What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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No_Mind
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What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:16 am

There are six cases when the pārājika 1 is not committed:

When the bhikkhu is sleeping or in all other cases when he is not aware of the sexual intercourse when it takes place.
When the bhikkhu is not consenting.
When the bhikkhu has fallen into unconsciousness or is in a state of insanity.
When the bhikkhu, being possessed by another spirit, can no longer control himself.
When the bhikkhu is afflicted by an unbearable pain.
When the bhikkhu has committed this action before the rules have been established.

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya/227/4pk.htm
What is meant by spirit?

The first parajika discusses intercourse. I would be glad if the discussion did not veer to that aspect but discussed meaning of spirits.

:namaste:

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bodom
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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:17 am

Sounds like possession by a ghost or evil spirit.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:26 am

bodom wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:17 am
Sounds like possession by a ghost or evil spirit.

:namaste:
Which brings us to the question what is a ghost or spirit? This is the parajika .. it has been written carefully .. not a hastily put together document. Mention of ghosts therein raises some questions.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:35 am

No_Mind wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:26 am
bodom wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:17 am
Sounds like possession by a ghost or evil spirit.

:namaste:
Which brings us to the question what is a ghost or spirit? This is the parajika .. it has been written carefully .. not a hastily put together document. Mention of ghosts therein raises some questions.

:namaste:
There are references to ghosts and evil spirits throughout the pali Canon. This is nothing out of the ordinary.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:47 am

bodom wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:35 am
There are references to ghosts and evil spirits throughout the pali Canon. This is nothing out of the ordinary.

:namaste:
Yes. But one could ignore those references as being metaphorical in some unexplained way or a corruption.

But as part of parajika it becomes an "officially" accepted term. A ghost is then to be considered a real entity (like a bird or an insect).

That raises some interesting questions.

Buddhism then believes with no ambiguity that existence without a corporeal body is possible. Have I reached a fair conclusion?

if I have then possibility of opposite of evil spirits .. that is angels also cannot be ruled out. Have I reached another fair conclusion?

This is a huge discovery at least for me. It allows me to visit a Hindu temple without feeling any conflict with my Buddhist beliefs because a Hindu God may be a benevolent spirit. And it does not conflict with my need to pray to a benevolent spirit called Jesus at times.

That there may be benevolent spirits then does not conflict with Buddhism?

:namaste:
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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by SarathW » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:07 am

being possessed by another spirit
I do not believe a human can be possessed by a spirit.
Perhaps spirit may be bale to influence a human but it is different.
What is the Pali translation for above.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:12 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:07 am
being possessed by another spirit
I do not believe a human can be possessed by a spirit.
Perhaps spirit may be bale to influence a human but it is different.
What is the Pali translation for above.
Sarath please visit the link for the Pali version

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by cappuccino » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:29 am

No_Mind wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:47 am
Buddhism then believes with no ambiguity that existence without a corporeal body is possible. Have I reached a fair conclusion?

A physical body is the strange thing. Most of existence is spirit-ual.
Dhamma is karma & rebirth.

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by chownah » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:39 am

Sometimes certain types of "insanity" are desceribed as being "possessed of a spirit".
chownah

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by DNS » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:48 am

When the bhikkhu, being possessed by another spirit, can no longer control himself.
If a bhikkhu made such a claim, who would determine if it were factual or not? It sounds like a ripe opportunity for a [dishonest] bhikkhu to make an excuse, in a similar way medieval Catholic nuns when found pregnant, stated that they were raped by demons.

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:58 am

No_Mind wrote:That there may be benevolent spirits then does not conflict with Buddhism?

:namaste:
Yes they are called Devas.
"Furthermore, you should recollect the devas: 'There are the devas of the Four Great Kings, the devas of the Thirty-three, the devas of the Hours, the Contented Devas, the devas who delight in creation, the devas who have power over the creations of others, the devas of Brahma's retinue, the devas beyond them.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

In the Ratana Sutta the Buddha asks them to Protect Humans:
Whatever, beings are here assembled,
whether terrestrial or celestial,
may all these beings be happy
and listen closely to my words.

Pay attention all you beings:
show kindness to the humans
who day and night bring you offerings.
Therefore guard them diligently.
:namaste
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

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No_Mind
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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:19 am

bodom wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:58 am
Yes they are called Devas.
:namaste:
Is a Buddhist allowed to pray to Devas in times of difficulty? Is it wrong to view a Hindu God (or deity) like Krishna as a very powerful Deva (or a very senior Deva far up the hierarchy) and pray to that God (as long as one does not categorically believe that Deva was the Creator God)

If your answer is in the affirmative .. may I ask a hypothetical question .. if one believes Yahweh was a very powerful Deva who was moved by the plight of Jews and worked through Moses to help the Jews .. it is not then against any tenets of Buddhism?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by bodom » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:54 am

Is a Buddhist allowed to pray to Devas in times of difficulty?
You will get different answers to this but I will say that if it brings peace to your mind in times of trouble then it's OK. Look at it as upaya (skillful means) but don't forget that we alone are the ones who determine our present and future circumstances:
Then Anathapindika the householder went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him: "These five things, householder, are welcome, agreeable, pleasant, & hard to obtain in the world. Which five?

"Long life is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, & hard to obtain in the world.

"Beauty is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, & hard to obtain in the world.

"Happiness is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, & hard to obtain in the world.

"Status is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, & hard to obtain in the world.

"Rebirth in heaven is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, & hard to obtain in the world.

"Now, I tell you, these five things are not to be obtained by reason of prayers or wishes. If they were to be obtained by reason of prayers or wishes, who here would lack them? It's not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires long life to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires long life should follow the path of practice leading to long life. In so doing, he will attain long life, either human or divine.

"It's not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires beauty to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires beauty should follow the path of practice leading to beauty. In so doing, he will attain beauty, either human or divine.

"It's not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires happiness to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires happiness should follow the path of practice leading to happiness. In so doing, he will attain happiness, either human or divine.

"It's not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires status to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires status should follow the path of practice leading to status. In so doing, he will attain status, either human or divine.

"It's not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires rebirth in heaven to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires rebirth in heaven should follow the path of practice leading to rebirth in heaven. In so doing, he will attain rebirth in heaven."
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Is it wrong to view a Hindu God (or deity) like Krishna as a very powerful Deva (or a very senior Deva far up the hierarchy) and pray to that God (as long as one does not categorically believe that Deva was the Creator God)
No I don't see why it would be. See above answer.
If your answer is in the affirmative .. may I ask a hypothetical question .. if one believes Yahweh was a very powerful Deva who was moved by the plight of Jews and worked through Moses to help the Jews .. it is not then against any tenets of Buddhism?
I do not know of any stories in the canon that show Devas working through Humans to accomplish some greater good.

:namaste:
To study is to know the texts,
To practice is to know your defilements,
To attain the goal is to know and let go.

- Ajahn Lee Dhammadharo


With mindfulness immersed in the body
well established, restrained
with regard to the six media of contact,
always centered, the monk
can know Unbinding for himself.

- Ud 3.5


"Dont send the mind outside. Watch the mind right at the mind."

- Ajahn Dune Atulo

Garrib
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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by Garrib » Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:57 am

May benevolent Devas rejoice and share in all of our merits, and may they protect us and help us to succeed in our lives and in our practice.

I have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting this kind of "prayer", and I don't think anyone else should either! :)

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by No_Mind » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:51 am

bodom wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:54 am
Is a Buddhist allowed to pray to Devas in times of difficulty?
You will get different answers to this but I will say that if it brings peace to your mind in times of trouble then it's OK. Look at it as upaya (skillful means) but don't forget that we alone are the ones who determine our present and future circumstances:

:namaste:
Thank you for a clear answer without any ambiguity. Ittha Sutta that you have quoted is one of my most favorite suttas.
Garrib wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:57 am
May benevolent Devas rejoice and share in all of our merits, and may they protect us and help us to succeed in our lives and in our practice.

I have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting this kind of "prayer", and I don't think anyone else should either! :)
Thank you for the moral support

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

chownah
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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by chownah » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:40 am

Garrib wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:57 am
May benevolent Devas rejoice and share in all of our merits, and may they protect us and help us to succeed in our lives and in our practice.

I have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting this kind of "prayer", and I don't think anyone else should either! :)
If one sees reciting this prayer as being an empty ritual should they have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting it?
chownah

Garrib
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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by Garrib » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:29 am

chownah wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:40 am
Garrib wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:57 am
May benevolent Devas rejoice and share in all of our merits, and may they protect us and help us to succeed in our lives and in our practice.

I have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting this kind of "prayer", and I don't think anyone else should either! :)
If one sees reciting this prayer as being an empty ritual should they have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting it?
chownah
I don't know, chownah, what do you think?

chownah
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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by chownah » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:03 am

Garrib wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:29 am
chownah wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:40 am
Garrib wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:57 am
May benevolent Devas rejoice and share in all of our merits, and may they protect us and help us to succeed in our lives and in our practice.

I have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting this kind of "prayer", and I don't think anyone else should either! :)
If one sees reciting this prayer as being an empty ritual should they have no problem whatsoever mentally reciting it?
chownah
I don't know, chownah, what do you think?
It is of no concern to me in that when I see a ritual as being empty I do not perform it. I see all rituals as being empty....I can recite the words if I want....I can recite the words every day if I want.....but doing so would not be a ritual.
I mentioned this to you because you seem to think you know what anyone else's attitude should be towards this so I thought that what I said might help you with understanding your ideas possible application.
chownah

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by Garrib » Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:28 am

Ok,

I'm not really interested in fruitless online confrontations, and I honestly am not sure I understand what it is you're trying to express to me. I apologize if my comment offended you in some way.

Be well.

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Re: What does spirit mean in Buddhism?

Post by retrofuturist » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:03 am

Greetings No_Mind,
No_Mind wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:16 am
There are six cases when the pārājika 1 is not committed:

When the bhikkhu is sleeping or in all other cases when he is not aware of the sexual intercourse when it takes place.
When the bhikkhu is not consenting.
When the bhikkhu has fallen into unconsciousness or is in a state of insanity.
When the bhikkhu, being possessed by another spirit, can no longer control himself.
When the bhikkhu is afflicted by an unbearable pain.
When the bhikkhu has committed this action before the rules have been established.

http://en.dhammadana.org/sangha/vinaya/227/4pk.htm
What is meant by spirit?
Is it possible that this was the contemporary explanation for what we might now commonly attribute to "mental health issues"?

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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