Author Topic: Afterlife judgement  (Read 1130 times)

Offline B1100

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Afterlife judgement
« on: April 23, 2015, 05:34:06 am »
Hello all,

In Buddhism, there is no superior being or God that passes down judgement on individuals to either determine their future life or to reward or punish them for their deeds. People are taking rebirth according to their karma.

But on some other versions, there is Yama, who judge and punish the dead based on the deeds they have done.
My question is, which version is most practiced and 'acceptable' version particularly for early Theravada Buddhism? Which one is the correct one?


Another question is, when someone says our time on earth is borrowed, one day we will be held responsible. To whom we will be held responsible?

For example, someone is considered as a time waster, is 'wasting time' considered as bad kamma or neutral?
What does it mean by wasting time?

Thanks in advance

Offline Galen

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Re: Afterlife judgement
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2015, 12:05:41 pm »
IMHO there is no being that judges us, and even if there was, wanting to follow any rules to gain favour would be inappropriate.

Gandhi said:
"Any good deed done in the hope of eternal rewards ceases to be moral"

I can identify with the urge to want to do what is right or correct, I tried for years as a boy to a good boy as a Christian. Trying not to do all the "Bad" things and do all the good ones with very little practical instruction as to how to become a more kind, loving, generous, compassionate person. That's what drew me to the Bodhidharma in the first place, was actual practical methods rather than a guilt trip when I failed.

Just because a belief is the most common( most practiced or accepted) does not make it "the" correct version 

That's what religious wars are fought over, what is considered correct or the "one true belief"

Consider the proxy war going on in Yemen at present

Buddhism is not immune, there have been attacks between rival factions in monasteries when there was a disagreement between them over who should be the next leader of the monastery.

Institutions let us down, suppose ad Gurus mislead people to gain and maintain power.

The Buddha said:

“Don’t Believe me because you see me as your teacher
  Don’t Believe me because others do
  Don’t believe just because you read it in a book
  Don’t put your faith in reports, tradition, hearsay or the authority   
  of religious leaders or texts
  Don’t rely on mere logic, or inference , or appearances or   
  speculation
 
  It is impossible to arrive at the truth by giving up your own authority and following another, such a path will only lead to an opinion,
  either yours or someone else’s

  Know for yourself that certain things are unwholesome and wrong and when you do, give them up

  Know for yourself that certain things are wholesome and good, then accept them and follow them.

  Until you know, withhold judgement"

Therefore ultimately we are responsible for ourselves.

IMHO what we need to use as a guideline is the eight fold path, specifically Right speech, Right action and Right Livelihood

Now the word that is translated as "right" is kusala which more appropriately means, that which is intelligent, skilful, beneficial, or 'that which removes affliction', 'that which maintains awareness'

So we again make the judgement for ourselves what actions, speech, livelihood are skilful and beneficial, that removes affliction and help us to maintain awareness.

IMHO, Yama and another celestial beings are meant to be understood as metaphor to help us understand complex abstract concepts. The idea that we are accountable for our actions and that there is a consequence for our actions without  a judge is pretty complex.
 
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.
IMHO there is no such thing as "wasted" time. Anything we experience is valuable even if it is painful or harmful. We can never know what may trigger our awakening.


Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Afterlife judgement
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2015, 12:51:18 pm »
Karma isn't something that acts out in our next life, but in this one, immediately.


Actually, it could be either or, not confined to this life, ect.:

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/karma.htm

Offline Galen

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Re: Afterlife judgement
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2015, 04:19:24 pm »
Thank you for the content in the site you linked to!

I should have put IMHO in front of that paragraph as well as the others in my post

I really like the teaching that I included in the last post

The Buddha said:

“Don’t Believe me because you see me as your teacher
  Don’t Believe me because others do
  Don’t believe just because you read it in a book
  Don’t put your faith in reports, tradition, hearsay or the authority of religious leaders or texts
  Don’t rely on mere logic, or inference , or appearances or speculation
  It is impossible to arrive at the truth by giving up your own authority and following another, such a path will only lead to an opinion,
  either yours or someone else’s
  Know for yourself that certain things are unwholesome and wrong and when you do, give them up
  Know for yourself that certain things are wholesome and good, then accept them and follow them.
  Until you know, withhold judgement"

IMHO there is are fundamental problems with the concept of Karma playing out in future lives
one is that we cannot prove it, we can see that what we do and say has an effect on others and ourselves
another is that it can be used by leaders and/or religious institutions to control people with fear

I choose not to believe in karma in future lives just because it is written and a tradition,
and I believe that it is unwholesome and I therefore choose to give up and turn away from this teaching as Buddha suggested.

I believe that is the Reason the Buddha gave this teaching, so that the Bodhidharma, literally the "Teachings of the Awakened" can be interpreted in light of the new realities of life as the world and existence changes. As Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche said, we use the same recipe but each time we bake fresh bread.
As Awakened Buddhist we have permission to respond to issues like sexist, racism, bigotry, homophobia etc.

Another central Buddhist teaching is, "Do No Harm", how much harm has been caused by blindly following teachings that give to much power to religious institutions or religious leaders, or use teachings to justify hatred against others because of their religion is different, because of their gender, their race, their sexual orientation.

Hope for the Guest

Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think...and think... while you are alive.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten —
that is all fantasy.

What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the
City of Death.

If you make love with the divine now, in the next life
you will have the face of satisfied desire.

Kabir


 




Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Afterlife judgement
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2015, 05:00:15 pm »
IMHO there is are fundamental problems with the concept of Karma playing out in future lives
one is that we cannot prove it, we can see that what we do and say has an effect on others and ourselves
another is that it can be used by leaders and/or religious institutions to control people with fear

I choose not to believe in karma in future lives just because it is written and a tradition,
and I believe that it is unwholesome and I therefore choose to give up and turn away from this teaching as Buddha suggested.

That's fine and all,  if that's what you believe, but the OP asked a question in regard to the Theravada tradition --- also, please note that this discussion is occurring specifically in the Theravada section.

Offline B1100

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Re: Afterlife judgement
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2015, 03:25:04 am »
Thanks Dharmakara and Galen for the reply.

If we take a look at Majjhima Nikaya, Devaduta Sutta. There, we can see that Yama and hell wardens are not figurative, they are real.

..."Then the hell-wardens, seizing (such a being) by the arms, present him to King Yama: 'This is a man, your majesty, with no respect for mother, no respect for father [1], no reverence for contemplatives, no reverence for brahmans, no honor for the leaders of his clan. Let your majesty decree his punishment.'

"Then King Yama interrogates & interpellates & castigates the man regarding the first deva messenger: 'My good man, didn't you see the first deva messenger that has appeared among human beings?'

"'I didn't, lord,' he says.

Then King Yama says, 'My good man, didn't you see among human beings a tender baby boy lying prone in its own urine & excrement?'

"'I did, lord,' he says.

Then King Yama says, 'My good man, didn't the thought occur to you — observant & mature: "I, too, am subject to birth, have not gone beyond birth. I'd better do good with body, speech, & mind"?'

"'I couldn't, lord. I was heedless, lord.'
... (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.130.than.html)

In regard to 'wasting time'. Can someone share some thoughts? Thanks.

Offline Dianet

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Re: Afterlife judgement
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2015, 09:41:54 am »
I've often heard it said that as Buddhists we would consider having a human life, particularly one in which we have the opportunity to study and practice Dharma teachings as extremely rare and valuable. To make no progress toward enlightenment, to accumulate no merit, would then be to waste this precious opportunity.

I would suppose there could be a way of living so as to maintain one's "level" perfectly.

For myself, however, I find that, out of ignorance or inattention, it is much easier to drift into the accumulation of unfavorable karma if not studying and practicing and trying to make good use of, and progress in, this life.

I'm not sure if this addresses what you mean by "wasted time".


   

 


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