Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Prasadachitta » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:12 am

gabrielbranbury wrote:The way I see it, no matter how difficult and out of control a situation (mentally or otherwise) I find myself in, it can get worse. So I figure somewhere along that open ended spectrum of suffering is the edge of hell and beyond.


Do you see the heavens and hells described in Buddhist scripture as states of mind, or as physical places that are entered after death?

I think this all has only symbolic meaning for you if you reject out of hand the idea that the causes and conditions which propel us through this life abruptly end with our death and no further ignorant consciousness arises in its wake.


I've tried to believe in an afterlife for the sake of Buddhism. I wanted the philosophy to fit well without stress, worry, or doubt. But I can't make myself believe in something that even M-Theorists would reject.


Hi mettafuture,

I see physical location as only a contributing factor in what sort of state of mind arises. I guess the answer to your first question is I dont really think its much of a relevant distinction. All I need to know about Heaven and Hell is how they relate to my experience. In other words, what is the most directly pragmatic distinction being communicated by the concept. Asserting or imagining the physicality or lack of physicality of future conditions is wasted energy.

I am not really certain how you relate to the word "believe". I dont really like to use the word too much myself. You say you have "tried to believe", but this doesn't make much sense to me. As far as Im concerned all you need to do is accept that you have no idea and do it without allowing this acceptance to blunt your desire to know for yourself. It also helps to accept that there are more realized beings than you (Buddha) who see reality in a way which defies the ability of language to adequately model for us. We need to put serious effort into using the conceptual models as a guide to see for ourselves. Certainly "wanting philosophy to fit" sounds a bit problematic. Fit with what? Fit with your assumptions about reality?

Set it aside and practice. If its like a gorilla with christmas lights all over and dancing around then I think it is clear you have not set it aside.

I wish you well

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Ben » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:08 am

Hi mettafuture,

mettafuture wrote:I really wish that I could just ignore that big rainbow colored gorilla sitting in my living-room, and focus on the teachings that work...


The standard advice given to someone such as you who has a difficulty with this or that concept is "to put it to the side" and concentrate on practice. Maintain sila, develop samadhi and panna and let penetrative insight reveal the nature of reality to you. But right now, we're all caught in the same intractable bear-trap of samsara and the only way to free ourselves in practice.
metta

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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:38 am

Ben wrote:Hi mettafuture,

mettafuture wrote:I really wish that I could just ignore that big rainbow colored gorilla sitting in my living-room, and focus on the teachings that work...


The standard advice given to someone such as you who has a difficulty with this or that concept is "to put it to the side" and concentrate on practice. Maintain sila, develop samadhi and panna and let penetrative insight reveal the nature of reality to you. But right now, we're all caught in the same intractable bear-trap of samsara and the only way to free ourselves in practice.
metta

Ben


Thats the one. :thumbsup:
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby vinasp » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:04 am

Hi everyone,

There are three realms which, taken together, are the "cosmos" as understood at the time. These three realms consist of thirty-one "planes" each with its own class of beings.

It is possible that the word "loka", usually translated as "world" in fact means cosmos in some contexts. There are many passages which speak of the cessation of the world. For example :

"That end of the world wherein one is not born, does not grow old or die, pass away or reappear, that I declare, is impossible to be known, seen or reached by travelling. But, friend, I do not declare that one can make an end of suffering without reaching the end of the world. Friend, I do proclaim that in this very fathom-long body, with its perceptions and consciousness, is the world, the world's arising, the world's cessation and the path leading to the world's cessation." A.N. II. 48

In some passages "world" is substituted for "suffering" (dukkha). In other passages the "five aggregates of clinging" are said to be suffering. One interpretation would be that the five aggregates of clinging are the world or cosmos. All three are said to cease.

Belief in the reality of the three realms is only "clinging to views" and would be expected to be eliminated at some stage on the path.

Best wishes, Vincent.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jan 21, 2010 11:12 am

Whether one believes it or not, the orthodox teaching of Buddhism is that evil doers are liable to rebirth in hell, and the good are liable to be reborn in heaven.

Rejecting the basic tenets of Buddhism may harm one's credibility as a genuine follower of the Buddha. Being doubtful about what is beyond one's personal experience will not harm one's credibility at all.

The Buddha did not "believe in" heaven and hell — he had no need to believe in them since he knew them by his direct knowledge.
Sāmaññaphala Sutta
"With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge of the passing away and re-appearance of beings. He sees — by means of the divine eye, purified and surpassing the human — beings passing away and re-appearing, and he discerns how they are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate in accordance with their kamma: 'These beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings — who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.'

Never mind attaining psychic powers and the four stages of the path, even to practise meditation effectively requires a high degree of faith or well-placed confidence (saddhā). The Dhamma is described as something beyond reasoning and speculation, that cannot be realised by intellect and logic.

When you are in pain during sitting meditation, the logical thing to do is to change your position. The wise thing to do is to change your attitude, and to investigate the pain to understand its true nature. What are its causes, and how does it come to cessation? Without understanding the cause of suffering, no liberation is possible.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Jan 21, 2010 12:31 pm

is it a pragmatic truth, or a metaphysical truth?
if it is metaphysical it is an absolute, if pragmatic it has a practical purpose, if you look at MN117

"Of those, right view is the forerunner. And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no priests or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view.

"And what is right view? Right view, I tell you, is of two sorts: There is right view with effluents [asava], siding with merit, resulting in the acquisitions [of becoming]; and there is noble right view, without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"And what is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions? 'There is what is given, what is offered, what is sacrificed. There are fruits & results of good & bad actions. There is this world & the next world. There is mother & father. There are spontaneously reborn beings; there are priests & contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is the right view that has effluents, sides with merit, & results in acquisitions.

"And what is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path? The discernment, the faculty of discernment, the strength of discernment, analysis of qualities as a factor for Awakening, the path factor of right view of one developing the noble path whose mind is noble, whose mind is free from effluents, who is fully possessed of the noble path. This is the right view that is without effluents, transcendent, a factor of the path.

"One tries to abandon wrong view & to enter into right view: This is one's right effort. One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness. Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Heavenstorm » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:51 pm

mettafuture wrote: Can a Buddhist ignore the heaven / hell realms, and focus only on the rational teachings?


Heaven and Hell realms are rational teachings in the sense that they correspond to a state of mind of sentinel beings at the time of death. And more importantly, the most fundamental part of our mindstreams are said to continue after death in the form of bhavanga or rebirth linking thought moments. To suggest otherwise, is either risking falling into nihilism or non existence, one of the two extremes or embracing the "soul" theory from non Buddhist religions.

And because of our rebirth consciousness, a consequence of a being experiencing a negative mindset of great fear, greed, guilt, delusion and hatred prior to the moments of death, will be a negative or lower realm manifesting in the next life (Only after a short period of seventeen moments of thoughts) corresponding to that experience. Similarity, for a being who attained Jhana, he had ridden himself of aversion and desire in a coarse way. Therefore, his rebirth will be in the form realm as there is nothing in the desire realm that could bind his mind at the time of death.

Since there is generally speaking four/five types of jhanas, in Buddhist cosmology, we have a corresponding four/five general classifications of form realms excluding the pure abodes. The argument can be made for the four formless Jhanas.

In short, Dharma is rational in the sense that its not built on wild fantasy but based on real mind experiences and records by practitioners, yogis, Arahants and Buddha over the centuries. In fact, I would argue that its irrational to ignore or reject some aspects of Dharma just because the mainstream worldly society don't believe in the "unscientific stuffs" and that one doesn't even try making an effort to understand or mediating on them.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:55 pm

if one is worried,or thinking about heavens and hells too much than one isn't really following to the Buddha's instructions very well now is s/he? one should remain mindful of the present moment at all times, in all positions and situations. speculations will just lead one into a thicket of views, lost wandering forever.... when the Buddha spoke of such places he wasn't telling stories to impress us or scare us but rather to point us back to the present moment and to urge us to be ever mindful. he taught only dukkha and the cessation of dukkha, and it is in this context we should view heavens and hells.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby PeterB » Thu Jan 21, 2010 3:20 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:if one is worried,or thinking about heavens and hells too much than one isn't really following to the Buddha's instructions very well now is s/he? one should remain mindful of the present moment at all times, in all positions and situations. speculations will just lead one into a thicket of views, lost wandering forever.... when the Buddha spoke of such places he wasn't telling stories to impress us or scare us but rather to point us back to the present moment and to urge us to be ever mindful. he taught only dukkha and the cessation of dukkha, and it is in this context we should view heavens and hells.

There is much more to the Buddhadhamma than " living in the present". Bhikkhu Pesala's post above is simply mainstream Theravada Buddhism. No more and no less. As Ben says if we are not ready for any particular aspect of Dhamma, then put it to one side. What we are not free to do is pick n' mix from what we are comfortable with. The Buddha quite clearly spoke about hell realms and heavenly realms, we cannot simply rationalise that away because we have decided before exploring any deeper that Buddhism is " rational" in any modern sense.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:36 pm

:goodpost: Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby meindzai » Thu Jan 21, 2010 5:02 pm

If you hold the view of karma as true, then naturally there will be unwholesome results to unwholesome actions - and ones rebirth is dependent on ones' karma. The idea of heavens and hells actually are pretty natural outflows of this, but if you are relating them to the Christian ideas of those realms things will get confused.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby mettafuture » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:14 pm

Thank you for your replies.

seanpdx wrote:
mettafuture wrote:You're right. I know I shouldn't worry about this, but it keeps popping into my mind like a hindrance during meditation. I need to reconcile the whole heaven / hell thing so that I can just move on and continue with my practice.

No reconciliation necessary. Just stop clinging to the question entirely. *grin*

Will do. Will try.

:hello:

yuuki wrote:An aside about heaven and hell, which might give one a reason to believe in them: why not commit suicide?

That would bring a quick end to suffering.

Because life isn't entirely made up of suffering. There is also joy and beauty. Sure, the good things in life don't last forever, but neither do the bad things.

Enjoy the good, and learn how to work through the bad.

That's my motto. :)

You don't need to renounce the entire universe, or force yourself to believe in hells, just to give your life purpose.

salmon wrote:Imagine living in a town with only white Caucasians. You've never stepped out of the town, and you've never had guests from outside of town. One day, someone tells you that he's just came back from a trip and has met people of different skin colours, an Indian, a Chinese and an African.

Having not seen another person of a different skin tone before, you wouldn't believe they existed. If one day you made a trip out or you get some guests, then you will realized that there are people of other nationalities (and skin colours) out there and it's perfectly normal.

There is evidence for people. There is no evidence for external heaven and hell realms that people can be reborn into. It would be easier for me to believe in aliens than it would be for me to believe in a heaven or hell.

withoutcolour wrote:The possibility of lower rebirth and higher rebirth are important, I'd say, in Theravadin Buddhism, though. Otherwise, what is the point of recognizing kamma?

To do good just for the sake of doing good, and not for its fruits.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:30 pm

Extract from the Incontrovertible Discourse (Apannaka Sutta)
“Householders, it is to be expected that those recluses and Brahmins who hold the former view — that there is no fruit of good and evil deeds, and so forth — will avoid wholesome deeds and indulge in evil deeds because they do not see the danger and impurity of evil deeds, nor do they see the benefit and purity of good deeds.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby mettafuture » Thu Jan 21, 2010 6:40 pm

gabrielbranbury wrote:I am not really certain how you relate to the word "believe". I dont really like to use the word too much myself. You say you have "tried to believe", but this doesn't make much sense to me.

I was desperate to make Buddhism work because I grew tired of being a seeker.

As far as Im concerned all you need to do is accept that you have no idea and do it without allowing this acceptance to blunt your desire to know for yourself. It also helps to accept that there are more realized beings than you (Buddha) who see reality in a way which defies the ability of language to adequately model for us.

I can believe that there are people who understand life better than I do, but when it comes to explaining the physical world, science has the authority. There is some science to support the idea of parallel dimensions and universes, but there is no evidence, or even a solid reason, to support the idea of external heavens or hells.

But I think I've found a way to reconcile this issue. I've been telling myself to stop seeing the Buddha as more than a man, and that all men can make mistakes, and are the products of their time. The Buddha knew what he was talking about in regards to suffering. He had a great eye, instincts, and authority on this subject. But when it came to explaining the physical world, he likely relied on the dated Vedic explanations of his time, which is okay, and forgivable.

Certainly "wanting philosophy to fit" sounds a bit problematic. Fit with what? Fit with your assumptions about reality?

No, to fit with science. I can't believe that the Buddha's mind was more powerful than the Hubble Telescope. I just can't. lol.

Set it aside and practice.

This is my plan.

If its like a gorilla with christmas lights all over and dancing around then I think it is clear you have not set it aside.

:rofl:

I wish you well

Thank you.

Ben wrote:Hi mettafuture,

mettafuture wrote:I really wish that I could just ignore that big rainbow colored gorilla sitting in my living-room, and focus on the teachings that work...


The standard advice given to someone such as you who has a difficulty with this or that concept is "to put it to the side" and concentrate on practice. Maintain sila, develop samadhi and panna and let penetrative insight reveal the nature of reality to you. But right now, we're all caught in the same intractable bear-trap of samsara and the only way to free ourselves in practice.
metta

Ben

Thank you for the advice.

I will try.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby jcsuperstar » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:15 pm

PeterB wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:if one is worried,or thinking about heavens and hells too much than one isn't really following to the Buddha's instructions very well now is s/he? one should remain mindful of the present moment at all times, in all positions and situations. speculations will just lead one into a thicket of views, lost wandering forever.... when the Buddha spoke of such places he wasn't telling stories to impress us or scare us but rather to point us back to the present moment and to urge us to be ever mindful. he taught only dukkha and the cessation of dukkha, and it is in this context we should view heavens and hells.

There is much more to the Buddhadhamma than " living in the present". Bhikkhu Pesala's post above is simply mainstream Theravada Buddhism. No more and no less. As Ben says if we are not ready for any particular aspect of Dhamma, then put it to one side. What we are not free to do is pick n' mix from what we are comfortable with. The Buddha quite clearly spoke about hell realms and heavenly realms, we cannot simply rationalise that away because we have decided before exploring any deeper that Buddhism is " rational" in any modern sense.


living in the present is not the same as being mindful of the present. are you saying the Buddha and arahants weren't mindful at all times? i never denied heavens or hells in my post, but belief in such things is not apart of the path to awakening, remember the Buddha knew such things for himself because of his awakening.

He remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.”

— SN 48.10



The Blessed One said this: "This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference. Which four?

"There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings... mind... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world.

-Satipatthana Sutta


and from Thanissaro Bhikkhu
The role of mindfulness is to keep the mind properly grounded in the present moment in a way that will keep it on the path. To make an analogy, Awakening is like a mountain on the horizon, the destination to which you are driving a car. Mindfulness is what remembers to keep attention focused on the road to the mountain, rather than letting it stay focused on glimpses of the mountain or get distracted by other paths leading away from the road.


so if the path to end dukkha relies on mindfulness and if the role of mindfulness is to keep the mind grounded in the present moment as ajahn Thanissaro says, then what is wrong with my statement?
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:38 pm

mettafuture wrote:
gabrielbranbury wrote:I am not really certain how you relate to the word "believe". I dont really like to use the word too much myself. You say you have "tried to believe", but this doesn't make much sense to me.

I was desperate to make Buddhism work because I grew tired of being a seeker.

As far as Im concerned all you need to do is accept that you have no idea and do it without allowing this acceptance to blunt your desire to know for yourself. It also helps to accept that there are more realized beings than you (Buddha) who see reality in a way which defies the ability of language to adequately model for us.

I can believe that there are people who understand life better than I do, but when it comes to explaining the physical world, science has the authority. There is some science to support the idea of parallel dimensions and universes, but there is no evidence, or even a solid reason, to support the idea of external heavens or hells.

But I think I've found a way to reconcile this issue. I've been telling myself to stop seeing the Buddha as more than a man, and that all men can make mistakes, and are the products of their time. The Buddha knew what he was talking about in regards to suffering. He had a great eye, instincts, and authority on this subject. But when it came to explaining the physical world, he likely relied on the dated Vedic explanations of his time, which is okay, and forgivable.

Certainly "wanting philosophy to fit" sounds a bit problematic. Fit with what? Fit with your assumptions about reality?

No, to fit with science. I can't believe that the Buddha's mind was more powerful than the Hubble Telescope. I just can't. lol.

Set it aside and practice.

This is my plan.

If its like a gorilla with christmas lights all over and dancing around then I think it is clear you have not set it aside.

:rofl:

I wish you well

Thank you.

Ben wrote:Hi mettafuture,
r
mettafuture wrote:I really wish that I could just ignore that big rainbow colored gorilla sitting in my living-room, and focus on the teachings that work...


The standard advice given to someone such as you who has a difficulty with this or that concept is "to put it to the side" and concentrate on practice. Maintain sila, develop samadhi and panna and let penetrative insight reveal the nature of reality to you. But right now, we're all caught in the same intractable bear-trap of samsara and the only way to free ourselves in practice.
metta

Ben

Thank you for the advice.

I will try.

So you have apparantly reached a position which satisfies you, so the question arises, why spend time on a Theravadin website ? :smile:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Heavenstorm » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:40 pm

mettafuture wrote:I can believe that there are people who understand life better than I do, but when it comes to explaining the physical world, science has the authority. There is some science to support the idea of parallel dimensions and universes, but there is no evidence, or even a solid reason, to support the idea of external heavens or hells.


Science will never interested in the existence of heaven and hell, much a less research on them, the scientist world don't even entertain the slightest notion. Having said that, even scientists have their own "secret beliefs" which is seemingly absurd like literal Armageddon, creator behind the big bang, etc, and many of them don't even think science will have the answers to everything in the physical world. Its amusing that non scientists find it otherwise.

The more amusing thing is that when many people talk about the theory of parallel universes, they don't realized that it actually gives rise to the possibility of heaven and hell realms existing parallel to our current universe as proposed by some religious figures in the scientist world in the last few decades.

But I think I've found a way to reconcile this issue. I've been telling myself to stop seeing the Buddha as more than a man, and that all men can make mistakes, and are the products of their time. The Buddha knew what he was talking about in regards to suffering. He had a great eye, instincts, and authority on this subject. But when it came to explaining the physical world, he likely relied on the dated Vedic explanations of his time, which is okay, and forgivable.


Buddha is perfect in His Knowledge, if He has contained some flaws in His wisdom, subsequently there will be flaws in the Four Noble Truths which is absurd and something you haven't proved yet.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Heavenstorm » Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:59 pm

mettafuture wrote:There is evidence for people. There is no evidence for external heaven and hell realms that people can be reborn into. It would be easier for me to believe in aliens than it would be for me to believe in a heaven or hell.


How are aliens separated from the notion of heaven and hells? Gods in Buddhism are not immortals and if in the future, some aliens that are found to be of a long lifespan ( as compared to humans), having a beautiful complexion, possess psychic abilities, etc, that will be as good as proving the existence of devas.

On the other hand, if some alien creatures are found to be alive in a planet which contains hellish conditions like Venus, I don't see why wouldn't it be reasonable to say that those animals are experiencing physical hell.

The interpretations of hell and heaven are quite open in Buddhism, no one say its going to be on Earth and since our astronauts never been to any other planets' surface, the jury regarding alien's existence is still out there.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby mettafuture » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:24 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:So you have apparantly reached a position which satisfies you, so the question arises, why spend time on a Theravadin website ? :smile:

Because I still have a lot of interest in the Tipitaka, particularly the Metta and Satipatthana suttas.

Or am I not welcome here?

Heavenstorm wrote:
mettafuture wrote:I can believe that there are people who understand life better than I do, but when it comes to explaining the physical world, science has the authority. There is some science to support the idea of parallel dimensions and universes, but there is no evidence, or even a solid reason, to support the idea of external heavens or hells.

Science will never interested in the existence of heaven and hell, much a less research on them, the scientist world don't even entertain the slightest notion.

There's a lot of research being done on the existence of parallel dimensions and universes. If one of these dimensions proves to be a heaven or hell, I highly doubt they'd have a problem with presenting that information to the world.

The more amusing thing is that when many people talk about the theory of parallel universes, they don't realized that it actually gives rise to the possibility of heaven and hell realms existing parallel to our current universe as proposed by some religious figures in the scientist world in the last few decades.

I haven't ruled out the possibility. I don't know everything, therefore I can't rule out anything.

Buddha is perfect in His Knowledge, if He has contained some flaws in His wisdom, subsequently there will be flaws in the Four Noble Truths which is absurd and something you haven't proved yet.

Believe what you wish. I didn't mean to start a debate. I just wanted to find a way to continue practice, and not worry about the ideas that I have difficulty accepting.

Heavenstorm wrote:
mettafuture wrote:There is evidence for people. There is no evidence for external heaven and hell realms that people can be reborn into. It would be easier for me to believe in aliens than it would be for me to believe in a heaven or hell.

How are aliens separated from the notion of heaven and hells? Gods in Buddhism are not immortals and if in the future, some aliens that are found to be of a long lifespan ( as compared to humans), having a beautiful complexion, possess psychic abilities, etc, that will be as good as proving the existence of devas.

There's plenty of evidence for the existence of physical, sentient, beings, but there's no evidence for sentient beings who are without a physical body. However, I haven't ruled out the possibility of such beings.

On the other hand, if some alien creatures are found to be alive in a planet which contains hellish conditions like Venus, I don't see why wouldn't it be reasonable to say that those animals are experiencing physical hell.

Interesting...

The interpretations of hell and heaven are quite open in Buddhism, no one say its going to be on Earth and since our astronauts never been to any other planets' surface, the jury regarding alien's existence is still out there.

Well said. Good food for thought.
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Re: Do the heaven/hell realms hurt credibility of the dhamma?

Postby Sanghamitta » Thu Jan 21, 2010 8:54 pm

Its not a question of welcome or not welcome. Its about your motive. Like many people I was brought up in a Christian setting. I am no longer interested in Christianity. But I certainly have no interest in dropping into Christian websites and dukeing it out with folks going about their Christian business. On a Website that clearly states that it is a forum for the discussion of Christianity. My ego is big, but not that big.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.
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