The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
DontWantToReturn
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The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby DontWantToReturn » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:02 am


Jhana4
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby Jhana4 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:11 am

In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

DontWantToReturn
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby DontWantToReturn » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:38 am

Hi,

I suppose this I can reply to, since its not related to the question. I have not been on this forum before, but throughout my "studies" of Buddhism on the net, I've seen so many of the literal or metaphorical threads get out of hand. So I thought it was better to lay down some rules.

Is that a bit rude since I'm a new comer here? Apologies if I come across like that... I just didn't see how this place could be any different from other buddhist forums concerning this topic. :)
Last edited by DontWantToReturn on Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:39 am, edited 2 times in total.

befriend
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby befriend » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:38 am

i think it would be a better topic if teaching about the planes of existence is beneficial or detrimental to ones practice. how does it help how does it hurt. in zen they do away with the whole lot of it. but i see zen practitioners meditate more so than theravadans. hmm.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

brahmabull
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby brahmabull » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:39 am

I view rebirth through the lens of the 12-links of DO, which I hold to be present concurrently and momentarily. Because these are interdependent conditions and because emptiness is unobstructed, as a sort of law of nature, they must continue repeating from the moments conditions as their cause, and death of the physical body is not a manner of obstruction. In other words, "arising of this, that arises," to me means mind and matter are not discrete.

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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby befriend » Sun Oct 30, 2011 1:42 am

no offense i think its a dumb topic. it is obviously both literal and metaphorical. millions of buddhists have attained 4th jhana and seen these realms, buddha said so himself. if you dont ahve the karma to trust that then the 31 planes are strictly metaphorical. if you do have the karma to trust the wise, than they are literal and metaphorical, what i think is more important is did learning about these planes of existence as being literera benefit our practice.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

brahmabull
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby brahmabull » Sun Oct 30, 2011 2:03 am

Understanding the 31 planes of helps to contextualize the practice. Helps one not be disoriented.

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daverupa
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby daverupa » Sun Oct 30, 2011 3:00 am


santa100
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby santa100 » Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:57 am

So, there're 4 possible answers: 1. Literal only 2. Metaphorical only 3. Both 4. Neither.
Instead of thinking about which is the correct answer, think about which one is most practical and useful to the progress of your own practice. Pick one that will help purify the mind, eradicate defilements, and motivate you to become a more virtuous and compassionate person..

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Pondera
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby Pondera » Sun Oct 30, 2011 8:51 pm

Literal? Yes. With the divine eye you can see the sphere above the earth in which bodies made of mind soar in light feeding on joy. If you had the divine eye, if you had simple clairvoyance, this would be obvious to you. Then the question would be settled and you would see that it is quite literally not important to the practice of Buddhism. Why? Because you have no idea where you are heading. Good people wind up with Bad Fates. Bad people wind up with Good Fates. And Bad people have bad fates, while good people have good ones. All of these possibilities exist and since no one understands how karma fully operates, you're best off simply trying to improve the way you live in the here and the now. This is the criteria for living which Buddhists practice; whether a world exist for us after death or not, the question of living right remains unchanged. But to be clear, there are many things to be seen with the divine eye. A heaven above us and many more in different places. There is one particular heaven that is quite interesting. The occupants are made like solid bricks. Their forms are white and radiant. There are no more than 20 or 30 of them. There are males and females. They remain still and they have no burdens. It is a rare event for anyone to be reborn in this place and it is also rare event for anyone of these Beings to meet their death in this place. The heaven they live in is cold. A quick silver light circumscribes the plane. They live in the center of a whirlpool of consciousness. They are emblent. They are pure white. They are thick solid. Immovable. Thoroughly benevolent but able to crush a man into pile of dust with a single impulse. They are strong and beautiful. The divine eye is not craziness. The divine eye is the extension that we make to the infinite nature of consciousness. Simply because consciousness is infinite we who have the power, ability, and insight can view whatever we wish, when ever we choose. If I choose to view the gas station down the road from my house I view it in my consciousness. I am able to do so because I am attached to the infinite field of consciousness. That consciousness has a proximity to the gas station and I have a natural ability to take up a point of reference in side that proximity. Thus I can look at gas stations, the back of my own head, anything I want, and the heaven that lies above. With age the power diminishes, as so too does the vitality of the heart from which all things spring. I haven't read specific details about the 31 planes of existence, but if I looked it up such that each plane was given a description I could easily go there in my mind. So, for me it is not even a question. But why would you even care what I think? The monks say, "keep meditating". You're not happy with the answer, most likely because you don't understand their intent. Develop the divine eye, then observe whatever plane it is you wish to observe. This still will not tell you whether you will exist or not after death. It will also fail to tell you if you will reappear on any of these planes. It sounds stupid, but assume your heading straight for "the bad destination" and practice living well as if your immortal soul depended on it, because if the assumption is true, it does. :) smiles

-Pondera

befriend
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby befriend » Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:16 pm

maha pattiumodana on your success on the path pondera. great post.
nothing can destroy a man who has lived a pure life

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Pondera
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby Pondera » Mon Oct 31, 2011 1:18 am

Thank you befriend, for your appreciation.

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ground
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby ground » Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:29 am


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gavesako
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Re: The 31 Planes of Existence, and the whole debate about...

Postby gavesako » Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:29 pm

The moral economy of the "Petavatthu": Hungry ghosts and Theravada Buddhist cosmology.

http://www.docstoc.com/docs/46999380/Th ... -cosmology


http://www.arrowriver.ca/wheel/ghost.html
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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