Confused about the Six Realms

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Blossom
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Confused about the Six Realms

Post by Blossom » Thu Feb 05, 2015 4:06 pm

I am confused about what Mahayana Buddhists believe about the six realms.
Are they representations of the fluctuating life states of humans, or are they actual realms which people are born into?
A nun told me that she prayed for hungry ghosts, which she said we cannot see.
However, the SGI teaches that hell beings and hungry ghosts are not otherworldly, but material people. :shrug:

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Feb 05, 2015 6:53 pm

Blossom wrote:I am confused about what Mahayana Buddhists believe about the six realms.
Are they representations of the fluctuating life states of humans, or are they actual realms which people are born into?
A nun told me that she prayed for hungry ghosts, which she said we cannot see.
However, the SGI teaches that hell beings and hungry ghosts are not otherworldly, but material people. :shrug:
I think both are true...however

It doesn't really matter, does it?

If you believe that the mental states represented by the six realms are "real" enough that they can be experienced based on karma, then the only question is whether or not they extend beyond your senses in this life - doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility to me. Buddhadharma functions the same way whichever answer you choose, and ontological questions like this don't have any bearing on that.
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Paul
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by Paul » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:29 pm

The six realms are real, but are also convenient metaphors.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

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Queequeg
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by Queequeg » Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:08 pm

In the SGI approach, which is basically Nichiren, the six realms, actually framed within a ten dharma realm scheme, refers to both actual realms and what we can call psychological or consciousness based qualities. This is explicitly spelled out in the concept "mutual possession of the ten worlds". Each dharma realm is said to inherently permeate the other nine. The most significant takeaway is that the world of buddhahood is coextensive with the other nine.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Konchok Namgyal
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by Konchok Namgyal » Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:54 pm

The six realms....I teach on this once a week....a very difficult subject, and even more difficult to understand in the western mindset.

They can be allegorical, I.E. representing humans suffering from all of the afflictions...jealousy, greed, hatred, desire etc, or they can be viewed as six reals where all sentient beings exist on their own plane of existence.

somewhat difficult to wrap your head around..needless to say the point of it is that no matter what kind of sentient being you are , you suffer.

If you need more info I can break them down for you and explain a little further if needed pm me....hope this helps
:namaste:
Recognize that your mind is the unity of being empty and cognizant, suffused with knowing. When your attention is extroverted, you fall under the sway of thoughts. Let your attention recognize itself. Recognize that it is empty. That which recognizes is the cognizance. You can trust at that moment that these two – emptiness and cognizance – are an original unity. Seeing this is called self-knowing wakefulness. ~ Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by M.G. » Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:46 am

I think the teachings regarding the Six Realms are an instance of the map not being exactly synonymous with the territory.

Its a useful metaphor for understanding something of the realities which various types of sentient beings experience as well as a guide to human neuroses.

Other classifications of experience could certainly also be useful.

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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by Ambrosius80 » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:36 pm

The Six Realms are both metaphorical and physical places in my opinion. In Buddhism, things are often described as both literally existent and allegorical, like the Pure Lands; they are both created in your mind as well as existing as actual dimensions where the consciousness moves after the death of this body.

Therefore it is in my opinion wrong to believe in either-or; on one hand, if you don't believe there are physical realms where the consciousness is transferred after death, you also don't believe in literal reincarnation and Buddhism loses its main purpose to obtain liberation from Samsara. On the other hand, if you only believe in the realms as physical places you don't believe in a consciousness that changes from moment to moment, symbolically wandering in the Six Realms, and you dismiss Buddha's teaching of a non-permanent consciousness and the lack of a permanent soul.
"What we have now is the best. He who can never be satisfied is a poor man, no matter how much he owns.

What you have results from karmic causes that you created, and what you'll gain hinges on karmic causes that you're creating."
-Master Sheng Yen

hop.pala
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by hop.pala » Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:54 pm

Blossom wrote:I am confused about what Mahayana Buddhists believe about the six realms.
Are they representations of the fluctuating life states of humans, or are they actual realms which people are born into?
A nun told me that she prayed for hungry ghosts, which she said we cannot see.
However, the SGI teaches that hell beings and hungry ghosts are not otherworldly, but material people. :shrug:


What not understand?People the have much desire,or thirst(thisna)are hungry ghost.All people will go through this status hungry ghost,the question only how long stay by this state of consciousness.

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TheSynergist
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by TheSynergist » Wed Mar 18, 2015 8:02 pm

Ambrosius80 wrote:The Six Realms are both metaphorical and physical places in my opinion. In Buddhism, things are often described as both literally existent and allegorical, like the Pure Lands; they are both created in your mind as well as existing as actual dimensions where the consciousness moves after the death of this body.

Therefore it is in my opinion wrong to believe in either-or; on one hand, if you don't believe there are physical realms where the consciousness is transferred after death, you also don't believe in literal reincarnation and Buddhism loses its main purpose to obtain liberation from Samsara. On the other hand, if you only believe in the realms as physical places you don't believe in a consciousness that changes from moment to moment, symbolically wandering in the Six Realms, and you dismiss Buddha's teaching of a non-permanent consciousness and the lack of a permanent soul.
:good:

antiquebuddhas
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by antiquebuddhas » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:27 am

Blossom wrote:I am confused about what Mahayana Buddhists believe about the six realms.
Are they representations of the fluctuating life states of humans, or are they actual realms which people are born into?
A nun told me that she prayed for hungry ghosts, which she said we cannot see.
However, the SGI teaches that hell beings and hungry ghosts are not otherworldly, but material people. :shrug:
I think that describing the six realms have some purpose. It is taught in order to teach us about the results of ignorance, superior feelings, inferiority feelings, hunger, greed, anger and such. Like god realms is a medium to teach about greed. Let's say human beings with too much wealth, live a wonderful life, yet they act as they are like god and are way too greedy. That results in rebirthing in one of the six realms and according to the cycle of samsara they will be reborn in the lower realms and cannot escape this cycle of rebirth until and unless they achieved liberation.
You also talked about Hungry ghosts. What are the hungry ghosts?
they might be supernatural beings than human beings. But imo, hungry ghosts are the medium to teach us the unsatisfying hunger, craving for new things in order to satisfy our hunger, this hunger keeps on rising.
same goes for other realms.
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." Lord Buddha

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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by KathyLauren » Sun Apr 05, 2015 12:47 pm

Like just about everythiung else in the Dharma, the value of the teachings on the Six Realms is not in the reality or otherwise of what is "out there". Everything "out there" is all equally a product of the deluded mind. The value of the teaching is: what do you as a practitioner, a bodhisattve, do about it?

The teaching is that these six realms exist, and that their inhabitants have particular characteristics. What does it matter if the denizens of those realms have human bodies and live here on Earth or of they are aliens on Mars, or if they are in different planes of existence? How do you, as a bodhisattva relate to them? How does your compassion for them manifest? How do you live your life so that it is beneficial to them? How do you relate to other beings when you can't tell superficially which realm they exist in? (i.e. if the realms are allegorical, any human you meet could be a god or a hungry ghost; if the realms are physically real, they might be all around you without your being aware of it; either way, the same questions apply.)

Don't get confused by the pages and pages of dialogue and debate about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It is about how you should live your life.

Om mani padme hum
Keith

TaTa
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by TaTa » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:14 pm

I think it all goes down to what you mean by real.

It seems that modern practitioners tend to have difficulties to see what it implies that the materialistic view that consciousness is not a epiphenomena of matter is not true (according to buddhist teachings). If we take the hypothesis that consciousness is fundamental to reality it completely re-defines our notion of reality and the possibilities expand almost limitless.
In this sense it by real you mean that they exist independently of a cognitive framework, and perception, intrinsically really out there by their own side then definitly no, but then again, nothing else does.
If by real you mean dependently arising, then yes.

Just my opinion

hop.pala
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Re: Confused about the Six Realms

Post by hop.pala » Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:18 pm

Blossom wrote:I am confused about what Mahayana Buddhists believe about the six realms.
Are they representations of the fluctuating life states of humans, or are they actual realms which people are born :shrug:
The six realms is the 6 state of consciousness,let the word born.

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