Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Faith, Pure Land and Karma

Stephanie Marie
And if pride is clung to, how can that lead to a bad rebirth in the sutras? Why? Do you need to believe in hell to go there?
Do you think there is one to go to?

Like · · January 26 at 9:45am

    Stephanie Marie Fear, ouch
    January 26 at 9:45am · Like
    Stephanie Marie Things don't appear to be coincidental here, even though at heart it may ultimately be beyond meaning, no meaning,
    In physics things appear chaotic
    But in the grand scheme of things, it appears they follow laws
    I'm not saying there is a creator, but that is an undeniable observation
    January 26 at 9:57am · Like
    Albert Hong pride or arrogance leads to the god realms.

    its a kind of narrowing the focus onto oneself.

    whereas the opposite of that energy is generosity. a open energy that moves outwards.

    we could say the balance to that would be out and in and hence a complete ending of that energy.
    January 26 at 9:59am · Like · 2
    Stephanie Marie Cool thanks Albert!
    January 26 at 9:59am · Like
    Stephanie Marie I had an awful dream of being a dark god, lol, no thanks ha ha
    January 26 at 10:00am · Like
    Stephanie Marie Sickly vivid
    January 26 at 10:00am · Like
    Albert Hong you don't have to be anything.
    January 26 at 10:01am · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie
    January 26 at 10:02am · Like
    Jackson Peterson Hell realms... God realms... are all mythology but are pointing to current psychological states of mind.
    January 28 at 9:20pm · Like · 2
    Robert Dominik Hell realms and God realms are states of mind and dreams. No more and no less than the experience of being a human writing on facebook or the experience of being an animal is.
    January 28 at 9:22pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie ^ that's frightening
    January 28 at 9:26pm · Like
    Robert Dominik IMO dismissing other realms as mere mythology and treating them as nothing more than metaphors is quite unskillful. The emptiness means also that we're dealing with infinite potentiality for illusions/dreams. It's like with dreams we're having during the night - virtually any kind of experience is possible... including hells, heavens, formless realms etc.
    January 28 at 9:31pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Jackson Peterson All fantasies of an ignorant mind...
    January 28 at 9:32pm · Like · 1
    Robert Dominik As I said - the experience of sitting on chair and using your PC is no less and no more of a fantasy than god and hell realms IMO
    January 28 at 9:34pm · Like · 1
    Robert Dominik "Do you think there is one to go to?" <- Anatta dismisses the dualistic notion of a limited self that can go to a shop. Still you can go to a shop and buy some fruits
    January 28 at 9:35pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Robert Dominik In normal circumstances we assume that there is a self that continues from birth to death. But that's delusion. Even looking at the whole issue from the Anicca perspective we can see that all the experiences and memories change throughout the live, the body undergoes various changes (there is not the slightest atom of matter in the body that doesn't get replaced during our lives). So we cannot say that there is someone who is a child and changes to an adult / is an adult. In a similar way there is noone to be a human and then turn into a god or into a being trapped in hell. But... you get the picture
    January 28 at 9:39pm · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie Exactly. I'm worried about this in death. I think it's foolish to dismiss the parallels of all the religions, but I've only ever had peak experience, not full anatta like I thought it was. Who knows. Gah!
    January 28 at 9:41pm · Like
    Robert Dominik There is no need to worry. Better to use wisely all the precious circumstances that were present (like being able to even learn about the Dharma). Now depending on your capacity and movitation you can focus on morality in order to secure a better rebirth and even better conditions for practicising in the next life. You can focus on not harming others and achieving personal liberation like in Hinayana. Or you can focus on helping all the suffering beings and postopne your own liberation until all the sentient beings are freed from the ocean of suffering. Now I'm oversimplifying but I think you understand this. So no need to waste time worrying - better practice
    January 28 at 9:45pm · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie Good points though Robert Dominik, if hell and heaven appear in dreams, and this is all like one big mirage, what does that say for dreaming?
    I think it has to do with the content of one's mind, I really do. Maybe energy, I don't really know. Scary though
    January 28 at 9:47pm · Like
    Robert Dominik Also as Malcolm once said - if there were no such things as future rebirths, then the whole practice would be rendered useless. Anihilitionism and eternalism are both extremes to be avoided
    January 28 at 9:47pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie Very good point to the last post
    January 28 at 9:47pm · Like
    Robert Dominik Well altough I might agree that up to a point teachings about Six Lokas might be mythologised and are only a model... I think they are a good and useful model. Anyway if you are interested in how Buddhist teachings view the topics of rebirth and various Lokas (Realms), then there is plenty of Buddhist literature out there
    January 28 at 9:57pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Jackson Peterson Realization of anatta makes clear there never was one that reincarnated beyond the mind's stories about a "traveler" in time and space...
    January 28 at 9:57pm · Like · 2
    Robert Dominik Who said anything about time and space Jax? In a dream you can experience the sensations that make you feel as if there is space and time. Just like when "awake".
    January 28 at 9:59pm · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie Yes, I think there's a lot of misconception that the inability to find a doer is an anatta realization, or that there is only the seen, the heard, thoughts and feelings. All true, no person there, but I still believe I'm an entity until I look lol
    January 28 at 10:00pm · Like · 1
    Robert Dominik Soh wrote: "It should be understood that these latent tendencies or view of inherency and duality runs so deep down in our psyche that it is not merely a matter of conceptual belief but a deeply rooted, habitual way of perceiving things through a particular paradigm or framework... so deep and habitual that it cannot be removed even if one has come to an intellectual conclusion or inference that the doctrine of anatta and emptiness is actually something that makes more sense than the view of duality and self. For instance, I myself had faith and was convinced intellectually about the truth of anatta and emptiness way before I had a direct experiential realization that effectively resulted in the liberation of false view. But I can say in those years where I maintained a mere intellectual or conceptual conviction or inferred understanding of this matter, I did not experience any sense of a freedom from self-contraction, from afflictive emotions, and so on... all these came from tendencies so deeply latent that it cannot be resolved by a mere intellectual transformation of views and beliefs (such as by training yourself in the Madhyamaka reasonings). For false view run far deeper into our psyche that it requires you to truly realize things from experiential awakening/knowledge and vision of things as they are.

    Also, a lot of people think 'The Right View is No View' which is true since all metaphysical views pertain to false views of existence and non-existence, however the way they go about resolving the problem is by 'forgetting all concepts'. They think that by suspending all beliefs, by forgetting all concepts and sitting quietly in a state of pure awareness, somehow merely by that, they can overcome false views. Let me offer something for you think about: every day we go into a state of deep sleep where all our beliefs, concepts, views, thoughts are temporarily suspended. But when we wake up, what happens? We are as ignorant as ever. Our framework of viewing self and reality is still the same. We still experience the same problems, the same sufferings, the same afflictions. This analogy should clearly show you that sustaining a state of non-conceptuality or mastering a state of 'forgetting the self' is not going to result in a fundamental change or transformation or effortless seeing, unless true wisdom and insight arises. I shall offer two more analogies which are related: a person deluded as to see a rope as a snake, will live in fear, trying to tame the snake, trying to get rid of the snake, escape from the snake. Maybe he has managed a way to distant himself from the snake, yet the belief that the snake is still there is nevertheless going to haunt him.

    Even if he managed to master the state of forgetting the snake, he is nonetheless in a state of delusion. He has not seen as it truly is: the snake is simply a rope. In another analogy, the child believes in the existence of santa claus and awaits eagerly for arrival of his presents on Christmas day. One day the parents decide that it's time the child be told the truth about santa claus. To do this, beating the hell out of the child is not going to work. You simply need to tell the child that santa claus doesn't truly exist. In these analogies, I try to showcase how trying to deal with the problem of false views through means of 'forgetting conceptuality, forgetting the self' is as useless or deluded as 'trying to forget the snake, trying to tame the snake, trying to beat the hell out of the child' when the simple, direct and only true solution is only to realize that there is only a rope, and that santa claus isn't real. Only Awakening liberates us from a bondage that is without basis. A ‘self’ was never truly there to begin with, so why are you trying so hard to get rid of it? Simply stop conceiving that there is one. But you cannot help but conceive a self until the doubtless realization of anatta arises which erases our false view.

    Without the right contemplation and instilling of right view, you can 'sit quietly in pure awareness' for an entire lifetime without waking up. I cannot stress this point enough because this is a very prevalent erroneous understanding - even someone at the I AM level of realization will talk about non-conceptuality, non-conceptual Presence-Awareness and think it is final. The same goes for other stages. By overemphasizing on non-conceptuality, they will miss the subtler aspects of insight, they will fail to grasp right view, they will fail to tackle the subtler imprints and mental framework of viewing dualistically and inherently. They will not even see their framework of perceiving self and things as false that is causing some subtle effort and clinging (to a Self or to an actual ground here/now or to an actual world), just like you will never see your dream as a dream until well... you wake up." <- an excerpt from http://awakeningtoreality.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/experience-realization-view-practice.html
    January 28 at 10:06pm · Like · 1
    Robert Dominik Stephanie Marie I think the above quote from Soh's blog adresses the issue you have mentioned in your last post. If you haven't read this one, then I recommend it to you. It's fairly long but it's very valuable
    January 28 at 10:10pm · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie That's awesome!!!
    I have this problem, I try to meditate, nothing happens, sit and listen to sound for 15 minutes, don't pay attention to thought, and nothing; what to do?
    January 28 at 10:12pm · Like
    Jackson Peterson "Nothing happening" is the best result!
    January 28 at 10:13pm · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie Only the kundalini or Thogal has produced any effects, and the pain one, other than that, nothing; should I keep at it?
    January 28 at 10:14pm · Like
    Stephanie Marie Thanks Jackson.
    January 28 at 10:14pm · Like
    Stephanie Marie I'll keep it up
    January 28 at 10:14pm · Like
    Stephanie Marie That's an excellent post Robert Dominik, thank you. I wish that was more widely available
    January 28 at 10:15pm · Like
    Jackson Peterson Instead of reading all these various quotes and posts here, better to see into the "aware knowing" that is fully present as each moment. Seeing into this clearly makes all reading and discussion unnecessary...
    January 28 at 10:15pm · Like · 2
    Greg Goode Stephanie, have you looked at Pure Land Buddhism? A great thing about it is that you don't need fancy analytics or sophisticated insights. It works through faith in Amitabha Buddha. You don't have to understand or discuss very much, or speak more cleverly than others.

    In this way, it is similar to what Jackson says about his Dzogchen presentation. Not that they are the same, but in neither case do you need to think analytically about stuff. That kind of thought is irrelevant in Pure Land. Pure Land works through the heart. They use the rebirth notion, but with faith, you are reborn into the Pure Land of Amitabha, which is the end of the cycle of unwanted rebirths. That is all you need, with faith. From there, Buddhahood is assured. Super easy, if one can have faith!
    January 28 at 10:16pm · Edited · Unlike · 3
    Stephanie Marie Thanks Greg Goode, I love pure land, it really makes sense to my understanding of samsara, so faith to me is more than just belief I will definitely look more of that up, and try the Amitabha mantra. Makes me very happy
    January 28 at 10:19pm · Like
    Stephanie Marie Thank you Jackson Peterson again
    January 28 at 10:20pm · Like · 1
    Jackson Peterson This type of "faith" is not personally contrived... it is the "self-certainty" of Amitabha (who we are) itself appearing in our mind.
    January 28 at 10:27pm · Unlike · 3
    Soh Daniel Ingram, a highly experienced practitioner who realized anatta, talked about some of his past lives he recalled in deep samadhi:

    "As to world-cycles or the like, my past life experiences line up along the following lines, if you believe in such experiences having validity:

    1) This life human.
    2) Last life some sort of moderately powerful, clearly somewhat debauched male jealous god/sorcerer of some kind that was stabbed in the back with a dagger by a woman who he had wronged in some way, I think.
    3) Some sort of mother skunk-like animal that was eaten by a large black dog or wolf.
    4) Some sort of mother bat that was killed when the rock it was clinging to at the top of the cave fell to the floor.
    5) Some sort of grim, gigantic, armored skeletal titan-like thing that ran tirelessly through space swinging a gigantic sword and doing battle nearly continuously without sleep for hundreds of thousands of years that was killed by something like a dragon.
    6) Some gigantic, gelatinous, multi-tentacled, very alien being living in a very dark place for a very long time, probably under water, I think.

    Other than some sense that the skunk-thing and the bat-thing were virtuous mothers, I have no sense that there was any profound previous dharmic development at least back that far, and, in fact, have the distinct sense that the previous one was a bit of a cad and not very ethical. Take that all for what you will.

    January 28 at 10:28pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Jackson Peterson When you chant the chanting itself is Amitablha chanting...
    January 28 at 10:28pm · Unlike · 3
    Soh "And if pride is clung to, how can that lead to a bad rebirth in the sutras? Why? Do you need to believe in hell to go there?
    Do you think there is one to go to?


    Rebirth happens irregardless of your beliefs (other than the fact that having a wrong view, such as the wrong view that there is no karma and rebirth, is itself one of the unwholesome karmas and causes that can possibly lead to rebirth in the lower realms, something the Buddha himself said) - they happen due to the ripening of your wholesome and unwholesome karmas.

    In short, the Buddha taught that if a person follows the five precepts and does the ten wholesome deeds, he/she will have the wholesome karma to be reborn in the fortune realms of human and deva (heaven) realms, and if otherwise they may have the unfortunate karma of being reborn in the lower realms (hell, animal, ghost).

    [1] The Five Precepts are, to refrain from: (a) killing; (b) stealing; (c) lying; (d) sexual misconduct, and (e) consumption of intoxicants.

    [2] The Ten Virtuous Deeds are, to refrain from: (a) killing; (b) stealing; (c) false speech; (d) sexual misconduct, (e) frivolous and meaningless talk; (f) double-tongue or tale-bearing; (g) slanderous speech; (h) greed; (i) ill-will, and (j) ignorance.

    For an exposition on the ripening of karmic effects by Buddha, see http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.135.nymo.html
    Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta: The Shorter Exposition of Kamma
    The future need not be like that provided that one makes the right kind of kamma...See More
    January 28 at 10:42pm · Like · 1 · Remove Preview
    Stephanie Marie Thank you. I remembered a past life in a lucid dream, when I first encountered meditation on the heart about a year ago. In the dream, I was a formless very jealous and resentful god, somewhere in the past like Middle Ages . Also in the dream I had a scout and could go back and fourth through consciousness between them. Couldn't be seen by people, only a saint who was like an angel, but the people could see her not me . I loved her in the dream, and I still have dreams about it all of the time, being that entity in form and prostrating, weird stuff.
    When I meditated I let the blackness out of my heart, and that's what I dreamt about. It was so potent, that this is where this fear comes from.
    I have this strange feeling it was the Yazidi God Melek Taus.
    The demons name was Malachi
    Which in Hebrew is gods messenger, and also Malak means angel.
    Very creepy, also I have been carrying around that feeling since childhood, that I wasn't human, and had a darkness in me
    Creeps me out. Makes me feel looney lol
    January 28 at 10:42pm · Unlike · 1
    Stephanie Marie Thanks Soh!
    January 28 at 10:43pm · Unlike · 1
    Soh ... to continue with my post, of course however, a 'fortunate birth' is not the ultimate goal of a Buddhist, which is awakening and liberation from suffering and the cyclic rebirth in samsara. However, having a fortunate birth in the human realm is one of the many essential and favourable conditions for practicing dharma, so it is always better to be reborn as a human than somewhere else. Rebirth in deva realm/heaven is second best and one still has a chance of encountering the dharma there, but it is too distracting and enjoyable generally to practice the dharma well. (And rebirth in hell/lower realms have too much suffering to even be bothered with dharma)
    January 28 at 10:46pm · Edited · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie Thanks for all of that!!
    I will be chanting Amitabha on the regular lol
    January 28 at 10:47pm · Like
    Justin Struble Namo Amitabha Buddha! _/\_

    Namo Amitabha Buddha! _/\_

    Namo Amitabha Buddha! _/\_

    January 28 at 10:48pm · Like · 1
    Stephanie Marie Ha ha, Cthulu? Daniel Ingram saw Cthulu?
    January 28 at 10:48pm · Like
    Stephanie Marie Wow the mind is crazy. I was the devil, and Daniel Ingram Cthulu, ha ha ha this world is insane ha ha ha! Omg. Amitabha
    January 28 at 10:50pm · Unlike · 1
    Stephanie Marie I always did like the underworld lol. Got personally pissed when I read paradise regained, never knew why ha ha ha ha. So crazy
    January 28 at 10:53pm · Like
    Robert Dominik "Only the kundalini or Thogal has produced any effects, and the pain one, other than that, nothing; should I keep at it?" <- I'd be highly skeptic towards practicing Thogal without any transmission and instructions from a qualified Dzogchen Master. Chogyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche has warned that there might be people who start practising Thogdal when they aren't ready for this and practice it in the wrong manner thus making it impossible for them to properly finish and achieve the results of this practice in this lifetime. The only way for such a person to correct their mistake would be (as suggested by Rinpoche) to gradually reeducate their mind starting with dedicated Shine practice. Also there were lineages where Thogal was teached before Tregchod but at least CHNNR advises for practitioners to have a solid experience of correct Tregchod practice... which is beyond the capacity of very many people.
    January 28 at 11:23pm · Edited · Like · 2
    Greg Goode When you chant Amitabha/Amida/Amituofo, you aren't chanting. Your "self-power" becomes "other-power" and all actions are performed by Amitabha, including your own liberation from samsara. You don't have to think in nondual ways or try to be abstract. It happens through the heart. One key to the opening of the heart is the amazing surreal beauty of the chant. It bypasses all rational filters, and Amitabha's grace slips through where logic can never go!
    January 28 at 11:18pm · Edited · Like · 2
    Stephanie Marie Beautiful!!
    January 28 at 11:18pm · Like
    Greg Goode You don't have to be pure, knowledgeable, accomplished or "worthy" either. Your faith, the chant and Amitabha cut through everything and take care of that.
    January 28 at 11:21pm · Unlike · 4
    Stephanie Marie That's so awesome Greg ! Thank you for sharing that so much!!! Faith is very important to me, even though it is looked at as silly it makes for a meaningful life here
    January 28 at 11:23pm · Unlike · 1
    Soh It should never be seen as silly.. as Thusness said before, from a practice point of view, he ranks faith higher than logic in terms of importance. It is important in Buddhism in general and especially important for particular faith-based practices in Buddhism like Pure Land, and even in Vajrayana/tantric Buddhism it is important so that one can have direct communion with the guru and this connection will further enhance the practice of the student.
    January 28 at 11:34pm · Edited · Like · 2
    Stephanie Marie I so love Buddha lol ha ha, so funny but I do
    January 28 at 11:40pm · Unlike · 1
    Greg Goode The faith part seems to be hard for people raised in a society that values science as the sole way to truth. I've talked and written about Pure Land a little bit before, and people usually ask, "How can you believe in that kind of being?!" If modern folks aren't spiritually inclined, then they are likely to be materialists of some sort. If they ARE spiritually inclined, then they might be interested in a sort of psychotherapeutically-based Buddhism. And even Western Advaitins and neos have a materialist bias. They don't like any talk of rebirth or subtle characters like deities. So for many modern folks, the faith part is the very hardest. It smacks too much of the monotheistic religion many of them were raised with.

    For many modern Westerners, half the reason of going to Hinduism or Buddhism in the first place is to find an alternative to the dogmatic, authoritarian monotheism they grew up with.... And Pure Land can feel very monotheistic-like. So it is a turnoff for many people. I think this is one of the main reasons it is not more popular in the West....
    January 28 at 11:45pm · Unlike · 4
    Justin Struble devotion is a very positive quality, an integral aspect of compassionate energy... great for heart expansion
    January 28 at 11:48pm · Unlike · 4
    Stephanie Marie It's too bad really. Everyone is entitled to thier happiness, yes what you say is so true
    For me the evidence to support pure land is so great. Where is there to go?
    January 28 at 11:49pm · Edited · Like
    Stephanie Marie I'm happy with my faith
    January 28 at 11:50pm · Like
    Soh Was reading something by Malcolm that just reminded me of our conversation about the deva realm and its pride.

    In a sense it can be said that pride leads to rebirth in deva realm. Well it's not exactly that pride itself leads to rebirth in the deva realm, the wholesome karma of the ten wholesome deeds + other good qualities like generosity, respect to parents, the four brahma viharas (loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity) and the other various wholesome mental qualities and karmas do.

    However, when we get to the deva realm, it is natural (due to our karmic tendencies) to be proud of what one has (again, due to the conceit of I, me and mine), and that pride will bring one's downfall.

    Anyway the particular verse that Malcolm wrote which reminded me was this: "In reality, social classes tend to driven by the five afflictions: the lower classes tend to be dominated by ignorance and desire, the middle classes tend to be dominated by desire and jealousy and the upper classes tend to be dominated by anger and pride (which is one reason why those from the upper classes tend to more easily fall into lower realms)."

    We know in the Buddhist teachings that the hungry ghost realm is dominated by desire/craving, the human realm dominated by passion, the asuras realm dominated by jealousy, the deva realm dominated by pride. And that is also translated to the lower class, middle class and upper class, so we have a mini-six realms going on between social classes in our society where different elements of the six realms infiltrate various social classes. Six realms are happening all around us, and in our minds.

    This reminds me of the recent incident where a British expat living in Singapore who was super rich and his sports car was sent for servicing, so he had to use public transport one day. He then posted insulting video comments in his social media page about how people who use public transport were poor people and that they were smelly. He also posted seemingly arrogant videos like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKNc0ksN_Oc

    Needless to say, this incited a lot of outrage among Singaporeans, and even one of our ministers commented that it was deeply offensive and unacceptable. He has since been fired by the company and he has moved to Perth.

    This is like living in a mini-deva realm and the downfall brought about by his actions arising due to the affliction of pride.
    Arrogant Ex-Crossinvest Banker Anton Casey calls Singaporeans a 'wuss'
    25 Jan 2014: Anton Casey has been fired by Crossinvest Asia, and has left for Pe...See More
    January 29 at 3:34am · Edited · Like · 2 · Remove Preview
    Soh Malcolm: "
    When contrasted with the endowments of the beings of the deva realms, for example, all the wealth of the earth is just a pauper's bauble, the richest person is less than a beggar.

    But since you do not seem to have a view that takes into consideration the six realms of samsara, you are myopically focused on this human life and its endowments, focused on material relations rather than Dharma practice. The ability to practice Dharma is the true wealth of Jambudvipa. If you want to help beings in a concrete way, it is better to spread Dharma that things."
    January 29 at 3:41am · Like · 2
    Stephanie Marie That's great Soh!!
    I like how the Dalai Lama, and Buddha I think points out, as above so below, even though there may be no actual separation among realms, it's a good reminder if we use these parables on how to live like a decent human being. I myself am of the poor class in the US, which is probably wealthy compared to a lot of the world, but I actually like having things simple. I don't need to have a lot, and for me I find that stuff does not bring happiness, but more wants
    January 29 at 3:44am · Unlike · 1

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