Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

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Queequeg
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Queequeg »

Simon E. wrote: Sun Oct 27, 2019 8:53 am “Padmakara came in a form that the mother would trust” said the Lama.
:anjali:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

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There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Bristollad »

futerko wrote: Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:32 am
Bristollad wrote: Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:45 pm
...the idea of Father Christmas, could be nice but just not true.
Whaaaaaaaaatttttt?!?! :o



I think that this highlights one of the big limitations of mind-body dualism - we say that Santa Claus is not real, only imaginary, but in fact he doesn't really fit into either category very well, especially when we consider that many people's lives are governed by pieces of paper with a picture of George Washington's face on them.

...and then we go to the Buddhist centre, they give us a piece of paper with a two dimensional picture of e.g. Vajrasattva and we go and do our sadhana and try to visualise Vajrasattva 'into reality' - of course, if we cannot understand what makes the paper with George Washington on 'real' while the paper with Santa is not real, even though more people globally recognise Santa than George Washington, then we are going to struggle to make our practice effective. I think it is impossible to really understand the doctrine of emptiness (or the hell realms) from within a view defined by mind-body dualism.
Pardon? You really have a problem accepting Father Christmas is only imaginary? And Rudolf too? :rolling:

I’ve never had to deal with paper with George Washington on it, maybe that’s why it seems pretty damn obvious to me, just as it did fifty years ago. :shrug:
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by futerko »

Bristollad wrote: Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:33 pm Pardon? You really have a problem accepting Father Christmas is only imaginary? And Rudolf too? :rolling:

I’ve never had to deal with paper with George Washington on it, maybe that’s why it seems pretty damn obvious to me, just as it did fifty years ago. :shrug:

Well, I noticed that you made a very similar distinction here,

Bristollad wrote: Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:22 am
I'm not sure the theory of a collective unconscious is correct, but that's not saying the phenomena it tries to explain isn't occuring. A bit like acupuncture - I believe sticking needles in people, in particular places can have therapeutic effects but the 5 element theory, meridians and so on, I'm not so sure of. However, it does allow for the diagnosis and treatiment of people so I think of it as either true (and my doubts are unfounded) or a useful fiction (like telling someone to breathe in through the soles of their feet - it's not actually possible but the instruction works).

...and as your doubts about acupuncture suggest that you tend to view it as a useful fiction - that would mean that you have a category which includes; postmortem imagery, acupuncture, the hell realms, and Father Christmas! :shock:
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

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truthb wrote: Sun Oct 20, 2019 4:03 pm Hi all-

I have been tinkering with Buddhism for years, meaning taking little bits of pieces and now I am diving in deep and really imersing myself in the Mahayana tradition.

Looking at the Hell realms, and it seems incomphrehensible to me that someone could do enough bad things in one lifetime to warrant 1 billion years of torture.... and that is the shortest term in a hell realm, some are MUCH longer.

Any insights?

It’s not a matter of ‘deserving’, and karma is not ‘reward and punishment’. Nobody is giving out demerit points. I think the teaching is that, in this human birth, there is the possibility of realising Nirvāṇa, but if we fail to get on track, then the chance might not come again for what, from the human perspective, is an unthinkably long period of time. From a naturalistic perspective, it sure seems that human birth is a very rare event in the Universe, even if at this time in history there are unprecedented numbers of humans on Earth. Maybe this is a chance for those beings - us, actually - to commit to the path and thereby avoid falling back into lesser realms for aeons. I know it’s a scary thought - and ought to be.

I noticed this book on hell by Sam Bercholz, founder of Shambhala publications, but I haven’t gotten hold of it.
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by WesleyP »

I've suffered through the Hell realms before.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Bristollad »

futerko wrote: Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:13 pm
Bristollad wrote: Sun Oct 27, 2019 9:33 pm Pardon? You really have a problem accepting Father Christmas is only imaginary? And Rudolf too? :rolling:

I’ve never had to deal with paper with George Washington on it, maybe that’s why it seems pretty damn obvious to me, just as it did fifty years ago. :shrug:

Well, I noticed that you made a very similar distinction here,

Bristollad wrote: Sat Oct 26, 2019 8:22 am
I'm not sure the theory of a collective unconscious is correct, but that's not saying the phenomena it tries to explain isn't occuring. A bit like acupuncture - I believe sticking needles in people, in particular places can have therapeutic effects but the 5 element theory, meridians and so on, I'm not so sure of. However, it does allow for the diagnosis and treatiment of people so I think of it as either true (and my doubts are unfounded) or a useful fiction (like telling someone to breathe in through the soles of their feet - it's not actually possible but the instruction works).

...and as your doubts about acupuncture suggest that you tend to view it as a useful fiction - that would mean that you have a category which includes; postmortem imagery, acupuncture, the hell realms, and Father Christmas! :shock:
What distinction is it you think I’ve made?
I don’t view acupuncture as a useful fiction, I have doubts about the traditional theory explaining why sticking needles in people works. I also don’t view the hell realms as fiction though it makes sense to me that the form of those is determined by our karma and need not match the descriptions in the Abhidharmakosa for instance. Father Christmas is as real as unicorns and not useful at all. You seem to be adding a lot from your own side to what I’ve written.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by muni »

it sure seems that human birth is a very rare event in the Universe, even if at this time in history there are unprecedented numbers of humans on Earth. Maybe this is a chance for those beings - us, actually - to commit to the path and thereby avoid falling back into lesser realms for aeons.
Once Rinpoche (forgot name) said: there are not many humans among humans. This made me reflect.

MAY ALL BEINGS BE FREE FROM SUFFERING!
Conversely, viewing the self as a mere convention or as a designated label for our dynamic stream of experience - consciousness in relation to the body and the world - is in harmony with the interdependent and impermanent nature of reality; and leads to a state of well-being grounded in wisdom, altruism, compassion, and inner freedom.
https://www.matthieuricard.org/en/blog/ ... he-self--2

Simplicity reveals the nature of the mind behind the veil of restless thoughts.
https://www.matthieuricard.org/en/blog/ ... plicity--2
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by futerko »

Bristollad wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:53 am
futerko wrote: Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:13 pm ...and as your doubts about acupuncture suggest that you tend to view it as a useful fiction - that would mean that you have a category which includes; postmortem imagery, acupuncture, the hell realms, and Father Christmas! :shock:
What distinction is it you think I’ve made?
I don’t view acupuncture as a useful fiction, I have doubts about the traditional theory explaining why sticking needles in people works. I also don’t view the hell realms as fiction though it makes sense to me that the form of those is determined by our karma and need not match the descriptions in the Abhidharmakosa for instance. Father Christmas is as real as unicorns and not useful at all. You seem to be adding a lot from your own side to what I’ve written.
Well, here you distinguish between not fiction and fiction, and you also distinguish useful fictions from not useful fictions.
Previously you used the word 'true' to describe the idea of non fiction, although here you use the term 'real'.

So it seems that the main distinction you make is between real and imaginary.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

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futerko wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 9:50 am
Bristollad wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:53 am
futerko wrote: Sun Oct 27, 2019 11:13 pm ...and as your doubts about acupuncture suggest that you tend to view it as a useful fiction - that would mean that you have a category which includes; postmortem imagery, acupuncture, the hell realms, and Father Christmas! :shock:
What distinction is it you think I’ve made?
I don’t view acupuncture as a useful fiction, I have doubts about the traditional theory explaining why sticking needles in people works. I also don’t view the hell realms as fiction though it makes sense to me that the form of those is determined by our karma and need not match the descriptions in the Abhidharmakosa for instance. Father Christmas is as real as unicorns and not useful at all. You seem to be adding a lot from your own side to what I’ve written.
Well, here you distinguish between not fiction and fiction, and you also distinguish useful fictions from not useful fictions.
Previously you used the word 'true' to describe the idea of non fiction, although here you use the term 'real'.

So it seems that the main distinction you make is between real and imaginary.
You grouped together postmortem imagery, acupuncture, the hell realms, and Father Christmas and said, "you tend to view it as a useful fiction". I was commenting to your grouping.

You don't make a distinction between real and imaginary? I'm not talking ultimate analysis here: I'm sure you see a difference between horses and unicorns between Father Christmas and Donald Trump Jnr., on the conventional level, don't you?

As for useful fictions, I agree with these rules of thumb:

Rules of Thumb
Thumb’s First Postulate: It is better to use a crude approximation and know the truth, plus or minus 10 percent, than demand an exact solution and know nothing at all.
Thumb’s Second Postulate: An easily understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex incomprehensible truth.
— Anonymous
In Arthur Bloch, The Complete Murphy's Law: A Definitive Collection (1991)
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by futerko »

Bristollad wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:48 pm You don't make a distinction between real and imaginary?
Yes, of course. The real is the unconditioned, and imaginary is the mistaken belief that verbal postulates connect to anything other than themselves.
Bristollad wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:48 pm I'm sure you see a difference between horses and unicorns between Father Christmas and Donald Trump Jnr., on the conventional level, don't you?
Yes, of course. Unicorns have horns, horses don't, and Father Christmas has a big white beard, Donald Trump Jnr. doesn't.

Bristollad wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 1:48 pm
As for useful fictions, I agree with these rules of thumb:

Rules of Thumb
Thumb’s First Postulate: It is better to use a crude approximation and know the truth, plus or minus 10 percent, than demand an exact solution and know nothing at all.
Thumb’s Second Postulate: An easily understood, workable falsehood is more useful than a complex incomprehensible truth.
— Anonymous
In Arthur Bloch, The Complete Murphy's Law: A Definitive Collection (1991)
I've notice you use the word "useful" a lot. Would you describe yourself as a utilitarian?
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Nemo »

When I recounted my story to my teacher he was quiet for a long time. Then he agreed that yes it was so very hard to communicate with beings trapped in hell. That many high lamas spend decades developing the ability. He said appearing as someone the person knows or is strongly connected to helps. For some young children seeing Santa would not be out of the question. Or Jesus, Buddha, an angel with wings, their mom, etc. For hell beings if they can't develop a moment of Bodhicitta they are stuck. And shit is pretty crazy there. If it's not an ingrained habit you don't have a chance.

May all sentient being forgive themselves and others.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Simon E. »

Amen..
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by futerko »

One question that has occurred to me several times is that, despite calling ourselves human, what possible clues are there to confirm what realm this is?

I think that by doing this, I could better understand the hungry ghost realm, simply because this description of a permanent dissatisfaction was so familiar to me.

One of the aspects of the human realm is that one is able to see the spectrum of behaviours relating to the other five lokas, and I found that by seeing this aspect of the kind of "existential orientation" being described, the concept of purifying the six lokas became more clear to me.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

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futerko wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 6:36 pm One question that has occurred to me several times is that, despite calling ourselves human, what possible clues are there to confirm what realm this is?

I think that by doing this, I could better understand the hungry ghost realm, simply because this description of a permanent dissatisfaction was so familiar to me.

One of the aspects of the human realm is that one is able to see the spectrum of behaviours relating to the other five lokas, and I found that by seeing this aspect of the kind of "existential orientation" being described, the concept of purifying the six lokas became more clear to me.
That is the spooky question. It's very easy to understand that God realms and hells are almost wholly projected phenomenon. So is this realm as well?

This thread is so timely. Last week was the festival of Yama and this week Halloween.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Realms are manifestation of the illusory experience of an intrinsically existing self.
The teachings refer to six realms
but they aren't really clearly separate, boxed-in cells.
Where is the exact line where your hand stops and your wrist begins,
or that clearly divides your shoulder and your neck?
My understanding is, it's more like that.
You can say, "This is my hand, this is my wrist, this is my shoulder, this is my neck"
and refer to separate places
but a being can be generating the experience of more than one.
.
.
.
Be kindness
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Caoimhghín »

Well, at one point, the six realms were conceived of as points on a map, a map of the "cosmos." The asuras were at the base of Sumeru, for instance. Hells were beneath us, heavens above, etc.

The advent of modern cosmology, heliocentrism (gasp!) being the least of problems, was something that hit Buddhism roughly. Japanese academics for a while defended Sumeru cosmology against Western scientific models.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

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Caoimhghín wrote: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:06 am Well, at one point, the six realms were conceived of as points on a map, a map of the "cosmos." The asuras were at the base of Sumeru, for instance. Hells were beneath us, heavens above, etc.

The advent of modern cosmology, heliocentrism (gasp!) being the least of problems, was something that hit Buddhism roughly. Japanese academics for a while defended Sumeru cosmology against Western scientific models.
I really find this sort of black and white explanation of all Buddhist cosmology a bit suspect. Yes, of course social "experts" of the time expressed this or that theory, but the Six Realms concept also has a psychological component (and I mean that in the deeper sense, rather than just an equation with Western psychological models) that can be found alongside the "external" cosmological-physical one in traditional teachings. I Imagine that heliocentrism did indeed hit those who relied on the Six Realms to describe external cosmology hard, but this is not, and has never been the only usage or understanding of this concept.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Bristollad »

futerko wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:25 pm I've notice you use the word "useful" a lot. Would you describe yourself as a utilitarian?
No. I’ve never studied Western philosophy and what little I’ve read seemed of little use :tongue:
Perhaps if I had studied it, I would think differently. I’ve seen that some draw parallels between negative utilitarianism and Buddhism but I’m too uneducated to have a valid opinion.
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Caoimhghín »

:anjali:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:31 am
Caoimhghín wrote: Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:06 am Well, at one point, the six realms were conceived of as points on a map, a map of the "cosmos." The asuras were at the base of Sumeru, for instance. Hells were beneath us, heavens above, etc.

The advent of modern cosmology, heliocentrism (gasp!) being the least of problems, was something that hit Buddhism roughly. Japanese academics for a while defended Sumeru cosmology against Western scientific models.
I really find this sort of black and white explanation of all Buddhist cosmology a bit suspect. Yes, of course social "experts" of the time expressed this or that theory, but the Six Realms concept also has a psychological component (and I mean that in the deeper sense, rather than just an equation with Western psychological models) that can be found alongside the "external" cosmological-physical one in traditional teachings. I Imagine that heliocentrism did indeed hit those who relied on the Six Realms to describe external cosmology hard, but this is not, and has never been the only usage or understanding of this concept.
Well, to be quite frank, one can find worse, in terms of "black and white explanation[s]," in the loka division of any given Abhidharma text than what I've given here IMO.

In fact, I was thinking of Venerable Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā, the only actual Abhidharma text I've read, when I wrote the above.

If the "experts" are the Abhidharmikāḥ, then yes, the medieval Buddhist scholasticists thought of every explanation for X and Y aspect of Buddhadharma under the moon, and those explanations were logical to students of the time, teachers of the time of even.

That being said, I'm hardly going to hate on the sattvadhātu as the dharmadhātu as the ekadhātu ("one world"). That is basic Mahāyāna Buddhism.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
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Re: Buddhist Hell seems a bit much

Post by Simon E. »

Bristollad wrote: Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:01 am
futerko wrote: Mon Oct 28, 2019 3:25 pm I've notice you use the word "useful" a lot. Would you describe yourself as a utilitarian?
No. I’ve never studied Western philosophy and what little I’ve read seemed of little use :tongue:
Perhaps if I had studied it, I would think differently. I’ve seen that some draw parallels between negative utilitarianism and Buddhism but I’m too uneducated to have a valid opinion.
I would go further. I have never seen a discussion re Buddhadharma which does not run into the sand at least temporarily, whenever concepts from Western secular philosophy are dragged in a through the back door.
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
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