Human birth

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
PrideTheStudent
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Human birth

Post by PrideTheStudent »

Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
Malcolm
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Re: Human birth

Post by Malcolm »

PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
Humans have right amount of pleasure and pain to make awakening a viable option.
"Conceptuality is great ignorance,
causing one to fall into the ocean of samsāra."
—Māyājālamahātantra
Bristollad
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Re: Human birth

Post by Bristollad »

PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
You can liken it to who calls for social change:
  • In general, it's not the top 1% because they aren't suffering, everything's fine as far as they're concerned.
  • It's not those at the very bottom because they are too busy just trying to keep themselves and their families alive, with a roof over their heads.
  • Only those in the middle have the mix of conditions where they are motivated to try and change things, and have the opportunity to actually effect change.
So in this analogy - the first represents the devas, the second represents the lower realms and the third represents our situation. We have enough suffering to motivate us and the opportunity to practise a path. The devas aren't motivated and those in lower realms don't have the freedom.
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cyril
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Re: Human birth

Post by cyril »

Funny thing is, if you read the accounts of various Tibetan delog, all the pretas and hell beings they encounter seem to remember their previous human existence; they also ask the delog to either do certain practices for them or tell their living relatives to do such practices and dedicate the merit so that their stay in the hell or the preta realm are shortened. It makes you wonder how come beings on inferior planes of existence can spontaneously remember past lives, and directly understand the workings of karma, while humans (superior rebirth, conducive to practice and all that) are seldom capable of such a feat. Practice-wise, it appears that pretas and hell beings already have a huge advantage compared to humans.
"You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of."
- Robert Penn Warren -
Riju
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Re: Human birth

Post by Riju »

PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
Enlightment is not the end of the journey of life. It is a stage where understanding arises and one then can choose the further path to Moksh or Buddhahood.
Bristollad
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Re: Human birth

Post by Bristollad »

cyril wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:37 am Funny thing is, if you read the accounts of various Tibetan delog, all the pretas and hell beings they encounter seem to remember their previous human existence; they also ask the delog to either do certain practices for them or tell their living relatives to do such practices and dedicate the merit so that their stay in the hell or the preta realm are shortened. It makes you wonder how come beings on inferior planes of existence can spontaneously remember past lives, and directly understand the workings of karma, while humans (superior rebirth, conducive to practice and all that) are seldom capable of such a feat. Practice-wise, it appears that pretas and hell beings already have a huge advantage compared to humans.
They may remember but they don't have the freedom to practise - just like those people at the bottom of our social ladder may understand the system is unfair, why it is unfair, even how it should change but they don't have the freedom to act on that understanding because survival takes up all their energy. That those in the hell realms and pretas may have a clear understanding of why they ended up there just adds up to more suffering - they now understand how they wasted their previous precious human rebirth. They don't have an advantage practice-wise, that's why they ask for practices to be done on their behalf.
Bristollad
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Re: Human birth

Post by Bristollad »

Riju wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:47 am
PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
Enlightenment is not the end of the journey of life. It is a stage where understanding arises and one then can choose the further path to Moksh or Buddhahood.
I've only come across this use of "enlightenment" as being equivalent to the realisation of an Arya (or lower) by people from a Japanese Buddhist background. I'm more used to "enlightenment" being used as a condensed version of "full enlightenment of a Buddha".
Riju
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Re: Human birth

Post by Riju »

Bristollad wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:24 am =
I've only come across this use of "enlightenment" as being equivalent to the realisation of an Arya (or lower) by people from a Japanese Buddhist background. I'm more used to "enlightenment" being used as a condensed version of "full enlightenment of a Buddha".
Final enlightenment as mentioned in Lotus sutra is the stage where one becomes an Arhat. An arhat is an embodiment of EMPTINESS. He can see the further path very clearly and choose accordingly. At Eagle Peak Guatam took many of these Arhats for guiding them on the path of Lotus sutra. Unfortunately many refused the path of Lotus sutra. Guatam then declared that they are unsuitable for the Buddhahood.

While in Hinduism enlightenment as an arhat is the highest stage where one can reach in human body. Behind this lies the path of merger with God and is called Moksh. In Hinduism devas get powers and they use them for benefit of existence . These devas are unsuitable for Buddhahood, but they will go to Moksh. This is a different path and is not available to Buddhists,

Buddhist , when enlightened choose the path of Bhoddisattvas which leads to Buddhahood.
Bristollad
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Re: Human birth

Post by Bristollad »

Riju wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:24 pm
Bristollad wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:24 am =
I've only come across this use of "enlightenment" as being equivalent to the realisation of an Arya (or lower) by people from a Japanese Buddhist background. I'm more used to "enlightenment" being used as a condensed version of "full enlightenment of a Buddha".
Final enlightenment as mentioned in Lotus sutra is the stage where one becomes an Arhat. An arhat is an embodiment of EMPTINESS. He can see the further path very clearly and choose accordingly. At Eagle Peak Guatam took many of these Arhats for guiding them on the path of Lotus sutra. Unfortunately many refused the path of Lotus sutra. Guatam then declared that they are unsuitable for the Buddhahood.

While in Hinduism enlightenment as an arhat is the highest stage where one can reach in human body. Behind this lies the path of merger with God and is called Moksh. In Hinduism devas get powers and they use them for benefit of existence . These devas are unsuitable for Buddhahood, but they will go to Moksh. This is a different path and is not available to Buddhists,

Buddhist , when enlightened choose the path of Bhoddisattvas which leads to Buddhahood.
As I said, this does not seem to match the description of the grounds and paths I’m used to from either Theravada or Tibetan teachings. Strange, I thought the Lotus Sutra taught ekayāna - one vehicle: that eventually, all will become fully enlightened Buddhas, including Hearer and Solitary Realiser Arhats and even Bible-thumping fundamentalists (though doubtful in this life). I've not come across arhat being used in Hindusim, only in Buddhism and by the Jains.

"An arhat is an embodiment of EMPTINESS." Well, even the red mug of coffee sitting next to my computer on the desk is, since:
Form is empty. Emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is also not other than emptiness.
Riju
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Re: Human birth

Post by Riju »

Bristollad wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:26 pm


). I've not come across arhat being used in Hindusim, only in Buddhism and by the Jains.
Mere play of words. Jains call it Arihant, and Hindus call it Moksh. The nature state of an individual in this case is freedom from sansara and rebirth.
Lotus sutra calls it the "place of rest" for some time before moving to Nirvana.
Bristollad
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Re: Human birth

Post by Bristollad »

Riju wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 7:10 am
Bristollad wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 3:26 pm


). I've not come across arhat being used in Hindusim, only in Buddhism and by the Jains.
Mere play of words. Jains call it Arihant, and Hindus call it Moksh. The nature state of an individual in this case is freedom from sansara and rebirth.
Lotus sutra calls it the "place of rest" for some time before moving to Nirvana.
As far as I know, Mokṣā in Hinduism refers to the liberation of the Jīvātmā (the soul) from Saṃsāra when it merges with Paramātmā (the supreme being, Brahman). This is not the same as becoming an Arhat.

I think you are mixing ingredients from different traditions to make your own preferred cake. However, I don't think it suits my palate. It also has little to do with the OP of this thread.
Riju
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Re: Human birth

Post by Riju »

Bristollad wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 1:32 pm
As far as I know, Mokṣā in Hinduism refers to the liberation of the Jīvātmā (the soul) from Saṃsāra when it merges with Paramātmā (the supreme being, Brahman). This is not the same as becoming an Arhat.

I think you are mixing ingredients from different traditions to make your own preferred cake. However, I don't think it suits my palate. It also has little to do with the OP of this thread.
I am not mixing ingredients. You will find out if you achieve arhatship . One can never remain an arhat for long .He will either attain Moksh or he will become a Bhoddisatva.
Riju
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Re: Human birth

Post by Riju »

Arhat stage comes when one is in meditation. It is utterly peaceful stage and one never wants to move away from that stage. One will prefer to leave his body . As soon as he leaves the body, the merger takes place with his higher soul. Hindus then say that the person has achieved Moksh.
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Aemilius
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Re: Human birth

Post by Aemilius »

Riju wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 3:30 pm Arhat stage comes when one is in meditation. It is utterly peaceful stage and one never wants to move away from that stage. One will prefer to leave his body. As soon as he leaves the body, the merger takes place with his higher soul. Hindus then say that the person has achieved Moksh.
That is a wrong view, to say that body is one thing and consciousness is another thing. It is also a wrong view to say that body and consciousness are identical. Consciousness too is empty of separate existence.

Diamond sutra:
“Subhuti, what do you think? Does a srotapanna have the thought: ‘I have attained the realization of the srotapanna’? ”Subhuti said, “No, World Honored One. Why not? Because ‘srotapanna’ means ‘stream-enterer,’ and there is in fact nothing to enter; one who does not enter into form, sound, smell, taste, touch, or dharmas is called a srotapanna.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? Does a sakridagamin have the thought, ‘I have attained the realization of the sakridagamin’?” Subhuti said: “No, World Honored One. Why not? Although ‘sakridagamin’ means to go and come one more time, there is, in reality, no going and no coming. Therefore he is called a sakridagamin.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? Does an anagamin have the thought, ‘I have attained the realization of the anagamin’? ”Subhuti said, “No, World Honored One. Why not? ‘Anagamin’ means non-returning [to the human world], but there is, in fact, no such thing as non-returning. Therefore he is called an anagamin.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? Does an arhat have the thought, ‘I have attained the realization of the arhat’? ”Subhuti said, “No, World Honored One. Why not? There is, in reality, no such a thing called ‘arhat.’ World Honored One, if an arhat should give rise to the thought, ‘I have attained the realization of the arhat’, this means that he is attached to the notions of a self, a person, a sentient being, or a life span.
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
SilenceMonkey
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Re: Human birth

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Riju wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 3:30 pm Arhat stage comes when one is in meditation. It is utterly peaceful stage and one never wants to move away from that stage. One will prefer to leave his body . As soon as he leaves the body, the merger takes place with his higher soul. Hindus then say that the person has achieved Moksh.
Yeah... this isn't how Buddhists describe liberation. There's no merging with a higher soul or the universe, that's a Hindu thing.
PrideTheStudent
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Re: Human birth

Post by PrideTheStudent »

Bristollad wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:25 am
PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
You can liken it to who calls for social change:
  • In general, it's not the top 1% because they aren't suffering, everything's fine as far as they're concerned.
  • It's not those at the very bottom because they are too busy just trying to keep themselves and their families alive, with a roof over their heads.
  • Only those in the middle have the mix of conditions where they are motivated to try and change things, and have the opportunity to actually effect change.
So in this analogy - the first represents the devas, the second represents the lower realms and the third represents our situation. We have enough suffering to motivate us and the opportunity to practise a path. The devas aren't motivated and those in lower realms don't have the freedom.
So what you are saying is an awakened human can teach deities?
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Dhammanando
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Re: Human birth

Post by Dhammanando »

PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment.
Who says this? There are many accounts of pṛthagjana devas and brahmās attaining stream-entry or higher when taught by the Buddha, e.g., Lord Śakra in the Śakrapraśnasūtra and its Pali and Chinese parallels.

The fourteen realms in which it's not possible for a pṛthagjana to become an arya are:

The four Ārūpyadhātus. The beings here are unable to develop insight into rūpa for they have no cognition of it.

The Asaṃjñasattva world. These beings have no cognition of anything.

The five Śuddhāvāsas. No pṛthagjanas get reborn into these realms; only non-returners.

The four lower realms. Here's there's no aryan attainment for the reasons stated by earlier posters.

Aryan attainment is possible in all the remaining seventeen realms, though the human realm is the optimal place for it, for the reasons stated earlier in the thread.
Bristollad
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Re: Human birth

Post by Bristollad »

PrideTheStudent wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:51 pm So what you are saying is an awakened human can teach deities?
No, I’m saying the Buddha is the teacher of gods and humans.
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Minobu
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Re: Human birth

Post by Minobu »

PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
It's to do with the chakras .we have the optimum amount ...gods only have three.
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Aemilius
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Re: Human birth

Post by Aemilius »

Minobu wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 5:28 am
PrideTheStudent wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:05 am Why, is it that humans birth are the only capable being of reaching enlightenment. When the deities are already enlightened, have spiritual powers which make it easier to cultivate, and gain powers humans have no powers at all and are born suffering
It's to do with the chakras .we have the optimum amount ...gods only have three.
How about the gods in the Kamaloka, who have different kinds or levels of sexual activity?
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)
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