Author Topic: I am having some doubts of certain doctrines...(New Student)  (Read 673 times)

Offline andrasnm

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I am having some doubts of certain doctrines...(New Student)
« on: April 15, 2015, 07:53:40 pm »
I am new to formal Buddhism but not new to the idea of Spirituality, meditation and karma/reincarnation. I have just found out about the lower rebirth doctrine and I am having a little difficulty in digesting that idea. I am from a formal school of Agni Yoga and the concept of lower rebirth was never mentioned. I am a formal Christian and this idea of Hell (even temporary) is a little sock to me. I am slowly accepting this, especially when I found out of certain purification methods in order to alleviate this unfortunate rebirth. Is this the same in all schools of Buddhism? Anyways, I am new here and nice to have met you all.

Namaste.

Offline Marcus Epicurus

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Re: I am having some doubts of certain doctrines...(New Student)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 02:15:46 pm »
I am sorry I can not speak of all schools, but I can speak to the Theravada school, and the answer is yes.....The Buddha taught about rebirth in lower realms due to bad karma. This should not come as a shock. If a person does some really bad stuff in this life, and does nothing to try and correct it, then rebirth in the lower realms should be expected. That is why we should do everything we can in this life to make sure this doesnt happen to us.

Hope this helps

Welcome to the Free Sangha forum

May you be happy, peaceful, and free from suffering.
The non-doing of any evil,
the performance of what's skillful,
the cleansing of one's own mind:
this is the teaching of the Awakened.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: I am having some doubts of certain doctrines...(New Student)
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 03:52:05 pm »
I'm going to give everyone the best advice they'll ever receive, as they are also the last words spoken by the Buddha:

All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.

Offline Galen

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Re: I am having some doubts of certain doctrines...(New Student)
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2015, 08:14:41 pm »
I am from a western Buddhist tradition,
The Shambhala tradition that started with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche that came from the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism,
I also study various Zen traditions.

That likely means nothing to you

Buddhist teachings and traditions have been developing and interpreting for centuries so the understandings of these beliefs have adapted.
That means that the way I understand Buddhism may not be the same as other Buddhists.

A lot of misunderstandings about various religions come about because of  teachings that are metaphor being taken as literal.

One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature is the "All the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances[...]
—William Shakespeare

This quotation expresses a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By figuratively asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses the points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the behavior of the people within it.

The being reborn in so called "lower realms" is a metaphor for how we create our own painful existence by how we experience and act in our own lives.

Karma isn't something that acts out in our next life, but in this one, immediately. You lie to someone, they stop trusting you, you hurt someone they become afraid of you or retaliate, etc.  You are kind to someone people like you, you help someone they are more likely to help you. Even more immediate than that, you do hurtful things you begin to see yourself as hurtful, unlikeable, untrustworthy and in extension therefore others must be hurtful and untrustworthy as well.

So if we are reborn in lower realms it isn't when we die but immediately when we create the conditions of that metaphoric realm in our minds or in our personal existence.

There is the Story of the Samurai and the Wise Master.
A Samurai that has studied his craft for years bursts into the Masters hut. "Tell me the secrets of Heaven and Hell?!"  the Master responds: "How could I explain such secrets to a bumbling, stupid oaf like you!" The Samurai draws his blade in anger and raises it to strike the Master. The Master raises his finger and says "That's Hell". The Samurai stops and a look of great gratitude and warm spreads across his faces as he realises the important lesson. The Master raises his finger again, "That's Heaven".

Hell Realm is a condition of total claustrophobic aggression,  in which one perceives no freedom of action and has very little life-force (physical or mental energy). One feels totally trapped by one's circumstances, the being is dominated by anger, hatred and frustrated rage and, in extreme cases, the urge to destroy oneself and everything else

Hunger Realm is a condition characterized by possessiveness and insatiable desires which govern one's actions, for food, power, wealth, fame, pleasure and so on

Animality or Brutality Realm is a condition in which one is governed by instinct,[4] in which one has no sense of morality and lives only for the present moment. In this state one won't hesitate to prey on weaker beings for personal gain, and will try to attract the attentions of stronger beings in order to side with them. This realm is characterized by the total lack of good judgement and reason.

Arrogance or Anger Realm is the condition in which one is dominated by the selfish ego, competitiveness, paranoid jealousy and the need to be superior in all things, being they mundane or spiritual. Though potentially virtuous, the experiencer is a slave to his/her delusions, considering ones ego and beliefs as more important than - and superior to - others. This realm is characterized by viewing other beings as potential threats.

The Buddhist concept of rebirth differs from others in that there is no eternal "soul", "spirit" or fixed unchanging "self "but only a "stream of consciousness" that links life with life. The actual process of change from one life to the next is called punarbhava (Sanskrit) or punabbhava (Pāli), literally "becoming again", or more briefly bhava, "becoming", and some English-speaking Buddhists prefer the term "rebirth" or "re-becoming" to render this term as they take "reincarnation" to imply a fixed entity that is reborn.

What does this mean?

Well if you use Astrology as a metaphor: I am a scorpio, therefore I have some personality characteristics that are common to other people that are scorpio, add in where the moon and planets were placed at the time of my birth and I can get more characteristics specific to me. Now when I die there will be other Scorpios born, even other scorpios with similar positions to those at my birth. Therefore if you believe in astrology, some with very similar personal characteristics as me will be born. But it will not be me.

In my understanding of Buddhism we are not reincarnated, we are not ourselves or our own "self" born into a new body. When we die the self that is us, that is separate but is connected to everything else, goes back to the whole and becomes part of the whole.
But someone else can and will be born with characteristics that are similar if not just as we were. Our energy or style is born back into existence. Just as everyone is unique and special we are all significant and necessary for existence. At the same time those specific characteristic, skills potentials can be used for the advantage of the world or not therefore it is very important that each of us become the best "us" we can be.

So when an important Lama or teacher is reborn, their style or energy is brought back into existence. And it is not just important people that are reborn all of us are because existence needs all the unique style and energy of each of us.

 


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