The Problem With Hell

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Pondera
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The Problem With Hell

Post by Pondera »

It’s seems in Christianity that whether one does good or bad deeds and thoughts, the Almighty Creator demands this: “Worship my son, Jesus, and you will NOT go to Hell. Otherwise, your phucked (either way).”

Buddhism is reasonable. And odd. It sees people with bright kamma going to hell. It sees people with dark kamma going to heaven.

But, the general rule is that good people go to heaven.

At what point do we as “good” people ignore the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?

For surely, it is a thorn to ALWAYS worry about going to Hell. That worry is reserved for those without virtue.

What about us who are endowed with virtue? At what point do we discard the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?
“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments.[2] The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment."[3]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Nicholas Weeks »

Wiser ones will correct me. But I believe it is not a binary choice, either Hells or Heavens. It is matter of a ratio of time spent.

Lots of very bad kamma, repeated a lot with no regrets = very long time in one or more hells. If this same person has a little good kamma, then after the hellish times a little bit of heavenly happiness.

Just flip the ratio to lots of very good kamma, repeated often & eagerly = very long time in one or more heavens. But if also a little bad kamma, then a short stay in a hell.

Adjust for other ratios. These three verses from Dhammapada are good to follow:
116. Hasten to do good; restrain your mind from
evil. He who is slow in doing good, his mind delights in evil.

117. Should a person commit evil, let him not do
it again and again. Let him not find pleasure
therein, for painful is the accumulation of evil.

118. Should a person do good, let him do it again
and again. Let him find pleasure therein, for
blissful is the accumulation of good.
Dhamma is against the stream of common thought, deep, subtle, difficult, delicate, unseen by passion’s slaves cloaked in the murk of ignorance. Vipassī Buddha
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Dhammanando
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Dhammanando »

Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:46 am At what point do we as “good” people ignore the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?
When we're sekhas and therefore free of the risk of arising in lower realms. Until then prudence is always advisable.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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Pondera
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Pondera »

Dhammanando wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 4:36 am
Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:46 am At what point do we as “good” people ignore the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?
When we're sekhas and therefore free of the risk of arising in lower realms. Until then prudence is always advisable.

I have had a dream where I ascended to heaven among a group of friends via the reckoning of a close friend (in particular) who knew the path to the higher realm.

As a result I became aware that it is not only those who follow the Buddhist path who reach heaven.

It is also good householders who work hard, and value their partners and children who also reach heavenly states.

I am more convinced now that the warnings of Hell are for those without virtue.

After all. When the world begins to contract, the majority of people head to the a certain heaven.
“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments.[2] The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment."[3]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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Dhammanando
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Dhammanando »

Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 4:56 am I am more convinced now that the warnings of Hell are for those without virtue.
Sure. But in practice that means the overwhelming majority of people, assuming that we take the ten kusala kammapathas as our standard of what makes a virtuous human.
Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 4:56 amAfter all. When the world begins to contract, the majority of people head to the a certain heaven.
I take it you're referring to this passage from the Aggaññasutta:
There comes a time, Vāseṭṭha, when, sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period, this world passes away. And when this happens, beings have mostly been reborn in the Abhassara world.
If so, this isn't an account of where beings are mostly headed in normal times. Rather, it has to do with a very special time when normal patterns don't apply.

When they know that a world-system's destruction is imminent, anāgāmin and arahant devas from the Suddhāvāsas come down to earth in human guise precisely in order to promote the development of jhānic merit that will enable beings to obtain rebirth in the Abhassara realm or higher. Those beings who don't heed their teaching won't make it to Abhassara but will instead be compelled to transmigrate to a lower (i.e., sub-Abhassara) realm in a different world-system.

In our time, however, we don't yet have such Suddhāvāsa devas walking among us.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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confusedlayman
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by confusedlayman »

Dhammanando wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 9:17 am
Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 4:56 am I am more convinced now that the warnings of Hell are for those without virtue.
Sure. But in practice that means the overwhelming majority of people, assuming that we take the ten kusala kammapathas as our standard of what makes a virtuous human.
Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 4:56 amAfter all. When the world begins to contract, the majority of people head to the a certain heaven.
I take it you're referring to this passage from the Aggaññasutta:
There comes a time, Vāseṭṭha, when, sooner or later, after the lapse of a long, long period, this world passes away. And when this happens, beings have mostly been reborn in the Abhassara world.
If so, this isn't an account of where beings are mostly headed in normal times. Rather, it has to do with a very special time when normal patterns don't apply.

When they know that a world-system's destruction is imminent, anāgāmin and arahant devas from the Suddhāvāsas come down to earth in human guise precisely in order to promote the development of jhānic merit that will enable beings to obtain rebirth in the Abhassara realm or higher. Those beings who don't heed their teaching won't make it to Abhassara but will instead be compelled to transmigrate to a lower (i.e., sub-Abhassara) realm in a different world-system.

In our time, however, we don't yet have such Suddhāvāsa devas walking among us.
because buddhist community in human realm itself has knowledge of jhana so a monk can urge people to practice and there is no need for urgency unless one really wants to reborn there at this moment as other lower heavenly realms will be stable
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
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seeker242
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by seeker242 »

What about us who are endowed with virtue? At what point do we discard the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?
The point in which one gains the skill in being able to direct the attention appropriately, which mean you no longer direct it to worrying about things like hell.
"And what is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen? There are phenomena that act as a foothold for uncertainty. To foster inappropriate attention to them: This is the food for the arising of unarisen uncertainty, or for the growth & increase of uncertainty once it has arisen.
"From inappropriate attention
you're being chewed by your thoughts.
Relinquishing what's inappropriate,
contemplate
appropriately.

Keeping your mind on the Teacher,
the Dhamma, the Sangha, your virtues,
you will arrive at
joy,
rapture,
pleasure
without doubt.

Then, saturated
with joy,
you will put an end
to suffering & stress."
This of course assumes that one actually is endowed with actual virtue.
SteRo
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by SteRo »

Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:46 am At what point do we discard the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?
Not knowing "we" is not knowing "hell" and not knowing "heaven" since both, "hell" and "heaven" seem to be the fabrications of "we".
Cleared.
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Kusala
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Kusala »

Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:46 am It’s seems in Christianity that whether one does good or bad deeds and thoughts, the Almighty Creator demands this: “Worship my son, Jesus, and you will NOT go to Hell. Otherwise, your phucked (either way).”

Buddhism is reasonable. And odd. It sees people with bright kamma going to hell. It sees people with dark kamma going to heaven.

But, the general rule is that good people go to heaven.

At what point do we as “good” people ignore the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?

For surely, it is a thorn to ALWAYS worry about going to Hell. That worry is reserved for those without virtue.

What about us who are endowed with virtue? At what point do we discard the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?
God/Allah/Yahweh whatever you call him is none other than Mara...
"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "
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confusedlayman
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by confusedlayman »

SteRo wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 10:35 pm
Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:46 am At what point do we discard the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?
Not knowing "we" is not knowing "hell" and not knowing "heaven" since both, "hell" and "heaven" seem to be the fabrications of "we".
I accept there is only materiality and mentality is illusion due to movement of materiality like neurons etc... why still thoughts are apprehended as real. ? What practice to do so this tendency is eradication... or neurons stops firing inside brain to create illusory thoughts?
I may be slow learner but im at least learning...
tamdrin
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by tamdrin »

Pondera wrote: Sat May 08, 2021 12:46 am It’s seems in Christianity that whether one does good or bad deeds and thoughts, the Almighty Creator demands this: “Worship my son, Jesus, and you will NOT go to Hell. Otherwise, your phucked (either way).”

Buddhism is reasonable. And odd. It sees people with bright kamma going to hell. It sees people with dark kamma going to heaven.

But, the general rule is that good people go to heaven.

At what point do we as “good” people ignore the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?

For surely, it is a thorn to ALWAYS worry about going to Hell. That worry is reserved for those without virtue.

What about us who are endowed with virtue? At what point do we discard the warnings of Hell and welcome the prospects of Heaven?

As I understand it, if you create a lot of wholesome mental kamma, especially in regards to cultivating the four brahma viharas then there is a good chance your consciousness could beeline for a heavenly realm at the time of death. If this is your goal you should make your commitment to do as many good deeds of body, speech, and mind, as you can each day until you die. You will then die with no regrets.

Best wishes.
pegembara
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by pegembara »

Here is a good piece of advice -
"And what are the ideas unfit for attention that he attends to? Whatever ideas such that, when he attends to them, the unarisen fermentation of sensuality arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of sensuality increases; the unarisen fermentation of becoming arises in him, and arisen fermentation of becoming increases; the unarisen fermentation of ignorance arises in him, and the arisen fermentation of ignorance increases. These are the ideas unfit for attention that he attends to.

"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones — who has regard for noble ones, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma; who has regard for men of integrity, is well-versed & disciplined in their Dhamma — discerns what ideas are fit for attention and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention and attends [instead] to ideas fit for attention.

"He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices. These are called the fermentations to be abandoned by seeing.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
So is thinking about getting to heaven and avoiding hell stressful or not?
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Dhammanando
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Dhammanando »

Kusala wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:09 am God/Allah/Yahweh whatever you call him is none other than Mara...
As Buddhism rejects the doctrine of a world creator, surely the Buddhist equivalent of God or Allah or Yahweh would be sky flowers or the sons of a barren woman or the horns of a hare.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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Pondera
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Pondera »

Dhammanando wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 10:20 am
Kusala wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 11:09 am God/Allah/Yahweh whatever you call him is none other than Mara...
As Buddhism rejects the doctrine of a world creator, surely the Buddhist equivalent of God or Allah or Yahweh would be sky flowers or the sons of a barren woman or the horns of a hare.
Don’t we have “Gods who delight in creating”?

Along with “Gods who delight in controlling those creations”?
“Monk, the property of light, the property of beauty, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of space, the property of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, the property of the dimension of nothingness: These properties are to be reached as perception attainments.[2] The property of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception is to be reached as a remnant-of-fabrications attainment. The property of the cessation of feeling & perception is to be reached as a cessation attainment."[3]

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
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Dhammanando
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Re: The Problem With Hell

Post by Dhammanando »

Pondera wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 9:12 pm Don’t we have “Gods who delight in creating”?

Along with “Gods who delight in controlling those creations”?
They don't create the universe or even a single world-system. The nimmānarati devas have the power to create things for their own amusement. The paranimittavasavatti devas have the power to order other devas to do so.
Anabhirati kho, āvuso, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye dukkhā, abhirati sukhā.

“To not delight in this dhammavinaya, friend, is painful; to delight in it is bliss.”
(Sukhasutta, AN 10:66)
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