Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Mon May 30, 2016 9:48 pm

Aloka wrote:
Khalil Bodhi wrote:
Aloka,

I've found the teachings which point to the possibility of rebirth in the lower realms as a truly valuable contribution to my daily life and practice. Obviously this may not be the case for you but there is no denying it is in the suttas and is of value to a number of lay followers and monastics. Ajahn Achalo just put out a video discussing the skillfulness of belief in becoming that might interest you and others in this thread: https://youtu.be/Xw5dj1Yrt2I

Best wishes,

KB

Khalil Bodhi,

I didn't mention rebirth, and I'm sorry but I don't have time to watch a 50 minute video called " Belief In Rebirth Is Skillful".

What I did mention was speculation about what happens in hell realms - and also I posted quotes about ancient Indian cosmology being absorbed into Buddhism.

Kind regards,

Aloka :anjali:
Aloka,

I'm sorry if my post was confusing but rebirth in the hell realms is just one of the possibilities when you take on the belief in rebirth. Hence my post. I'm not personally a fan of the academic and secularist view that the Lord Buddha simply made use of ancient Indian cosmology and, thus, rebirth is just a cultural accretion. Ven. Thanissaro and others have pointed out in the past that there was no singular or monolithic cosmological worldview in India at the time. If you have the time, I 'd be happy provide you with links to these.

For some of us, it is the speculation, one may even say contemplation, about the length and types of suffering in the hells that helps to keep us on course when our faculties of reason fail us or the carrot just isn't working.

Best wishes,

KB
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robertk
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by robertk » Mon May 30, 2016 11:08 pm

I'm
not personally a fan of the academic and secularist view that the Lord Buddha simply made use of ancient Indian cosmology and, thus, rebirth is just a cultural accretion. Ven. Thanissaro and others have pointed out in the past that there was no singular or monolithic cosmological worldview in India at the time. If you have the time, I 'd be happy provide you with links to these.
:anjali: :anjali:

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Aloka
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Aloka » Mon May 30, 2016 11:46 pm

robertk wrote:I'm
not personally a fan of the academic and secularist view that the Lord Buddha simply made use of ancient Indian cosmology and, thus, rebirth is just a cultural accretion. Ven. Thanissaro and others have pointed out in the past that there was no singular or monolithic cosmological worldview in India at the time. If you have the time, I 'd be happy provide you with links to these.
:anjali: :anjali:

Ok guys, I'm a woman in the minority here, getting the message loud and clear, as always.

I'll stick to my own forum in future.

Bye, :hello:

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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by zengen » Tue May 31, 2016 12:25 am

Aloka, you don't believe hell is a physical place like this world we live in? Buddha taught hell is actually a physical place. Scholars may have different opinion.
There is no meaning to cyclic existence.

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Aloka
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Aloka » Tue May 31, 2016 12:32 am

zengen wrote:Aloka, you don't believe hell is a physical place like this world we live in? Buddha taught hell is actually a physical place. Scholars may have different opinion.
If you read my post carefully, I didn't say I believed or disbelieved in anything at all, yet people are so quick to condemn and make assumptions.

Goodnight.

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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by zengen » Tue May 31, 2016 12:40 am

Aloka wrote:If you read my post carefully, I didn't say I believed or disbelieved in anything at all, yet people are so quick to condemn and make assumptions.
Dear Aloka, no one is condemning anyone. Just good Dhamma discussions :smile:
There is no meaning to cyclic existence.

D1W1
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by D1W1 » Tue May 31, 2016 11:52 am

zengen wrote:
santa100 wrote: ...one thing that's certain is that once one's fallen down to the state of woe, it's exceedingly difficult to go back to the higher realms...
But it's very easy to fall into the hells... :weep:

Looking at our unbelievably long samsaric journey, we have been reborn in all 6 realms. It's also said everyone has become our mother, father, relative, son, daughter and so on. Tears and blood that we have shed while transmigrating & wandering this long, long time - crying & weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing is greater than that of the four great oceans.

Don't think about it too much. You never think you would become a human and have good affinity with the teaching of Buddha. So take this opportunity to do more wholesome deeds

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Katarzyna
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Katarzyna » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:22 am

Hi zengen,
zengen wrote:Most people will not win jackpot, even though they play lottery their entire lives. By the same logic, most beings will have to stay in the lower realms for a very long time.
Sure. Which means that the probability of getting out quickly is low. But your earlier statement that I disagreed with suggested that a lengthy stay was something inevitable and universal, rather than merely probable:

zengen wrote:Well, the rarity of chances of getting out means spending a very long time in the lower realms.

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Aloka
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Aloka » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:12 am

In an earlier post I said:
Aloka wrote:Personally, I think that speculating about hell realms can be the cause of an unnecessary mental hell in the here and now.
and here's a quote from Ajahn Amaro's book "Small Boat, Great Mountain":
Buddhist cosmology and the stories of the suttas always have a historical, a mythical and a psychological element to them.

When we talk about the Buddha under the bodhi tree, we sometimes wonder, “Was it actually that tree? Are we sure that he really sat beside the river Nerañjara near Bodhgaya? How can anyone know it was actually there?” The story goes that perhaps the Buddha did sit under a tree, or a Nepalese prince sat under a tree, and something happened (or stopped happening) somewhere in India a couple of thousand years or so ago.

In other words, there are both historical and mythological aspects to the story.

But the most crucial element is how this maps onto our own psychology. How does this symbolize our experience?
Regarding the first and last sentences of the above quote ...My personal experience is that "hell realms" can be understood and experienced mentally in the here and now, rather than speculated about as being something terrible in another dimension, with people being tortured and prodded with red hot pokers and so on. That's very similar to the Christian hell portrayed in the paintings of the 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch. I'm afraid that just doesn't work for me, I need to relate to this life in the present moment, which is all I have.

Here are some Buddhist interpretations of hell realms, I think the last two are "Hell gardens" near temples in Thailand:

Image


Image


Image


What other people believe is up to them and I wish everyone happiness and good health.


:anjali:
Last edited by Aloka on Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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The Thinker
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by The Thinker » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:33 am

I am more concerned with those hell realms ( realities and thoughts) that we can see in the here and now, this is our experience, our own experience is what I believe the buddha encouraged us to pursue.

Now I turn on the news and this is a cause of suffering for me, I see the news as a Hell realm.

I wake up in what is a relatively peaceful zone where war is not present, many individuals are not so lucky, they may wake up in one of many Hell realms( war Zones) on this planet, Those people when taken away from those Hell realms, may feel that they are in heaven, away from death,killing,bombs etc, and a peace of mind not known previous may be born or reborn. Upon reflection of their new found heaven, their eyes may swell with tears for those left behind in those hell realms, and understand that those friends and family may never see or witness heaven in this existence.

A man/women have worked hard all their life, they suddenly find themselves out of work and struggling to pay debt and bills and even difficulty feeding themselves, holidays seem out of the question, suddenly they have been driven into another sort of hell realm.

My interest is understanding the suffering, and finding ways out of suffering, this I believe is what the Buddha delivered, the mythical, which I can't grasp through my own pre-conditioning offers me much confusion, I believe many of us in the UK struggle with these teachings, luckily for us Ajahn Chah in particular and then his students rescued us from abandoning the teachings, with observations of their own experiences in the more modern age.

I do not wish to cast doubt on the teachings , but merely explain my own confusion, your beliefs are honourable, we share the four truths, let this be our guide and our everlasting bond of peace and friendships. :namaste:
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by zengen » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:02 pm

Aloka wrote: ...My personal experience is that "hell realms" can be understood and experienced mentally in the here and now, rather than speculated about as being something terrible in another dimension, with people being tortured and prodded with red hot pokers and so on.
Dear Aloka, with all due respect, I must point out that the description of the sufferings in hell are not mere speculation, but are explicitly stated in the Sutta. The Sutta also leaves no room for interpretation. The Buddha described the hell realms as he saw them with his Divine Eye.

:anjali:
TonyConrad wrote: My understanding of the length one would be in hell comes from this sutta whereby one is killed many times, but doesn't leave the hell realm until one's karma is spent.

There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted.

Here's the full sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
There is no meaning to cyclic existence.

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Aloka
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Aloka » Wed Jun 01, 2016 9:57 pm

zengen wrote:
Dear Aloka, with all due respect, I must point out that the description of the sufferings in hell are not mere speculation, but are explicitly stated in the Sutta. The Sutta also leaves no room for interpretation. The Buddha described the hell realms as he saw them with his Divine Eye.

:anjali:
TonyConrad wrote: My understanding of the length one would be in hell comes from this sutta whereby one is killed many times, but doesn't leave the hell realm until one's karma is spent.

There he feels painful, racking, piercing feelings, yet he does not die as long as his evil kamma is not exhausted.

Here's the full sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

OK...so after you are dead, zengen, please can you explain how "you" will get another body which will be tortured in a hell realm? How does that fit in with anatta?... and where is the hell realm located ?

Thanks.

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Nicolas
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Nicolas » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:11 pm

Discussion about the non-existence of hell realms doesn't belong in this section of the forum, but in Fringe Theravāda Discussion.
To all those questioning hells etc., I recommend reading the suttas.

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Aloka
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Aloka » Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:30 pm

Nicolas wrote:Discussion about the non-existence of hell realms doesn't belong in this section of the forum, but in Fringe Theravāda Discussion.
Yes, you're right, because this topic was cross posted from 'Open Dharma' at the sister forum.
To all those questioning hells etc., I recommend reading the suttas.
I do read the suttas thanks - and what I've been sayng is that hells can exist mentally in my own experience, not that they don't exist at all.

I was also told by a Tibetan teacher a number of years ago that other realms can be interpreted as mental states .

.

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robertk
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by robertk » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:40 pm

Aloka wrote:
zengen wrote:

My understanding of the length one would be in hell comes from this sutta whereby one is killed many times, but doesn't leave the hell


OK...so after you are dead, zengen, please can you explain how "you" will get another body which will be tortured in a hell realm? How does that fit in with anatta?... and where is the hell realm located ?

Thanks.
they remain in hell until the kamma that sent them there is used up.
it fits fine with anatta. In fact even now in the human realm we die and are reborn countless times, khanikamarana.

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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by zengen » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:27 am

Aloka wrote: OK...so after you are dead, zengen, please can you explain how "you" will get another body which will be tortured in a hell realm?
Buddha said that unless we attain the enlightenment of an Arahant, we will continue to be reborn in the six realms. The hell realm is one of the possible realms where we can take rebirth.
Aloka wrote: How does that fit in with anatta?...
Not sure how to answer this. But anatta does not mean there is nothing after death.
Aloka wrote: and where is the hell realm located ?
The hell realms can be seen by some of those that practice the Dhamma.

Quote from Ajahn Maha Bua:
...as I turned my attention to investigating my past lives, it was terrifying to think how many times I had been born and how many times I had died; how many times I was reborn in hell; and how many times in the heavens and the Brahma realms, only to fall back into hell again. It appeared as though the citta was climbing up and down a flight of stairs.But the citta itself never dies. Do you understand this?

The citta never dies. Kamma is buried there in the citta. Good kamma leads the citta upward to the heavens and the Brahma realms. Then, when the good kamma is exhausted, the bad kamma that has lain buried pulls the citta down into the realms of hell. It is as if the citta were climbing up and down a flight of stairs. Do you understand? This is the way it is, so wake up and take notice...
There is no meaning to cyclic existence.

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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Katarzyna » Thu Jun 02, 2016 1:53 am

Hi zengen,
zengen wrote:Dear Aloka, with all due respect, I must point out that the description of the sufferings in hell are not mere speculation, but are explicitly stated in the Sutta. The Sutta also leaves no room for interpretation. The Buddha described the hell realms as he saw them with his Divine Eye.

Did you not read the quotations from Gombrich and Gethin that were posted by Aloka?

The argument that in the Suttas the Buddha is reported to have credited his divine eye for his knowledge of the features of other realms may be persuasive to those who view the Sutta Pitaka as a flawlessly transmitted verbatim record of the the Buddha’s teachings (like the Buddhists of Myanmar commonly do). But you can’t expect it to have so much weight for those who hold to the modern scholarly consensus that the Pitaka is a collection that evolved over time, with its contents being determined in part by outside cultural influences.

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mikenz66
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Jun 02, 2016 4:34 am

Of course, it's fine to have different interpretations of rebirth. However, we have a whole thread for that: the great rebirth debate.

Zengen asked some specific questions about how to interpret the timescales discussed in the suttas (and commentaries). Please stick to answering those questions.

:anjali:
Mike

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Aloka
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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by Aloka » Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:31 am

zengen wrote: Buddha said that unless we attain the enlightenment of an Arahant, we will continue to be reborn in the six realms.
To avoid any confusion, Zengen, having six realms is a Tibetan Buddhist teaching.

http://www.buddhanet.net/wheel2.htm

In Theravada there are thirty one realms:

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


.

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Re: Lifespan of beings in the hell realm

Post by The Thinker » Thu Jun 02, 2016 7:02 am

One murderer never made the hell realm , he became upon hearing the Buddhas words an instant arahant, I forget the sutta will search and post later.

So there is no time limit or lifespan based upon this sutta.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; Angulimala sutta
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