case for why you think I'm mistaken. But please don't just repeatedly insinuate that I'm misrepresenting the suttas or twisting them around to make them agree with my beliefs. That's a pretty cheap way to try and win a debate. Show your work, as they say.
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby lyndon taylor » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:45 am

Because to believe the Buddha was talking figuratively, not literally when he talked at length, over and over about rebirth, other realms, conversation with devas etc etc, you would really have to be twisting around his words from what they plainly say, The Buddha wasn't a secular Buddhist, quite the opposite, why can't you just man up to you disagree with the Buddha, instead of trying to put your modern ideas in his mouth.......and try and make your ideas fit with his.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Who created the heavenly and hell realms?

Postby Jason » Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:22 am

lyndon taylor wrote:Because to believe the Buddha was talking figuratively, not literally when he talked at length, over and over about rebirth, other realms, conversation with devas etc etc, you would really have to be twisting around his words from what they plainly say, The Buddha wasn't a secular Buddhist, quite the opposite, why can't you just man up to you disagree with the Buddha, instead of trying to put your modern ideas in his mouth.......and try and make your ideas fit with his.


I don't recall ever saying the Buddha didn't talk about these things literally/explicitly. In the example I gave, however, I think it's clearly both literal and figurative. I may be wrong about that, but the wording of the translation (since I'm not skilled enough to properly translate the entire sutta myself) seems pretty clear to me in that the psychological and cosmological aspects of kamma and rebirth are being directly compared, illustrating their relationship, i.e., where rearising in an 'injurious world' (abyāpajjhampi lokaṃ upapannaṃ) is analogous to the experience of painful feelings (an aspect of mind) like beings in hell, suggesting to me that hell itself can also refer to an unpleasant mental state as much as it can a literal place one rearises:

    "And what is kamma that is dark with dark result? There is the case where a certain person fabricates an injurious bodily fabrication, fabricates an injurious verbal fabrication, fabricates an injurious mental fabrication. Having fabricated an injurious bodily fabrication, having fabricated an injurious verbal fabrication, having fabricated an injurious mental fabrication, he rearises in an injurious world. On rearising in an injurious world, he is there touched by injurious contacts. Touched by injurious contacts, he experiences feelings that are exclusively painful, like those of the beings in hell. This is called kamma that is dark with dark result.

While I wasn't so convinced of this at first, other suttas and the opinions of other translators/commentators have since convinced me that the psychological aspects aren't necessarily as divorced from the cosmological as many assume. One of the things that really got me seeing things this way is the fact that the term loka (world/realm) itself is often used as a metaphor for the five aggregates, the six sense spheres, and/or the internal world of fabricated experience (e.g., SN 35.23, SN 35.116, SN 12.44, AN 4.45, etc.). Keeping that in mind, I don't think one should automatically limit the meaning of loka to a 'world' outside of our present experience, as in applying solely to postmortem rebirth rather than the experience of the five aggregates, the six sense spheres, and/or the internal world of fabricated experience.

Hence, when the Buddha says things like "rearising in an injurious world," as in the case of AN 4.235, I think it can mean more than just being reborn into an unpleasant state of experience after death, such rearising into an unpleasant experience in the here and now (like beings in hell) as well as an unpleasant state of experience after death. The two aren't mutually exclusive, especially since the result of kamma is of three sorts, i.e., "that which arises right here & now, that which arises later [in this lifetime], and that which arises following that" (AN 6.63). It seems like you're trying to peg me as someone who views Buddhism in a purely secular way, denying the idea of postmortem rebirth; but if you carefully read what I've written, you'll see that's clearly not the case.

Honestly, I don't see why this is so controversial since, according to the suttas, kamma applies to, and is experienced in, both the present and the future, in both this life and next.
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