Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

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whyisuffer
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Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by whyisuffer »

Just wondering. Can they?
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Queequeg
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by Queequeg »

No. They have no respite from their suffering. Its impossible to have a single thought if you're constantly getting stabbed in the gut with a pitchfork by some giant demon. That's why it takes them so long to get out.
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

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.
-Ayacana Sutta
Snowbeast
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by Snowbeast »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:03 am No. They have no respite from their suffering. Its impossible to have a single thought if you're constantly getting stabbed in the gut with a pitchfork by some giant demon. That's why it takes them so long to get out.
This is very interesting can you elaborate on this?
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Queequeg
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by Queequeg »

Not really. If you're interested, you could look at the Ojo Yoshu by Genshin which includes a very detailed overview of all the realms of samsara including the hells. IIRC, the Abhidharmakosabhasyam by Vasubandhu explains the limitations of hell dwellers.

If you think of some point in your life where you have been painfully suffering - that experience of suffering overwhelms and dominates your experience. There's no room for any thoughts other than your suffering. Hell is like that except magnitudes worse and goes on for eons.
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

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.
-Ayacana Sutta
Snowbeast
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by Snowbeast »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:51 am Not really. If you're interested, you could look at the Ojo Yoshu by Genshin which includes a very detailed overview of all the realms of samsara including the hells. IIRC, the Abhidharmakosabhasyam by Vasubandhu explains the limitations of hell dwellers.

If you think of some point in your life where you have been painfully suffering - that experience of suffering overwhelms and dominates your experience. There's no room for any thoughts other than your suffering. Hell is like that except magnitudes worse and goes on for eons.
Thanks this clears it up. I was wondering if you or someone else can answer a related question I have. When someone goes to the Heaven realms after they die where do they usually go after all the good karma is exhausted?
SteRo
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by SteRo »

Snowbeast wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:12 am When someone goes to the Heaven realms after they die where do they usually go after all the good karma is exhausted?
There are 31 planes of existence, 4 of which are the states of deprivation, 1 the human realm. What does "Heaven realms" refer to? The remaining planes of existence?
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Queequeg
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by Queequeg »

Snowbeast wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:12 am
Thanks this clears it up. I was wondering if you or someone else can answer a related question I have. When someone goes to the Heaven realms after they die where do they usually go after all the good karma is exhausted?
When the good times are had and all the good karma is exhausted, it's back down. You've been Brahma, the 'Creator', innumerable times before. You've roasted in hot hell's and you've shattered into crystals of blood in the cold hell's, for eons on end. You've eaten your children, fought your siblings to the death, witnessed the creation and destruction of the universe time and again. Rarely have you encountered the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha as you have now, and even more rarely taken it up, only to forget it again.

[Edit: this is not to scare. more to emphasize the scale and scope of samsara and frame the current encounter with Buddhism]
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

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.
-Ayacana Sutta
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LastLegend
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by LastLegend »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 7:03 am No. They have no respite from their suffering. Its impossible to have a single thought if you're constantly getting stabbed in the gut with a pitchfork by some giant demon. That's why it takes them so long to get out.
:lol:
Make personal vows.

End of the day: I don’t know.
kausalya
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by kausalya »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:51 am If you think of some point in your life where you have been painfully suffering - that experience of suffering overwhelms and dominates your experience. There's no room for any thoughts other than your suffering. Hell is like that except magnitudes worse and goes on for eons.
Generally, I agree with this. However, it's not unheard-of for hell beings to begin to feel compassion for others in the same situation. If the Jataka tales are any indication, that eventual moment of compassion is what enables hell beings to die and be reborn elsewhere.
"For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world."
(Shantideva)
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Queequeg
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by Queequeg »

kausalya wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:35 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:51 am If you think of some point in your life where you have been painfully suffering - that experience of suffering overwhelms and dominates your experience. There's no room for any thoughts other than your suffering. Hell is like that except magnitudes worse and goes on for eons.
Generally, I agree with this. However, it's not unheard-of for hell beings to begin to feel compassion for others in the same situation. If the Jataka tales are any indication, that eventual moment of compassion is what enables hell beings to die and be reborn elsewhere.
True. But that moment of compassion is a flash within eons of suffering. Like the size of a grain of sand compared to the size of the solar system. The take away, I think, is the immense fortune in that momentary experience of compassion.
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

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.
-Ayacana Sutta
kausalya
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by kausalya »

Queequeg wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:48 pm
kausalya wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:35 pm
Queequeg wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:51 am If you think of some point in your life where you have been painfully suffering - that experience of suffering overwhelms and dominates your experience. There's no room for any thoughts other than your suffering. Hell is like that except magnitudes worse and goes on for eons.
Generally, I agree with this. However, it's not unheard-of for hell beings to begin to feel compassion for others in the same situation. If the Jataka tales are any indication, that eventual moment of compassion is what enables hell beings to die and be reborn elsewhere.
True. But that moment of compassion is a flash within eons of suffering. Like the size of a grain of sand compared to the size of the solar system. The take away, I think, is the immense fortune in that momentary experience of compassion.
Still, I take a lot of comfort from that! Like, eventually, little old me will get this wisdom thing through my skull and become a good person instead of just trying to act like one. It's the light at the end of the tunnel, so it doesn't really matter how big it is, as long as it's there.
"For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world."
(Shantideva)
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cyril
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by cyril »

whyisuffer wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:41 am Just wondering. Can they?
In his delog account, Tagla Konchog Gyaltsen has given the names of many people from Eastern Tibet who were suffering in various Hell realms. He describes their suffering and what messages they had for their loved ones. Sometimes, Tagla wouldn't see the people but only hear their crying voices calling him. For example, one group of hell-beings said; "Kindly give the following message to our living relatives: Please establish connections to true religious people. Please give food and materials to needy and hungry people and animals. Please carve OM MANI PADME HUM on stones, print it on pieces of cloth and hoist them as prayer flags. Please ransom animals from the hands of the butchers. Please make smoke offerings (sur) and water offerings (chutor) to the beings of the spirit realm. Please offer light to the Buddhas and build prayed wheels. Please recite OM MANI PADME HUM whenever you hear our names or remember us
- From Tulku Thondup's "Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth"

There are many accounts such as this one among the delogs of Tibet. With the implication that some hell-beings not only remember their past life and relatives but also understand to a certain extent the law of cause and effect. Now, if you view the delog experience as being "objective" (whatever your definition of objectivity is) or as a product of cultural conditioning, that's totally up to you.
"You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of."
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whyisuffer
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by whyisuffer »

How do hell-beings communicate with the living?
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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

SteRo wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 10:10 am
Snowbeast wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 9:12 am When someone goes to the Heaven realms after they die where do they usually go after all the good karma is exhausted?
There are 31 planes of existence, 4 of which are the states of deprivation, 1 the human realm. What does "Heaven realms" refer to? The remaining planes of existence?
heaven and hell have many subdivitions.
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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

whyisuffer wrote: Sat Nov 23, 2019 4:41 am Just wondering. Can they?
ime, some the few of them that had fallen from devaloka and from an hedonist human life can have some rememberance. they have aditional suffer because of that.
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Sonam Wangchug
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Re: Can beings in hell recall their past lives?

Post by Sonam Wangchug »

There is a hell realm where one is lured seemingly by ones lover from their (previous life), and then climbing a steep cliff unimaginable things happen to them when they try to embrace them. (The cause of being born here is harmful sexual misconduct)

so it would seem from this, memories from past lives can be a function within the Hell realms.

This can be found in the Kunzang Lama'i shelung (Words of my perfect teacher) by Patrul Rinpoche
"To have confidence in the teacher is the ultimate refuge." -Rigzin Jigme Lingpa
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