How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

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How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Sunyata » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:11 am

Hello. Thanks for having me. I was recently struck when I learned about the wheel of life because I see myself in it. The obviously dominant theme in my life is that I am a hungry ghost. I have chronic pain and health problems that stop me feeling satisfaction. Anyway, I was looking at this depiction of the wheel of life, http://www.merlinnz.com/blog/wp-content ... f_life.jpg
and it seems that in every realm, there are different levels within each realm, and each realm can either lead to the buddha, or lead to a lower realm.

I'm looking at the ghost realm and seeing myself in it. It looks like some of the ghosts are hanging around lost in the dessert, some become so painful that they destroy themselves and send themselves to hell. And then it looks like some are worshipping a flase Budhha I'm guessing? And the ghosts at the top of the realm are praying to Buddha and receiving nourishment of truth. My question is, how do hungry ghosts burn their karma in a positive way so as to not send themselves to hell in life?

Also, if one does send themselves to hell, what is the way through that realm? I feel like recently I became so accutely upset that I sent myself to the hell realm, and felt like I was destined to suffer eternally. What is the right way to navigate through each of the realms?

Also, where can I find a very detailed explanation of the wheel. There are so many suble things happening I want to know what they mean. The wheel seems to be a very good guide for how to move through life, if is understood. I want to understnad. Thank you.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Ajisai » Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:05 am

Hello Sunyata,

I'm new to Buddhism too, but here is what I can say from what I have learnt so far. :reading:
Do not worry about your past kamma (actions). You have to concentrate on your action from now on and generate good kamma, that is, good actions, to balance the bad kamma that led you where you are now.

Here are good things to do:
- Being generous to other people
- Observing the 5 precepts (no killing living being, no stealing,taking something that was not given,no lying, no bad sexual behaviour, no drinking/taking drugs (it alters your mindnes and can lead you to do bad things).
- Practice meditation
- Respect the elders and teachers
- Help people around you (it can be like, helping an old person to cross the street)
- Share your merits with other people, rejoice over the merits of other people (it means, be happy for them when they do something good)
- Listen/Study the Dhamma
- Talk about the Dhamma
- Straighten your view (understand that we are responsible for our actions, that nothing is permanent and that the self is an illusion).

Things not to do:

- Killing
-Stealing
- Bad sexual behaviour (forcing someone to have ex with you etc.)
- Lying
- Slander
- Harsh speech
- Idle talk
- Desire for someone else's belongings
- Ill-will (wanting to harm other people).
- Keeping the wrong view (seing things as permanent and thinking self exists).

You might also want to have a look at the Noble Eigthfold Path which is the way to nibbana. This path will make you a better person and make you happy.


I started practicing buddhism only two or three weeks ago, I'm reading a lot and trying to practice the dhamma in everyday life. It is not easy, but it does have results.
I suffer from a lot of stress because I have the wrong view. Like you, I also suffer from a chronical disease (mainly related to stress but not only) which makes me suffer a bit everyday. I was kind of depressed.

Since I started practicing the Dhamma and tried following the Noble Eightfold Path, lots of things have changed in my life. I'm just starting, but I try to do good deeds whenever I have the occasion to, I'm watching my speech, I do not kill insects anymore, I try to keep anger away, I try to give loving-kindness to people and I practice meditation. It is not much for now, but I swear things are already getting better.
First of all I experience less stress. My suffering from my disease is getting better everyday. Good and simple things I was not hoping for happened to me (mostly good encounters). Most of all, my relationship with my boyfriend has become way better.
I realized it even more when he told me 'You seem really good lately".

Do not focus too much on the wheel. Kamma is not an exact science, nobody can understand its fruits perfectly.
Just do not worry: now that you have encountered the Dhamma, things can only get better !

Here is a nice quote from the Dhammapada:
'Do not think lightly of goodness saying 'I cannot do that'. A drop at a time is the water pot filled and likewise little by little the wise fill themselves with good'.

Try to practice things one step at a time. Things will get better.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby fabianfred » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:26 am

The wheel of life is just a diagram to help us understand the different realms in Samsara....well the main groups actually....since we Theravadans believe there are 31 realms.
the 5 or 6 (Tibetan) you see on the wheel is a simplification..
It is not meant to be a guide or path to travel in those realms..just pictures of the different types of beings and sufferings they experience.
You are born into the human realm (very fortunate) and might very well take rebirth in one of the other realms when you die...depending upon your karma...you do not travel to these realms as your moods swing and change.
We Buddhists do not pray to buddhas...just practice what they have taught...only we can save ourselves.
If we are experiencing suffering in this life...we have caused it by causing suffering to other beings in the past (lives).....put up with it...don't let it get you down..... be glad to pay off the karma in this life...instead of perhaps in a lower realm next life.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby LG2V » Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:24 am

Hi Sunyata,

Your inquiry into the Wheel of Life brings me great joy. It is one of the original inquiries that got me started on the Buddhist path. It even inspired me to write a fantasy book series about Maitreya Buddha, which was later discontinued (more like renounced) before anything ever got published. It was also one of the central themes from one of my favorite stories.


The notion of "burning" karma was a common belief in India during the time of the Buddha. The word used to describe this notion is Tapas, which translates roughly to "fire": it was said that if a person practiced enough austerities and/or self-mortification, then it would "Burn" away his/her evil karma. It was a strong belief of sects such as the Jains. Here is what the Buddha had to said about which tapas was the greatest:


Patient endurance:
the foremost austerity.
— Dhp 184

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/stud ... #endurance



In this verse from the Dhammapada, he rejects the notion of austerities and, in my opinion, reiterates the importance of the "Middle Way" as the path to ending suffering.

A more concise term for the Buddha's instructions on ending karma would be Cessation. His teaching can be described as "fabricating" the path to the Cessation of "fabrication."

What is fabrication? Fabrication, which is the common English translation of Sankhara can be described in two different senses:

1.) Passive Sense: Any phenomenon/object that has arisen due to causes and conditions
2.) Active Sense: Any volitional fashioning which fashions some experience of reality

I am treading deep waters here, and I'm afraid that I may be out of my range somewhat...but I will continue with my explanation. Any other members feel free to correct and/or comment on my post.

This second sense of sankharas are what, according to The Buddha's teaching, keep one bound to Samsara, which is translated as "Wandering." These sankharas are keep beings bound to "The Wheel of Life," so to speak. Sankharas have been responsible for our past states of existence, and they shape our present experience at every moment. They have taken us to every place imaginable: to Hell, to Heaven, to lives as Ghosts, Animals, and Humans. We have "cycled" through the wheel an innumerable amount of times.


At Savatthi. There the Blessed One said: "From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find... A being who has not been your father... your brother... your sister... your son... your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.

"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



This cycle of rebirth has been, for the most part, excruciating:


"Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — or the water in the four great oceans?... This is the greater: the tears you have shed...

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a mother. The tears you have shed over the death of a mother while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Long have you (repeatedly) experienced the death of a father... the death of a brother... the death of a sister... the death of a son... the death of a daughter... loss with regard to relatives... loss with regard to wealth... loss with regard to disease. The tears you have shed over loss with regard to disease while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time — crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — are greater than the water in the four great oceans.

"Why is that? From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries — enough to become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become dispassionate, enough to be released."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... msara.html


But there is a way out:

153-154

Through the round of many births I roamed
without reward,
without rest,
seeking the house-builder.
Painful is birth
again & again.

House-builder, you're seen!
You will not build a house again.
All your rafters broken,
the ridge pole dismantled,
immersed in dismantling, the mind
has attained to the end of craving.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#dhp-153

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... html#notes



This human birth of ours is considered to be precious, for it is said to be our greatest opportunity to attain total release from Samsara and suffering. Many of us occupy a station that is neither too pleasant (such as Heaven), or too painful (such as Hell), to understand world as it truly operates. Furthermore, the human rebirth is, for most people, characterized by:

a.) Wisdom and the potential for its development
b.) The opportunity to do significant actions that will determine our future state

It is also quite rare to be born as a human being:

"Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water, and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east. A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?"

"It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole."

"It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, arises in the world. It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world. Now, this human state has been obtained. A Tathagata, worthy & rightly self-awakened, has arisen in the world. A doctrine & discipline expounded by a Tathagata appears in the world.

"Therefore your duty is the contemplation: 'This is stress...This is the origination of stress...This is the cessation of stress...This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"

— SN 56.48

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... msara.html



The Other Major Realms:

i.) Heaven and Hell are, I think, the extreme parts of existence that beings go to whenever they have done powerfully wholesome or unwholesome deeds. Hell can be compared to a very long and very painful prison. Likewise, Heaven can be compared to a very long and very pleasant retirement that you've earned with your savings.

ii.) I am not entirely knowledgeable about the Asura realm and its exact classification. I would appreciate if another member could help clarify this.

iii.) The animal plane can be characterized by stupidity and great pain. Many animals spend the bulk of their lives in action, either trying to eat something or to not get eaten by something else. There is typically very little room for philosophical inquiry.

iv.) The ghost realm is characterized, I think, by alcohol and drug addiction, great regret, and/or unresolved emotional conflicts such as unforgiveness. It can also be a realm that serves as a sort of purgatory for beings who have committed unwholesome deeds. It is a generally unpleasant experience.

I have associated myself with the ghost realm on occasion in the past, Sunyata. When I first started seriously practicing the Dhamma, it was, in part, because I felt a great deal of pain, regret, and anger, and wanted to completely change my life for the better. A lot of it was, at first, painful practice. But it got better. A lot better. None of us are alone in experiencing pain and wanting a way out. I am reminded of the Four Noble Truths - Suffering, The Cause, The Cessation, and The Path to Cessation.

If you practice enough, you will certainly attain to true happiness, I believe. In my case, it has taken some time, but my mind certainly has become calmer and more peaceful. Anger, upset, sadness, etc are fashioned experiences that can be changed over time with effort and wisdom.

The Buddha chose these as his final words:

And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"[58]

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... tml#fnt-58



Best Wishes,
LG2V :anjali:
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Sunyata » Wed Aug 28, 2013 7:33 am

LG2V, thank you for that very detailed response. It makes sense to me what you say about the traditional misuse of burning karma. For others in the world I will try to be the best person I can be, and follow the path and the truths. But it my own personal life that I have difficulty with. I really do feel like a ghost, like I am a dead person, and there is no authentic joy in my personal life. I think what I have interpreted as joy is actually extreme desire and at times, molesting divine states through self indulgence. That is the only joy I know, and other than that there is emptiness and pain. My pain problems will certainly get worse with age, and become unrelenting. And my personal problems make it nearly impossible to be attractive enough for another person, so I have severe, unquenchable longing for a lover.

But anyway, I don't mean to whine about it, just explaining how I feel. I was hoping there is some way out, like maybe somehow my problems would go away and maybe if I ask in the right place I might receive an answer. I think I did get my answer actually. It was when you said Buddha rejected austerities, and espoused the importance of the middle path. I can't directly state why this has meaning to me, but I'll try my best. For me, psychologically, I think I feel like I deserve to feel pain and since it looks like it will only get worse with time, I think I have actually been attached to that pain, and thus creating more of it for myself, torturing myself, like maybe if I experience enough of it, it will go away. I have to allow myself to feel love for myself, and accept whatever pleasures in life that I do happen to find.... because there are some. For much of the past I tend to wallow in sorrow, but I'd like that to change.

Well thanks again for that detailed response. BTW, am I correct in my interpretation of the wheel that some of the ghosts are praying to a false Buddha? The ones on the upper left. Do you know where I can find a detailed explanation of the wheel that explains all the little subleties in it? THANKS and all the best.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby HumbleThinker » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:02 pm

Sunyata wrote:LG2V, thank you for that very detailed response. It makes sense to me what you say about the traditional misuse of burning karma. For others in the world I will try to be the best person I can be, and follow the path and the truths. But it my own personal life that I have difficulty with. I really do feel like a ghost, like I am a dead person, and there is no authentic joy in my personal life. I think what I have interpreted as joy is actually extreme desire and at times, molesting divine states through self indulgence. That is the only joy I know, and other than that there is emptiness and pain. My pain problems will certainly get worse with age, and become unrelenting. And my personal problems make it nearly impossible to be attractive enough for another person, so I have severe, unquenchable longing for a lover.

But anyway, I don't mean to whine about it, just explaining how I feel. I was hoping there is some way out, like maybe somehow my problems would go away and maybe if I ask in the right place I might receive an answer. I think I did get my answer actually. It was when you said Buddha rejected austerities, and espoused the importance of the middle path. I can't directly state why this has meaning to me, but I'll try my best. For me, psychologically, I think I feel like I deserve to feel pain and since it looks like it will only get worse with time, I think I have actually been attached to that pain, and thus creating more of it for myself, torturing myself, like maybe if I experience enough of it, it will go away. I have to allow myself to feel love for myself, and accept whatever pleasures in life that I do happen to find.... because there are some. For much of the past I tend to wallow in sorrow, but I'd like that to change.

Well thanks again for that detailed response. BTW, am I correct in my interpretation of the wheel that some of the ghosts are praying to a false Buddha? The ones on the upper left. Do you know where I can find a detailed explanation of the wheel that explains all the little subleties in it? THANKS and all the best.


I am sorry for your pain, but there is hope in understanding. First, witnessing aging, sickness, and death, and realizing that no man can escape these inevitabilities is what got the Buddha started on his journey to search for the way to the cessation of dukha. He experienced what is termed samvega:

Samvega was what the young Prince Siddhartha felt on his first exposure to aging, illness, and death. It's a hard word to translate because it covers such a complex range — at least three clusters of feelings at once: the oppressive sense of shock, dismay, and alienation that come with realizing the futility and meaninglessness of life as it's normally lived; a chastening sense of our own complacency and foolishness in having let ourselves live so blindly; and an anxious sense of urgency in trying to find a way out of the meaningless cycle. This is a cluster of feelings we've all experienced at one time or another in the process of growing up, but I don't know of a single English term that adequately covers all three. It would be useful to have such a term, and maybe that's reason enough for simply adopting the word samvega into our language.


If you happen upon this feeling, although it is very distressing, you should not avoid it but use it just as the Buddha did to search for an escape.

Also, while it may likely be that your suffering is at least partially caused by a desire for pain, it can also be caused by an avoidance of pain (going back and forth between wanting pain and then wanting that pain to go away) as well as being attracted to outside happiness. What the Buddha taught is simply that these things are all empty, they have no form which is permanent, and thus will rise, change, and fall, so should neither be desired nor avoided but understood. By understanding the emptiness of those things which you desire and avoid, it is possible to cease the effect they have on you, and, like a pendulum that is not pulled to the left or right, you will cease swinging from highs and lows; you will travel along the middle way between happiness and despair, attraction and avoidance. While you will still feel pain (IIRC, the Buddha suffered from severe back pain in his latter days), you will not suffer.

In looking for another sutta, I found a great sutta that seems quite relevant to your situation that may be of help to you. It is entitled that Girimananda Sutta and tells of the Buddha's advice to a a very diseased disciple. While it may not allay your disease as it supposedly did for the disciple, it my lead you down a path to allay the suffering your pain is causing you. Hopefully this is helpful in some way.
"I know that I know nothing" -Socrates

IOW, take what I say with a grain of salt, for I likely know as little or less than you do.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby LG2V » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:44 pm

Hi Sunyata,


I forgot to include a link to a more detailed description of Buddhist cosmology and it's various realms of existence. My apologies. Here is a link to a more detailed explanation which is available for download:

http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/en/thum ... n&type=AND

Here are more specific explanations of the Wheel of Life image:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el147.html

(I think that the above essay is best read with an understanding that the author's depiction of White as "Good" and Black as "Evil" are defined more by the usage of opposing colors than any substantial merit inherent to either color. The colors could easily be reversed and used for the opposite meaning. For example, a blazing desert heat could be described as white and the cooling shade of an oasis could be described as black. A famous Buddhist example that seems to favor the goodness of Black involves the comparison of Nibbana to an extinguished flame - the Blackness that is peace and cessation, perhaps. This use of colors is, I think, only a minor part of the author's essay, but it's one I noticed, given how it accords with a certain use of colors which may not always be beneficial.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhavacakra

I think that the ghosts in the Wheel of Life image are rejoicing in merit that is being shared with them. Buddhists are often reminded to share the merit they have earned from wholesome deeds with deceased relatives, and other living beings as well. Ghosts are said to especially benefit from this. They are able to earn merit from rejoicing in such meritorious acts, and improve their own conditions by doing so. I think that on some occasions, such rejoicing can bring the ghost a new life as a human being.


Sunyata, have you begun a meditation practice? I think that Brahmavihara meditation would be great for you. The Brahmaviharas, which can be translated as "Sublime Abodes," are extremely pleasant states of mind that can lead to concentration. They are excellent for clearing away emotions such as sadness, anger, jealousy, and regret. The four Brahmaviharas are:

1.) Metta (Loving-Kindness) - The wish for all being to be comfortable and happy
2.) Karuna (Compassion) - The wish for all being to be free from oppression and pain
3.) Mudita (Sympathetic Joy) - The wish for all beings to continue to have comfort and happiness
4.) Upekkha (Equanimity) - A serene mind that is unshaken by the ups and downs of the world

Regular practice of these as objects of meditation will undoubtedly bring about a happier heart. They also serve as excellent antidotes to acute states of negative emotions.

Here is a link to an excellent site which explains the Brahmaviharas in greater detail and provides meditation instruction:

http://www.buddhanet.net/metta.htm


Another good meditation practice is Anapanasati, which is Breath Meditation. It is good for dealing with physical pain and related physical issues. When combined with Kayagatasati, which is Investigation of The Body, it is a very pleasant, powerful, and beneficial meditation. Investigation of The Body also helps with overcoming desire and personal body issues.

Here are some basic Breath Meditation instructions: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... thmed.html

Here is a link to the Anapanasati Sutta:


"Now how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit?

"There is the case where a monk, having gone to the wilderness, to the shade of a tree, or to an empty building, sits down folding his legs crosswise, holding his body erect, and setting mindfulness to the fore.[1] Always mindful, he breathes in; mindful he breathes out.

"[1] Breathing in long, he discerns, 'I am breathing in long'; or breathing out long, he discerns, 'I am breathing out long.' [2] Or breathing in short, he discerns, 'I am breathing in short'; or breathing out short, he discerns, 'I am breathing out short.' [3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the entire body.'[2] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the entire body.' [4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming bodily fabrication.'[3] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming bodily fabrication.'

"[5] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to rapture.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to rapture.' [6] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to pleasure.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to pleasure.' [7] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to mental fabrication.'[4] He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to mental fabrication.' [8] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in calming mental fabrication.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out calming mental fabrication.'

"[9] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' [10] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' [11] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' [12] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'[5]

"[13] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on inconstancy.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on inconstancy.' [14] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on dispassion [literally, fading].' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on dispassion.' [15] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on cessation.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on cessation.' [16] He trains himself, 'I will breathe in focusing on relinquishment.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out focusing on relinquishment.'

"This is how mindfulness of in-&-out breathing is developed & pursued so as to be of great fruit, of great benefit.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html



Here is an excellent site for learning about Body Meditation: http://www.32parts.com/


One extra thing that I'd like to add is that contemplation of the Tilakkhana, the "Three Marks of Existence" is one of the keys for the development of wisdom and knowledge in meditation and daily life. They are:

1.) Anicca (Impermanence)
2.) Dukkha (Unsatisfactoriness)
3.) Anatta (Selflessness)

In short, all fabricated things are Impermanent. All impermanent things are Unsatisfactory. All Unsatisfactory things are not Self - not your Self, not a God's Self, not The Buddha's Self, not anyone's Self.


Thank you for replying to my post, Sunyata. I'm glad that you found it useful, and I hope that I've been able to provide more helpful information with this post. I think that you're definitely following the right path by choosing to love yourself and not torture yourself. I wish you the best in your meditation practice and in your daily life. May you be happy and well.


Best Wishes,
LG2V :anjali:
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Sunyata » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:24 am

Well thanks LG2V, and Humble Thinker. I guess I can always count on you for a thorough response. I have a lot of reading to do.

think that the ghosts in the Wheel of Life image are rejoicing in merit that is being shared with them. Buddhists are often reminded to share the merit they have earned from wholesome deeds with deceased relatives, and other living beings as well. Ghosts are said to especially benefit from this. They are able to earn merit from rejoicing in such meritorious acts, and improve their own conditions by doing so. I think that on some occasions, such rejoicing can bring the ghost a new life as a human being.


Hmmm, that's very interesting because that also has synchronicity with how I've been feeling lately. I've been thinking about my life what what the heck I'm doing here in the world... feeling like a ghost, basically a useless person who can barely work or do anything. I realized that I will never be a good provider in the typical sense because I don't work well. So I started realizing that my positive place in the world will be more as a nurturing individual, who provides encouragement, emotional, or spiritual, to those who do have the ability to manifest positive physical change in the world, an ability that I lack. I do have things to share with the world.... seeing as I hang out in altered states and meditative states so often... I feel I have somewhat otherworldly value to offer to the living. But when I try to relate as one person to another, I have great difficulty with it because I feel that as a person I am dead. Anyway, point is that I still feel like I have a positive place in the world, despite feeling like a ghost. Thanks for listening. It feels more solid now that I've written that.

Sunyata, have you begun a meditation practice? I think that Brahmavihara meditation would be great for you. The Brahmaviharas, which can be translated as "Sublime Abodes," are extremely pleasant states of mind that can lead to concentration. They are excellent for clearing away emotions such as sadness, anger, jealousy, and regret. The four Brahmaviharas are:


Thanks, I have never done formal meditaiton, but I will definitely look in to it. I think being a proficient meditator will play a large role in my development as a person. I try to meditate as much as I can.... meaning all the time, like when doing activities or being around people, or whenever. But I'm sure I could learn to be even better at it.

What I am learning lately is that meditation can be used for good, or it can be a bad thing, or even lead to great sins. I have used meditation imporopery, without knowing it, as a means of escape, pointless day dreaming. Or on the darker side, to get high, or indulge in bad thoughts, or desires, which leads to poor lifestyle, and a poor life.

For exmaple, I have always been drawn to the ocean, or bodies of water. I will look out over the water whether I'm feeling happy or sad. Then a few days ago when I wasn't feeling so great, I went to the water and looked out over it and meditated on it. But after a while I came to a disturbing realization. I was not doing a good thing by meditating in the way I was. I was actually focussing on negative emotions. I was not honoring the water and having compassion for it. This might sound weird, but I am learning to have "compassion" for all things, including objects. But I was seeing the negative side of the water. I was seeing it as a depressing, infinite abode which I am inevitably destined to enter and from which I will never return from the never ending dark. And this was depressing. And so I was making myself feel worse by seeing the water in that way.... and this might sound weird, but I felt as though the earth was resonating with my feelings. That is, when I felt bad, I was also making the earth feel bad, or God or whatever spirit. The earth felt what I felt and I was causing pain for both myself and the universe.

So instead of seeing potentially painful things as threatning, I started developing a sense of compassion for things.... somehow, giving the universe what it wants. I started feeling as though all people, and all things as well, have emotional, and/or spiritual wants/needs. And so I started trying to tap in to those wants, and giving to those needs by allowing my own spirit to give it. Like when I was walking passed a person I like today, I thought instead of trying to get something from her, and I have a tendency to do that, often being emotionally needy... I thought I am going to psychically give her what she wants right now. And in an instant I somehow tuned in to her frequency of consciousness that she was feeling in the moment, and transmitted a vibe of support and value to her. I knew I did this because I saw the look in her eyes, I knew I reached her. She also reflected the same good intentions back to me. I knew that I had done a good thing, and the way it made me feel inside is almost indescribable. It was like receiving a gift back that I didn't expect. Of course I felt good because because she's pretty and I liked the look in her eyes, but on some deeper level there was a transmission of positive energy. All this happened in a split second. I hope that moments like that will stick with people, maybe have a positive impact on their future, without them even knowing it, without there being and discerable direct connection between the nurturing energy, and whatever positive outcome they may experience.

Then I went around trying to do the same thing with all people, all things, all moments. This is how I plan to live for the rest of my life. Anyway, I guess I just wanted to get that out. Thanks so much for your support.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby LG2V » Fri Aug 30, 2013 3:57 am

Hi Sunyata,

I'm glad that I could help! From what you've told me, it seems like you've got a lot of potential for developing skill at arousing and maintaining some very beautiful mind states. I wish you the best in refining and consolidating your mental talents. Also, meditations such as the Brahmaviharas and Breath Meditation, when developed, provide a great degree of safety, refuge, and refreshment from external problems and mental issues.

Feel free to ask more questions and provide updates on your practice and development. Good luck with your meditation practice!


Best Wishes,
LG2V :anjali:
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Sunyata » Fri Aug 30, 2013 6:27 am

well aren't we full of well wishes today. Thanks mate.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Ben » Fri Aug 30, 2013 8:50 am

Sunyata wrote:Hello. Thanks for having me. I was recently struck when I learned about the wheel of life because I see myself in it. The obviously dominant theme in my life is that I am a hungry ghost. I have chronic pain and health problems that stop me feeling satisfaction. Anyway, I was looking at this depiction of the wheel of life, http://www.merlinnz.com/blog/wp-content ... f_life.jpg
and it seems that in every realm, there are different levels within each realm, and each realm can either lead to the buddha, or lead to a lower realm.

I'm looking at the ghost realm and seeing myself in it. It looks like some of the ghosts are hanging around lost in the dessert, some become so painful that they destroy themselves and send themselves to hell. And then it looks like some are worshipping a flase Budhha I'm guessing? And the ghosts at the top of the realm are praying to Buddha and receiving nourishment of truth. My question is, how do hungry ghosts burn their karma in a positive way so as to not send themselves to hell in life?

Also, if one does send themselves to hell, what is the way through that realm? I feel like recently I became so accutely upset that I sent myself to the hell realm, and felt like I was destined to suffer eternally. What is the right way to navigate through each of the realms?

Also, where can I find a very detailed explanation of the wheel. There are so many suble things happening I want to know what they mean. The wheel seems to be a very good guide for how to move through life, if is understood. I want to understnad. Thank you.


The fact of the matter is that although you may feel like you are in a peta realm or hell realm, you're actually in the human realm. May I suggest that you safeguard your precepts. If you keep your precepts safe, they will in turn, protect you. While you maintain your precepts, practice samatha to develop your samadhi and practice vipassana bhavana to develop wisdom, insight, panna. When you can, practice dana (generosity) and pariyatti (study). Sila (morality), samadhi (concentration) and panna (wisdom) are like the three legs of a tripod. They support each other.
Wishing you all the best,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Sunyata » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:07 am

Ben wrote: The fact of the matter is that although you may feel like you are in a peta realm or hell realm, you're actually in the human realm. May I suggest that you safeguard your precepts. If you keep your precepts safe, they will in turn, protect you. While you maintain your precepts, practice samatha to develop your samadhi and practice vipassana bhavana to develop wisdom, insight, panna. When you can, practice dana (generosity) and pariyatti (study). Sila (morality), samadhi (concentration) and panna (wisdom) are like the three legs of a tripod. They support each other.
Wishing you all the best, Ben


Thanks Ben, I actually do need to be reminded that I am a human and not a ghost because I really feel that way, and often have a vision of myself as a dead person, and especially when people try to talk to me about my personal life, there is just emptiness. No one wants to talk to me because I have nothing to offer personally. I can offer charity to people, or discussion, but relating person to person seems impossible to me.

Personally, I think of the realms as existing in our own psyche's. In that way, they are indeed real, and I do feel myself psychically existing in each of the realms, and meditation has given me access to the god realm..... and feel as though I am human only because I have a human body, but I do not interact with the world as a typical human.

I wonder if the realms of the wheel have an independent existence outiside of our consciousness, or if everything that exists only exists because we are conscious, and the spiritual realms only exist as part of our imagination. If there is actually a hungry ghost realm, or a deva realm, I wonder if they can perceive us, or themselves at all.... or maybe it is just spiritual energy that has no consciousness of itself unless we are conscious of it.... in the same way that trees and objects are not conscious, it is our awareness of them that that they experience consciousness indirectly, through us.... as far as I know. Just some metaphysical speculation.

Much of the time I am not particularly aware of objects, they just pass by as dead things. But when I started practicing meditation, I started seeing that I am each object, and with that realization I can sense the object becomes conscious of itself, and I can sense that it feels some sort of gratitude for me recognizing it for what it is.
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Aloka » Sat Aug 31, 2013 7:22 am

Sunyata wrote:I actually do need to be reminded that I am a human and not a ghost because I really feel that way, and often have a vision of myself as a dead person


Hi Sunyata,

Can I ask if you have been taking any recreational drugs such as hallucinogenics ? The reason why I'm asking is that on another Buddhist website, a recent poster, with the same name as yours, mentioned taking drugs, including an on-going use of psychedelics.


With kind wishes,

Aloka
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Re: How to Burn Karma and Move Stages of the Wheel of Life?

Postby Sunyata » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:57 am

no that wasn't me. I saw that thread though I've read what you have to say about it. Thanks.
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