I have some questions about hell and demons, so I thought I'd add them into this thread. 1. Is there really a hell or hell realms?
Most, if not the majority/all, of the religions out there believe in duality. There is a good place and a bad place we go when we die. For Buddhism in general, which tries to go beyond duality ironically enough, each sect pretty much believes that our karma, the way we die/the winds and our state of mind dictate whether our rebirth (assuming we have one) will be good or bad. Okay, fine. But excluding any possibility of alien life and other dimensions and parallel universes out there, wouldn't you think that this is pretty much it? For example, if we are doomed to a "hellish rebirth," wouldn't being born as some factory farmed animal for the next few eons (assuming the planet survives that long) be the same sort of torture? Or maybe we could be born in some impoverished country where our life consists of being born to mother infected with AIDS and we die before we reach age 6 because of malnutrition and malaria? I mean, do we really need a fictional hell to fear? Do we really need these stories of hell realms when there is hell right on this very planet? Forget the planet-- how about hell just being in our minds? Even those with relatively good lives still suffer. The mental and emotional afflictions are torturous enough for some-- do we really need a demon poking us in the ass with a pitchfork to make us suffer more than we already do? Human beings are messed up enough as it is and we do a pretty good job at hurting ourselves, one another and the planet.
On that note...2. Is this it?
I'm starting to believe that the big secret in Buddhism is that we're stuck here. For whatever reason, our "star stuff" beings got trapped in this galaxy on this particular planet and there is no way out. Buddhism speaks of enlightenment but I think that's just fancy talk for "accepting that this is as good as it gets." I mean, it makes no sense. We keep coming back again and again and again, having to restart and relearn all of this previous unnecessary bullshit only to get to a point where we just start to grasp the dharma, and then BOOM!-- we die and we forget everything and have to start from day 1 all over again. What's the point? Ah, I know. The point is, is that we are stuck here as I've already mentioned. And I'm sure people will argue that there is the whole "but everything from before is still in your mindstream." Umm, ok. Sure. And that's why karma also comes into play and we can regress and get screwed because we gleefully squished a bug when we were 4 years old and now we have to delay our "path to enlightenment" because we are still paying for crap we don't even remember doing in previous lifetimes. And as we're paying the tab, we're still racking up more and more negative karma until we *maybe* find the dharma in this lifetime and try to relearn all of the things we forgot anyway.
You see, I think the dharma is just our way to cope with the inevitable fact that there is no way out. This is why we try to teach compassion towards one another and save the planet for future generations and so forth. Because there is no way out of this and we are stuck with one another. This is heaven/nirvana. This is hell. This sad, little planet that takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin' is where we are permanently stuck. And until we get everyone on the same page (which is impossible) to be nice and kind and not be total sociopaths, we are stuck with each other over and over again, in one form or another until the planet blows up (at which point we'll probably all be shipped over to some other Earth-like planet in another dimension anyway and start all over again). So the dharma tries to lessen the depressive blow and teaches us to try to be good little soldiers and maybe one day we will all magically wake up and we will all have chosen heaven over hell. But it won't happen. There is no way out of this, so maybe ignorance is the saving grace in all of this. Maybe the Christians have it right by possessing the comfort in knowing that there is a sky daddy who will take us up in his arms when we die. I mean, isn't that the only way to get through this life without feeling like it was for nothing? Do any of us really look forward to the fact that our death is going to be a craps shoot and we won't remember squat anyway once we wake up to our next life?3. Are demons real?
We are taught in Buddhism that demons are simply our own delusions and mental afflictions. So why the do so many people who are Buddhists keep talking about other entities that don't exist? I don't get it. Why bother hyping everyone up about certain beings and claiming they are evil when in reality they are a fabrication? Am I missing something here? And, yes, I am talking about that
particular controversial being, which shall not be named, or otherwise a mod wil come along and spank me with an edit.
In one breath people are trying to scare the bejesus out of us and tell us horrible things will happen if we follow that path and go with the "wrong" teacher, and in the next breath they are looking at us like we're nuts and claiming that believing in demons is just as silly as believing in the Tooth Fairy. So which is it? Are demons real and maybe considered aliens or some sort of supernatural being from another dimension, or are they our own mental issues? If they are own mental issues, why bother going on the demon boogieman rant then? Do we really need ghost stories to illustrate such simple points that everyone already comprehends?
Oh, and then there is that whole thing that we are supposed to have compassion for all beings, yet we are told to stay away from beings that are considered demons. Not that I want to befriend a "demon," mind you. But which is it? Is it compassion, or is it fear? Is it inclusiveness, or is it labeling? Are we supposed to aim for nirvana and avoid hell, or are we supposed to get the point that everything is seen as the same exact thing? 4. Ignorance vs intention?
If intention is a major component of karma, then does that mean mentally ill serial killers end up with a rebirth as a well-to-do socialite for their next lifetime? I mean, if someone is being a total and utter insane person in this lifetime but doesn't know any better, does karma even apply to them? And how would they get out of the karmic cycle if they cannot be helped anyway? I understand there is the entire stance of "exhausting one's negative karma," but someone being a serial killer isn't helping to exhaust their negative karma-- it's helping to create more negative karma for others (such as the victims), by inciting fear, anger and hatred in them.
If you truly believe you are doing "the right thing" in this life time, yet are harming many and causing destruction, do you really go "to hell?" And if there is no literal place of hell, do you really have the misfortune of being born into a horrible life again, which will most likely cause you to repeat the same hellish behaviors? How does this even make sense? Or do we magically one day have a rebirth that is good because we helped an old lady cross the street and put money in the collection basket at church when we weren't slicing up innocent people in our basement and wearing their skin as a suit?
I know this was a long rant and probably doesn't make sense. I'm sure there will be some people who will post a link to some sort of text that will partially answer or reject the ramblings presented here. And then there will be those who will counter-post and possibly agree with some things stated. The point for me is, I'm not sure what to believe. Too many cooks in the kitchen. Not enough consistency to believe one thing or another. I guess that's why life is supposed to be just a dream? Meh, who knows? Maybe I'm in the bardo right now and you are all just a figment of my imagination.
If so, would you be so kind as to help direct me out of this? But not until I've watched the 90 minute season finale of The Walking Dead
. I would hate to leave before getting closure on that.