On Impossibility of Guiding the Dead to a Better Destination by the Living Kin

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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mikenz66
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Re: On Impossibility of Guiding the Dead to a Better Destination by the Living Kin

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:08 pm

WorldTraveller wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:15 am
But nowadays it is believed that just by transferring merits even a person who lived an unethical life can be redirected to the heavens as brahmins did.
Perhaps some think that. People think all kinds of things! That's not what I was discussing.

As I read them, the sutta I quoted doesn't suggest "transfer of merit", it suggest giving any petas who might be hanging around the opportunity for appreciative joy. I fail to see how that is inconsistent with the Buddha's teachings.

And as far as practitioners such as myself are concerned, the ritual gives me a chance for reflection and mindfulness, much like the ritual of bowing to the Buddha rupa...

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Re: On Impossibility of Guiding the Dead to a Better Destination by the Living Kin

Post by WorldTraveller » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:08 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:08 pm
As I read them, the sutta I quoted doesn't suggest "transfer of merit", it suggest giving any petas who might be hanging around the opportunity for appreciative joy. I fail to see how that is inconsistent with the Buddha's teachings.
Years ago I believed in the Almighty and had one sided communications and interactions with him. But now I believe I was wrong and even laugh at myself. I haven't seen a single preta/ghost in my life. And when considering about pretas having only one reference in early text which also evidently in a doubtful context, and the amount of later text on pretas and their intended purpose, I don't believe we can give anything to pretas. Perhaps OP can enlightened us about when, where, and why actually the idea of pretas created in ancient India.

People claim to see pretas/ghosts/poltergeists but psychologists reasoned those as outcomes of the imagination or the psychological level of the seer. Even Ajahn Mun saw past Buddhas and their disciples to be still living and preaching to him! :D
mikenz66 wrote:
Wed Jun 13, 2018 7:08 pm
And as far as practitioners such as myself are concerned, the ritual gives me a chance for reflection and mindfulness, much like the ritual of bowing to the Buddha rupa...
If a ritual gives someone some benefit, then it's his/her own right to exercise them. But I was talking about interacting with pretas from the view point of Early Buddhism. My personal view is that the mindfulness must be guided by the Right View to be a Right Mindfulness.

:anjali: :smile:
“Kālāmas, do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a canonical tradition, by logical reasoning, by inferential reasoning, by reasoned cogitation, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think: ‘The ascetic is our guru.’”
- Buddha

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mikenz66
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Re: On Impossibility of Guiding the Dead to a Better Destination by the Living Kin

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:27 am

WorldTraveller wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:08 am
If a ritual gives someone some benefit, then it's his/her own right to exercise them. But I was talking about interacting with pretas from the view point of Early Buddhism.
So was I. So it's interesting to point out that the suttas mentioning petas are likely to be late ones, and how the ideas seem to have been borrowed from other traditions is interesting.
But in the context of "Early Buddhism", judgements about whether or not Petas, Devas, and so on exist are not relevant.

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Re: On Impossibility of Guiding the Dead to a Better Destination by the Living Kin

Post by Stillness » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:53 am

WorldTraveller wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:08 am
Perhaps OP can enlightened us about when, where, and why actually the idea of pretas created in ancient India.
Prior to 900 BCE, as far as 1500 BCE, the Vedic ancestral spirits were said to be self sustaining ethereal beings who were bathing in endless sensual pleasures. But they once a while may have listened to the requests of the living kin and provided support for worldly matters such as wars or births of sons (most popular request).

Now this became not enough for the survival of the priests. The solution was the creation of the pretas. In this modified version, the ancestral spirits were stuck in an intermediate state—being unable to travel further up towards the heavens—after the death waiting for a series of complex rituals to be conducted only by specialist priests. The main feature of all these rituals is feeding the priests. If failed the dead said to be stuck as an “angry ghost” in the intermediate state, forever becoming a threat to the living.

The whole preta ideology was a success in the Brahmanical society mainly due to fear of them and secondly the pity. Once the rituals established in the society, dependency (O.C.D.) would have been a sustaining cause too.

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Re: On Impossibility of Guiding the Dead to a Better Destination by the Living Kin

Post by WorldTraveller » Thu Jun 14, 2018 10:50 am

Stillness wrote:
Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:53 am
The solution was the creation of the pretas. In this modified version, the ancestral spirits were stuck in an intermediate state—being unable to travel further up towards the heavens—after the death waiting for a series of complex rituals to be conducted only by specialist priests.
Thank you. :thumbsup:

Oh! That's how bardo or antarabhava came into existence. :rolleye:

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