Ervin wrote:Ok can someone tell me a bit abot the lower realms and are the stories that I have read somewere in the past about how horific are they to be taken literaly or is it all a metaphor?
It's just like Christianity in a few respects: some of us take it literally and some of us take it as a metaphor. There is even a devil-like figure, Mara, and a sort of temptation episode in Buddha's life where Mara comes for a visit just before Buddha is about to attain enlightenment. Some say Buddha worked miracles too, and if you are good and have faith you will go to a Pureland and attain enlightenment there. And both Christians and Buddhists have a strange obsession with ringing large bells and wearing robes.
On the other hand, there are large branches of Buddhism that don't go in for any of the above. (Except the bells and robes; everyone likes playing with bells and wearing robes).
The big difference is that in Buddhism, there is no Creator and honest skeptical inquiry into the doctrines is pretty much the order of the day, as you will see as soon as you dive into the threads here.
The Buddhist hells are quite graphically described and very unpleasant. I believe there are over a hundred of them and they are tailored to whatever misbehaviour you are fondest of, so an adulterer might have to spend most of the day having his/her naughty bits burned of with red hot iron pincers or some such thing. On the plus side, there is no eternal damnation in Buddhism. So sooner or later an occupant of a Hell will exhaust his/her lousy karma and have a chance to take rebirth elsewhere.
Well so much for differences and similarities. Could go on all day like this. The next step would be to get a qualified teacher to teach you something about the Four Noble Truths, meditation and so on.