Simon E. wrote:
joehayes999 wrote:“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
To me this is the single quotation that convinced me that the path was the right way, the only way. In relation to this video, or other Buddhist images or view of Hell, observe, meditate, think deeply and you will find the answer.
But you probably wont.
You can observe, meditate and think deeply, and its likely that in the end you will have to rely on the accomplishments of others who have seen for themselves.
In Buddhism thats called Sraddha.
Which is not mere ' belief ' or ' faith '.
Its a willingness to say 'I don't know but I will put it on the backburner because someone I have learned to trust says that this is the way it is '.
True he probably won't find the answer for himself about whether there is a hell or not in this lifetime, but really it doesn't matter. The real question people want to know is "am I
going to hell?" In that respect, the accomplishments of others who have seen for themselves is irrelevant, unless they can tell ME if I'm heading that way.
But even given the answer, what does it actually mean? Does my understanding or concept even match what the masters have seen? Take a common experience most people can relate to - child birth. You can describe it, you can see it, but until you have a baby, what do you really know? Even then some women have an easy time of it, others don't.
I know a man who is choosing not to have a second aorta heart valve replacement, because of the incredibly painful experience it was the first time and how it significantly impacted his life for months and years. Another man who had a similar procedure, twice, made a Youtube video attacking the first man, saying the surgery is not anywhere near as heinous as the first man described, and that he was out of the hospital in 4 days and on the road to recovery. Who is right? Did they even truly have the same procedure? For the first man, is he getting the same exact procedure he had 15 years ago?
Yet in their minds, they both are absolutely certain of what an aorta heart valve replacement surgery will entail. Each has actual experience to draw on. And each is certain that they are talking about the same thing. So what is the answer?
A master can say, there is a hell. This is the way it is experienced or "this is the way I remember experiencing it". But has he actually answered anything? And hearing him say that, can one truly say "I have the answer for myself?". In theory, sure, but in reality? Not really.
We often dwell on nonessential things that have zero bearing on us. How many of us are truly one step away from Hell? Far too often hell is used to instill fear in people as a form of control and/or as negative reinforcement to ensure "proper" behavior.
JH999 has the right of it in a larger sense - he's already trusting the accomplishments of others to outline a path for him to take. But ultimately, only he, and each one of us, can walk our own path to its completion. The "answer" is basically knowing for yourself, it is enlightenment. No one can give that to you.