Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Ryan95227
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Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Ryan95227 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:22 am

Hello, I was wondering if any of you actually believe in hungry ghosts, hell realm, magic, or other seemingly "supernatural" part of buddhism. I just can't imagine Buddha actually talking about this stuff. These stuff makes buddhism seem like other religions.(i.e jesus walking on water) Do you guys actually believe in this? I'm just very confused because I thought Buddhism was mainly about ending the cycle of suffering for human beings. Idk why Buddha would even mention those. It just seems like made up myth.

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robertk
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by robertk » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:00 am

I am a believer. :D

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Kim OHara
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Kim OHara » Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:34 am

Ryan95227 wrote:Hello, I was wondering if any of you actually believe in hungry ghosts, hell realm, magic, or other seemingly "supernatural" part of buddhism. I just can't imagine Buddha actually talking about this stuff. These stuff makes buddhism seem like other religions.(i.e jesus walking on water) Do you guys actually believe in this? I'm just very confused because I thought Buddhism was mainly about ending the cycle of suffering for human beings. Idk why Buddha would even mention those. It just seems like made up myth.
There's a whole movement called "Skeptical Buddhism" for (and by) people who share your doubts about 'supernatural stuff'. Visit http://secularbuddhism.org/tag/skeptical-buddhism/ to learn more about it. However, most Buddhists in Buddhist countries do believe (most of) this stuff, i.e., it is a genuine part of historical Buddhism.

:namaste:
Kim

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Jan 17, 2016 10:30 am

If you don't know, then you have to believe, but you need to understand that disbelief is also based on not knowing.

A wise man should not be credulous, i.e. believing anything without making a proper inquiry.
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Sein
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Sein » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:16 am

I think you need a step by step approach. But then, believing the paranormal is not a necessary part to practice.
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.

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The Thinker
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by The Thinker » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:13 pm

We all doubt and question! The fact is that many objects are first conceived (born)in the mind which later come to fruition, nearly all inventions may well be associated to the natural world around us, from conscious observation and unconscious observation comes fresh insight, how on earth did the mobile phone come to fruition? How can we communicate with such large distance between ourselves, with almost exact replication of voice recognition? The imagination and application of imagination surely a big part of the soil of our unconscious reality, which is triggered by our conscious senses from the nature that surrounds us in the now? Future prediction, best guess, is born of the past and present and the contemplation that goes on within the mind, if the mind can think it up,then it is possible that much can come to fruition, but some things can't if they are untruths of the natural world(universe), so much of the universe is yet unexplored, therefore we have not cognized some potentials, The buddha was before his time, he was a clever chap, with much insight that we can now see, is truth, Craving is the unseen driving force of the universe, craving for anything is perhaps better than nothing, in the dark matter of the abyss? :namaste:
Last edited by The Thinker on Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

HumbleThinker
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by HumbleThinker » Sun Jan 17, 2016 12:18 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:Hello, I was wondering if any of you actually believe in hungry ghosts, hell realm, magic, or other seemingly "supernatural" part of buddhism. I just can't imagine Buddha actually talking about this stuff. These stuff makes buddhism seem like other religions.(i.e jesus walking on water) Do you guys actually believe in this? I'm just very confused because I thought Buddhism was mainly about ending the cycle of suffering for human beings. Idk why Buddha would even mention those. It just seems like made up myth.
If these were a part of the Buddha's experience, then he certainly would talk about them. How you think these were a part of the Buddha's experience, if they were at all, is up to you to determine and act on yourself. Perhaps he literally experienced these things, perhaps he was using established parts of the culture he was in to assist in delivering the dhamma to the particular audience he was talking to at the time. Buddhism certainly has many aspects that religious and areligious people are incredulous over, so in this respect it is like other religions. Mahayana Buddhism in particular, which I know isn't the topic of this forum, quite often co-opts aspects of the local religion into itself. I would not be surprised if Theravada did this to a lesser extent.

Personally, some of the stuff I accept as literally true, and some of it I accept as being metaphorical. Some of it I accept as being important to my practice and some of it I accept as not being important.
"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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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:09 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:Hello, I was wondering if any of you actually believe in hungry ghosts, hell realm, magic, or other seemingly "supernatural" part of buddhism. I just can't imagine Buddha actually talking about this stuff. These stuff makes buddhism seem like other religions.(i.e jesus walking on water) Do you guys actually believe in this? I'm just very confused because I thought Buddhism was mainly about ending the cycle of suffering for human beings. Idk why Buddha would even mention those. It just seems like made up myth.
I believe these things as well but, really, you can practice without worrying too much about them. Don't get hung up on them either way, practice well and you'll see for yourself.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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The Thinker
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by The Thinker » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:36 pm

146

What laughter, why joy,
when constantly aflame?
Enveloped in darkness,
don't you look for a lamp?
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

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Kusala
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Kusala » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:38 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:Hello, I was wondering if any of you actually believe in hungry ghosts, hell realm, magic, or other seemingly "supernatural" part of buddhism. I just can't imagine Buddha actually talking about this stuff. These stuff makes buddhism seem like other religions.(i.e jesus walking on water) Do you guys actually believe in this? I'm just very confused because I thought Buddhism was mainly about ending the cycle of suffering for human beings. Idk why Buddha would even mention those. It just seems like made up myth.

I was initially skeptical and still to a certain extent, but now I'm starting to believe that there's more to life just the material world". There's this wonderful Dhamma talk, Buddhism And Psychic Phenomenaby Ajahn Nyanadhammo https://dhammaloka.org.au/home/item/687 ... omena.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" , which I highly recommend...
Image

"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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khlawng
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by khlawng » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:13 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:Hello, I was wondering if any of you actually believe in hungry ghosts, hell realm, magic, or other seemingly "supernatural" part of buddhism. I just can't imagine Buddha actually talking about this stuff. These stuff makes buddhism seem like other religions.(i.e jesus walking on water) Do you guys actually believe in this? I'm just very confused because I thought Buddhism was mainly about ending the cycle of suffering for human beings. Idk why Buddha would even mention those. It just seems like made up myth.
you cannot lump everything that sounds supernatural as unbelievable.
take for instance hungry ghost (peta) and hell realm whivh you mentioned,
they are a essential part of the buddha's teaching because it describes a never ending cycle of rebirth as different beings depandant on conditioning in a cosmology without beginning and end of time.
hence the never ending suffering which must be comprehended and path to its cessation developed.
if you set this concept aside as unbelievable, then you fall into the nihilist camp which is wrong view.
I am surprise at the number of post here that seems to not set this part straight.

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Dhammabodhi
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Dhammabodhi » Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:17 pm

Kusala wrote: I was initially skeptical and still to a certain extent, but now I'm starting to believe that there's more to life just the material world". There's this wonderful Dhamma talk, Buddhism And Psychic Phenomenaby Ajahn Nyanadhammo, which I highly recommend...
Thanks for that wonderful Dhamma talk!

:thanks: :anjali:
"Take rest, take rest."-S.N.Goenka

santa100
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by santa100 » Sun Jan 17, 2016 6:14 pm

Ryan95227 wrote:..why Buddha would even mention those. It just seems like made up myth.
Of course it seems that way to us worldlings. There's nothing surprising or confusing about it. Imagine yourself somehow was able to travel back in time and lived among the people from a primitive society during the Dark Ages. If you tell those folks that you're able to see people and objects miles away at pitch-dark night with a pair of "magic eyes" (night vision goggles), or talk to people oceans away thru an ear "stone" (cell phone), or fly from continent to continent within hours on "iron birds", etc. then obviously to them, everything that you say is made up myth! Now repeat the same thought experiment, but instead of traveling back in time, you go forward 10 or 15 centuries into the future, imagine the kind of things you'd be able to see for yourself that you used to think were all made up myth before..

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seeker242
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by seeker242 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:20 am

Yes I believe in them. One reason is because I can't believe the Buddha would lie about such things.

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Kusala
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Kusala » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:18 am

Former skeptic talks about his experience...

Image

"He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Noble Lord, the Perfectly Enlightened One;
He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Serene One, the Knower of the Worlds;
He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and men; he is Awake and Holy. "

--------------------------------------------
"The Dhamma is well-expounded by the Blessed One,
Apparent here and now, timeless, encouraging investigation,
Leading to liberation, to be experienced individually by the wise. "

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tiltbillings
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:38 am

Kusala wrote:Former skeptic talks about his experience...

Who is this guy?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Dhammanando
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:05 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Who is this guy?
Vern Lovic — a Thailand-based writer, photographer, meditator and snake-conservationist.

http://www.vernlovic.com/

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tiltbillings
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by tiltbillings » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:47 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Who is this guy?
Vern Lovic — a Thailand-based writer, photographer, meditator and snake-conservationist.

http://www.vernlovic.com/
Thanks.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by dxm_dxm » Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:31 pm

Do you believe that in this universe there exist creatures that experience more pleasure and hapiness than humans ? Do you believe there exist creatures that experience less pleasure and happiness than humans ? Well this is of course true, animals exist. Creatures experiencing huge amounts of pleasure and happines are described in conventional language as "been in heaven" and those who suffer very much are considered to be in hell. There exist in this world people living in dubai or in concentration camps. There is such a big difference in the happiness of people on this earth. Why do you think the hapiness and suffering levels of this world are the limits, that no other happier or in suffering creatures can exist ? Do you have a reason to believe this planet is the only place in the universe that life exists and that what can be seen through our 5 senses is all that exist ? Do ultraviolet colours exist ?

When christian background people hear about heaven, hell, hungry ghost etc. they think of this as mistical worlds described in christianity. In budhism, a creature been in heaven is simply a creature that experience more pleasure and happines than a human. It does not have to be a white angel with a lot of extraordinary powers. It can simply be a creature more happy than us, the same way we are more happy than animals thanks to having a bigger capacity for dopamine and serotonine in the brain.

Budhism states there are infinite posible forms of existence. These infinite in diversity forms are grouped in 6 "worlds" acording to their characteristics. For example if an alien that looks like an octopus comes over here and we discover he experience a similar level of happiness to that of humans, has reasoning developed to the level of the humans, not bigger not lower etc. that alien is considered to be of the human world. Also, if a human has a level different level of hapiness, charachteristics and functions in a way different than that of a human, he can be considered as been more in the asura/animal/heaven/etc. world than the world of humans. A good example of this are people who suffer from narcisistic personality disorder witch although have a human body like all other humans, they have a mental state, traits and level of hapiness coresponding to the buddhist description of asuras. The way they are mentaly functioning, the mental mechanism and characteristics they have, are probably more different to those of humans than a dog is different to a human. As a narcissist, I am shocked at how every trait described of the asuras is like taken from the DSM description of narcissism. Also, it is said the asuras experience bigger level of hapiness than humans. Psichology also says this about narcissism witch is defenittly true. A narcissist experiences a lot of powerfull narcissistic pleasures that a normal human does not and is also way more resistant to suffering. But this is true only when we talk of average because any narcissist can be more unhappy than a human giving the circumstances. The same way a human can be more unhappy than an animal if the human is in a labour camp and the animal is a top-of-the-food-chain predator or a pet in a loving family.

If a person has grown in the jungle, acts and behaves exactly like the first humans, that person is clearly more in the "animal world" than he is in the
"human world". So these "worlds" are not fixed real places where angels with wings or ghosts exist, but are 6 groups in witch the buddha grouped the unlimited number of different creatures that exist in the world acording to their traits and level of hapiness. The same way we label some creatures to be "insects" and other to be "animals" because of having similar characteristics.

PS: Some might understand from my post that I am claming narcissist are asuras in human body. Felines for example are more narcissistic than a narcissistic human, could we say with rigidity that felines are asuras in animal body ? Of course not because my whole point was that these 6 "world" deal with characteristics. A narcissistic human has more "asura world" traits than he has "human world" traits, but of course still has traits from all the other "worlds", especially human ones thanks to his human body and environment. Put the creature in a terrorist organisation and you will sure see more narcissistic traits. Any rigid label is never gona be a good description of a creature because of the very fact that there exist infinite combinations of traits and level of traits-intensity in every creature.

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The Thinker
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Re: Doubting supernatural side of Buddhism

Post by The Thinker » Mon Jan 18, 2016 7:53 pm

Thanks for posting video, It's strange but the two most profound pieces of non-conscious or I should say dream state episodes in my life have involved my two sons both before knowledge of their arrival(pre-pregnancy test), I make it clear I was not meditating or involved with any kind of study in Buddhism at that time, The first episode was the more emotion jerking for me, I should point out that in the summer of that year, my partner and I had decided to try for a child, it was about two months later,we both worked for the same company, we were on opposite shifts, I had returned from my long day shift, my partner was working til 00:30, anyway I was looking after the step daughter, she had gone to bed, I soon retired not long after, I was dreaming about a boy aged around 8years old ,he had blond hair and he was with my partner and over - looking myself in bed(almost a death-bed scene),
I then heard the front door shut, semi-awake, and not at all conscious, I shouted to partner is the babie (bab - e , black country style) ok, she shouted back upstairs, she is in bed isn't she?, I then shouted back not that one the other one, and then I returned back to sleep, about 15 minutes later my partner awoke me, excited she told me to look at the pregnancy test, which was positive, She had done it only because of my reply(this is a fantastic memory).

On the second occasion, we had not been planning another child, and again I was dreaming and we were together in bed, on this occasion, I was dreaming about a local town in the city, I had entered what can best be described as an Indian village from a different period in time, I then witnessed another child looking very much like my partner ,and then the perspective changed, I could see someone who looked like my partner lying down without movement , I approached and she was a much older version and looked dead?, suddenly there was a swirling black hole appear of which I felt i was falling, then suddenly lots of colours, beautiful colour which then came across as flags, very small flags blowing in the wind, and then a voice telling me, everything will be ok( a blissful like state). I awoke soon after, told my partner about the dream, she went to work and yes,returned with yet another positive test.


So perhaps there does exist some sort of unseen bond between family.
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

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