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

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

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:07 am

bryozoa wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:37 am
Perhaps it would more appropriate to say that, 'I don't think Buddhism needs supernaturalism in any form'. This stems from my own scepticism of the supernatural.
In which case, it is a projection, isn't it? What doesn't need the supernaturalism is you.

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

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:17 am

bryozoa wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:37 am
Thank you for all the replies. I've read through them carefully and will do so again.
I don't recall posting anything supernatural in my reply. I can post more scriptures about "devas" and "heavens" that pertain to psychology. Regards :smile:
“Living with Brahmā are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. Living with the early devas are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. Living with the early teachers are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. Living with those worthy of adoration are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. ‘Brahmā,’ bhikkhus, is a term for mother and father. ‘Early devas’ and ‘early teachers’ and ‘those worthy of veneration’ are terms for mother and father. For what reason? Because mother and father are very helpful to their children, they take care of them and bring them up and teach them about the world.”

Mother and father are called
“Brahmā,”
“early teachers”
And “worthy of veneration,”
Being compassionate towards
Their family of children.

https://suttacentral.net/iti106/en/ireland
“Householders, there are these four ways of living together. What four? A wretch lives together with a wretch; a wretch lives together with a female deva; a deva lives together with a wretch; a deva lives together with a female deva.

https://suttacentral.net/an4.53/en/bodhi
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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seeker242
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by seeker242 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:45 am

bryozoa wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:23 pm
Is there any chance these terms were used just for illustrating the deleterious effects of attached action?
Zero chance that the Buddha was a liar about such things.

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

Post by DooDoot » Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:50 am

seeker242 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:45 am
Zero chance that the Buddha was a liar about such things.
The Commentaries appear to say a Buddha does not lie because it is not Him interpreting the words He uses.
The Awakened One, best of speakers, Spoke two kinds of truths: The conventional and the ultimate. A third truth does not obtain. Therein:

The speech wherewith the world converses is true, on account of its being agreed upon by the world. The speech which describes what is ultimate is also true, characterizing dhammas as they really are.

Therefore, being skilled in common usage, False speech does not arise in the Teacher, Who is Lord of the World, When he speaks according to conventions.

Mn. i. 95
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

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

Post by bryozoa » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:00 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:54 pm
The Planes of Existence

Scattered throughout the suttas are references to as many as thirty-one distinct "planes" or "realms" of existence into which beings can be reborn during their long wandering through samsara.
Can we be certain that the Buddha intended these realms to be understood as actual places or rather just as emotional and mental states that a person is constantly reborn in every second?
Last edited by bryozoa on Tue Oct 08, 2019 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by bryozoa » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:21 pm

cappuccino wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:48 pm
Existence in every realm is temporary; in Buddhist cosmology there is no eternal heaven or hell. Beings are born into a particular realm according to their past kamma. When they pass away, they take rebirth once again elsewhere according to the quality of their kamma: wholesome actions bring about a favorable rebirth, while unwholesome actions lead to an unfavorable one. And so the wearisome cycle continues.

The Planes of Existence
I've always adhered to the idea that there is only one universe governed by immutable natural laws, karma being one such law and quite probably the law from which all others are derived.

Hell realms for me are reflections of powerful emotional attachments. The Buddha probably knew this better than anyone but may have been limited by the culture and vocabulary of the time which was still partially hampered by superstitious terminology?

if there is an underlying substratum of reality it is to be found in consciousness itself and not any specific external location.
Last edited by bryozoa on Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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

Post by cappuccino » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:22 pm

The Five Spiritual Faculties
1. Faith
2. Vigor
3. Mindfulness
4. Concentration
5. Wisdom

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

Post by bryozoa » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:51 pm

Nwad wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:47 am
Iam pretty sure they exist and protect some of us, and the recollection of the cosmology gives me energy and cleanliness of mind because it opens the mind wider...
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.
Nwad wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:47 am
If there is no cosmology, there is no kamma law,
As Karma is an incontrovertible natural law I wouldn't have thought it dependant upon the wider cosmology? Christmas Humphrey wonderfully described Karma as 'Newton's third law of motion, that Action and Reaction are equal and opposite, applied to the moral and all other realms of sentient life'.

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anthbrown84
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by anthbrown84 » Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:56 pm

If ghosts and devas etc pose such an issue, then fine, for me its clear an obvious why they are mentioned, because it's part and parcel of The Truth.

But yeh, some people, mainly westerners (I am a westerners but I'm blessed with actually KNOWING these things are ARE real through my own experience) dont believe in them. So if that's the case, then so what, just go with what you experience, trust there may be more to reality and then practise The Dhamma in line with The Suttas.

Relax and enjoy the ride, we have a fully awakened Buddhas teachings to investigate and integrate into our lives, what a blessing! Ghosts or not, who cares... :)

I can say one thing for sure, having been blessed with this knowledge for myself, it makes very little difference to Dhamma practise, its comforting and at the same time scary, but stream entry gets rid of the chance of it being scary anyway... so practise in line with The Suttas :)
"Your job in practise is to know the difference between the heart and the activity of the heart, that is it, it is that simple" Ajahn Tate

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

Post by bryozoa » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:08 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:07 am
bryozoa wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 10:37 am
Perhaps it would more appropriate to say that, 'I don't think Buddhism needs supernaturalism in any form'. This stems from my own scepticism of the supernatural.
In which case, it is a projection, isn't it? What doesn't need the supernaturalism is you.
I'm highly sceptical and dubious of supernatural claims. It is those making the claims who should be investigated for neurological disorders and not the details of the reports themselves. There might even be a connection between psychosis and purported supernatural encounters.

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

Post by cappuccino » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:12 pm

skeptics were criticized by early Buddhists

they were called eel wrigglers

wriggle
verb
avoid (something) by devious means.

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

Post by bryozoa » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:30 pm

anthbrown84 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:56 pm
If ghosts and devas etc pose such an issue, then fine, for me its clear an obvious why they are mentioned, because it's part and parcel of The Truth.

But yeh, some people, mainly westerners (I am a westerners but I'm blessed with actually KNOWING these things are ARE real through my own experience) dont believe in them. So if that's the case, then so what, just go with what you experience, trust there may be more to reality and then practise The Dhamma in line with The Suttas.

Relax and enjoy the ride, we have a fully awakened Buddhas teachings to investigate and integrate into our lives, what a blessing! Ghosts or not, who cares... :)

I can say one thing for sure, having been blessed with this knowledge for myself, it makes very little difference to Dhamma practise, its comforting and at the same time scary, but stream entry gets rid of the chance of it being scary anyway... so practise in line with The Suttas :)
The language the Buddha used was coloured by cultural terms which now seem irrational and outmoded, although the context and meaning was axiomatic to the Buddha's audience. I have an instinct that Buddhism was a highly developed all encompassing ethical proto-science which could only express itself through Vedic and Śramaṇa traditions available to it, effectively reforming them in the process. The only limitation of the Dhamma is when it was conceived and it would always be limited by the human constructed language that acts as a medium for it. This may be why the Buddha maintained a noble silence on some matters?

Quite possibly if a Buddha was alive today and the Dhamma reconstituted then phrases such as 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts' would be obsolete and replaced with metaphors drawn from modern science and the scientific paradigm would itself be transformed putting it on an enhanced moral footing.
Last edited by bryozoa on Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:56 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:32 pm

Devas, hell realms, etc., are natural, not supernatural. The mystic powers to see these realms are supernormal, not supernatural. There are some monks still who have allegedly attained such powers, but they tend not to talk about them.

Secular Buddhists try to present the teachings without these teachings, but it is not the real teaching of the Buddha. It is a watered-down teaching for the modern man.

Discourses like the Mahāsīhanāda Suttaṃ outline the special powers that the Buddha had, and the dangers of dismissing them. It is best to put aside for now what you're not able to accept, and work diligently with what you can. The Four Noble Truths, morality, concentration, and wisdom, etc. If you develop deep enough concentration you may experience things that will change your view about the other realms of existence. If you hesitate to practise seriously due to doubts, you will not make much progress.

Doubt is a hindrance to concentration and insight.
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sentinel
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Re: Would Buddhism be better witbout 'devas', 'hell realms' and 'hungry ghosts'?

Post by sentinel » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:00 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:32 pm

Secular Buddhists try to present the teachings without these teachings, but it is not the real teaching of the Buddha. It is a watered-down teaching for the modern man.
:thumbsup:
:coffee:

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

Post by bryozoa » Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:52 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:45 am
bryozoa wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 10:23 pm
Is there any chance these terms were used just for illustrating the deleterious effects of attached action?
Zero chance that the Buddha was a liar about such things.
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.

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