Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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DooDoot
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:34 am

cappuccino wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:22 pm
The Five Spiritual Faculties
1. Faith
2. Vigor
3. Mindfulness
4. Concentration
5. Wisdom
Faculty of faith appears to be the Noble Disciple's faith in the Buddha's Awakening (rather than faith of the puthujjana in unverified things).
The faculties of faith, energy, mindfulness, immersion, and wisdom.
Saddhindriyaṃ … pe … paññindriyaṃ.

And what is the faculty of faith?
Katamañca, bhikkhave, saddhindriyaṃ?

It’s when a noble disciple has faith in the Realized One’s awakening:
Idha, bhikkhave, ariyasāvako saddho hoti, saddahati tathāgatassa bodhiṃ:

https://suttacentral.net/sn48.10/en/sujato
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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cappuccino
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:54 am

faith
noun
strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

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DooDoot
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:58 am

cappuccino wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:54 am
faith
noun
strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.
Yes. In Christianity but not Buddhism
Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
:focus:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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cappuccino
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:00 am

DooDoot wrote:
Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
:focus:

by the way, faith is the topic

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:04 am

cappuccino wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:00 am
by the way, faith is the topic
Sure. Buddhist faith, generally called:
New Concise Pali English Dictionary
avecca(p)pasāda
masculine
trust founded in knowledge, intelligent faith.

https://suttacentral.net/define/aveccappas%C4%81da
experiential confidence in the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha

buddhe aveccappasādena dhamme aveccappasādena saṅghe aveccappasādena
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:16 am

what is a spiritual person without faith in spirits?

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DooDoot
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by DooDoot » Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:10 am

cappuccino wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:16 am
what is a spiritual person without faith in spirits?
a non-animist
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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https://soundcloud.com/doodoot/anapanasati

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by cappuccino » Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:09 am

DooDoot wrote:
cappuccino wrote: what is a spiritual person without faith in spirits?
a non-animist
I've encountered spirits

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by bryozoa » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:00 am

inyenzi wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:41 pm
bryozoa wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:23 pm
While I respect and am exhilarated by Buddhism (particularly Theravada), I am also alienated by the fact that supernatural beings feature so prominently in Buddhist scripture. Surely the sole focus should be on liberation from incurring karmic debt, eschewing every form of superstition as extraneous to that overriding purpose?
This strikes me as confused. "Karmic debt" (which itself could be described as a 'superstition'), is nonsensical unless within the context of literal rebirth, i.e. through hell/heaven/animal realms (the ending of which is "liberation"). If there is no literal rebirth, then there is no kamma, and therefore (as pointed out in this thread) there is just annihilation - one life and done. No need for buddhism if dukkha ceases when the body stops functioning.
If Karma exists (and I have my doubts) it is a natural impersonal law comparable to gravity and electromagnetism. Rebirth in this sense would just be karma reclaiming what has been incurred or merited over immense time scales. Karma might be transferred genetically as well, so if a thug has inflicted pain on others, his descendants may inherit the consequences of his actions.

Heaven and Hells make more sense to me as metaphors for fleeting emotional and mental states that are experienced in this universe.

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by bryozoa » Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:04 am

seeker242 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:10 pm
bryozoa wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:52 pm
Oh no not a liar, merely that modern humans misinterpret. If there is one thing I have learnt about the Ancients is that they often encoded advanced astronomical knowledge in mythology. A lot of Buddhist scripture concerning planes of existence, ghosts and devas may relate to investigations into consciousness which would have been perfectly understood by Buddha's followers at the time. Only now through the eyes of modernity do we take these accounts as literal.
I think it's the opposite of that. Only now through the eyes of modernity, AKA materialism, do we take these accounts as just metaphorical. Without actual rebirth, the notion of kamma doesn't make sense and one could argue that the whole point of getting enlightenment, becomes pointless. Besides, there is just way too much evidence in the old scriptures to argue that it's just a problem or occurrence of modern interpretation. Literal rebirth is an ancient interpenetration that is embraced by every Buddhist tradition everywhere, for thousands of years.
I don't object to Karma because it is a natural force. I only object to hell realms, heavens and hungry ghosts which I feel were intended to be metaphors for powerful emotional attachment and investigations into human consciousness.

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by sentinel » Wed Oct 09, 2019 9:27 am

DooDoot wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:34 am

Faculty of faith appears to be the Noble Disciple's faith in the Buddha's Awakening (rather than faith of the puthujjana in unverified things).

Hi DD ,

It seems what unverified is something part of the faith faculty .


Regards


https://suttacentral.net/arv16/en/anandajoti

Herein, what is the faculty of faith?

It is the faith he has regarding four things.

Which four?

He has faith in the right view concerning the worldly realms of birth and death,
in refuge in deeds and results,
in all the deeds that I will do, whether good or bad, I will experience the result of that deed,
in he will not do bad deeds, even for the sake of life.
This is said to be faith.
:coffee:

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by seeker242 » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:33 pm

bryozoa wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:04 am
seeker242 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:10 pm
bryozoa wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:52 pm
Oh no not a liar, merely that modern humans misinterpret. If there is one thing I have learnt about the Ancients is that they often encoded advanced astronomical knowledge in mythology. A lot of Buddhist scripture concerning planes of existence, ghosts and devas may relate to investigations into consciousness which would have been perfectly understood by Buddha's followers at the time. Only now through the eyes of modernity do we take these accounts as literal.
I think it's the opposite of that. Only now through the eyes of modernity, AKA materialism, do we take these accounts as just metaphorical. Without actual rebirth, the notion of kamma doesn't make sense and one could argue that the whole point of getting enlightenment, becomes pointless. Besides, there is just way too much evidence in the old scriptures to argue that it's just a problem or occurrence of modern interpretation. Literal rebirth is an ancient interpenetration that is embraced by every Buddhist tradition everywhere, for thousands of years.
I don't object to Karma because it is a natural force. I only object to hell realms, heavens and hungry ghosts which I feel were intended to be metaphors for powerful emotional attachment and investigations into human consciousness.
Unless you reinvent what the Buddha taught about kamma, objecting to hell realms, heavens and hungry ghosts is objecting to kamma because those things are inherent parts of karmic consequences.

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by Srilankaputra » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:41 pm

bryozoa wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:51 pm
I'm actually inspired by many aspects of Buddhist cosmology and eschatology, I just find it difficult to apprehend hell realms as actual places with geographic locations.
Hi,

You can try an experiment. Sit down for meditation and try to pin down where you are. Not just conceptalise about it but really, experientially try to investigate it. Can you pin down a geographic location for your own self or is it a concept/dhamma?
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by Dinsdale » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:43 pm

bryozoa wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:23 pm
While I respect and am exhilarated by Buddhism (particularly Theravada), I am also alienated by the fact that supernatural beings feature so prominently in Buddhist scripture. Surely the sole focus should be on liberation from incurring karmic debt, eschewing every form of superstition as extraneous to that overriding purpose?

I can accept 'hell' and 'hungry ghosts' as metaphors for psychological conditions couched in the colourful vernacular of the time the Buddha lived in, but I cannot accept them as having independent and literal existence.

Is there any chance these terms were used just for illustrating the deleterious effects of attached action?

It is disappointing that notions such as hell which I associate primarily with Abrahamic religion, appear also to be integral to Dharma as well. Contrary to the Dharmic concept of hell being quite unlike its Abrahamic counterpart, I'm certain many Christian theologians would argue that hell is only a temporary state or even non-existent.

Perhaps Sikhism which completely dispenses with any form of hell altogether might deserve more attention as being the most rational religion?
Rebirth, kamma and realms is clearly present in the suttas, and I see little evidence that this stuff was intended metaphorically. Note that in the suttas similes and metaphors are usually clearly signposted, which is not the case with these teachings.

If this stuff is a major problem for you, then you might want to explore Secular Buddhism. https://secularbuddhism.org/what-is-a-s ... y-believe/

Alternatively you could just put it to one side, or mentally file it under "don't know" or "not relevant".

Either way, I wouldn't waste time or energy trying to airbrush this content out of the suttas.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by SDC » Wed Oct 09, 2019 2:51 pm

bryozoa wrote:
Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:04 am
I don't object to Karma because it is a natural force. I only object to hell realms, heavens and hungry ghosts which I feel were intended to be metaphors for powerful emotional attachment and investigations into human consciousness.
I think the issue is that you would prefer a system/method that corresponds with your already established authentic attitude. For instance, you do not want to adopt views that would seemingly undo the work you have done in order to see things in a certain way. Am I correct?

What is your criteria for what is acceptable vs what is not acceptable?

Apologies if you already addressed this.

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