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

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

Post by binocular »

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.
/.../
I swear we had an almost identic topic not long ago.

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

Post by confusedlayman »

weird if they were just metaphors, how buddha and other students talk to other beings in realm who have died on earth? maybe they talk with own imaginations? or if someone did horrible crime so physical death end everything?
Find a tree and practice jhana or dont regret later- Buddha
Something exist, dont exist, both exist and non exist, neither exist nor dont exist .. all these four possibilities are wrong- Nagarjuna
Find a dhamma companion or roam alone like rhinoceros in the wild- Buddha
If you are not happy even after following 8NP then you are doing it wrong- CL (confused layman)

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

Post by salayatananirodha »

the buddha and other ardent meditators have transcended human perception and can see beings outside that limitation (not all ardent meditators can, however, and i dont know why). it's much like a 2-dimensional being learning to see beings in 3 dimensions. don't forget we are cousins to apes and what we think about the world is dependent on sense-contact. here is an example of a lay follower literally dying and literally coming to visit the buddha as a deva http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts ... rn.pts.htm and here is the buddha teaching his son ven rāhula in a secluded area in the presence of literal devas http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts ... rn.pts.htm
these are just a couple of examples that come to mind for me that i couldn't quite explain away
anyway, if you come into a better understanding of the law of dependent arising you might put away your skepticism with regard to non-human and non-animal realms http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... ev-1-0.pdf
i may not have a good enough ability to teach what i understand to be true (with or without direct knowledge) but it's important for me to try, from my heart
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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

Post by salayatananirodha »

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:23 pm

https://suttacentral.net/sn32.57/en/sujato
“Sir, what is the cause, what is the reason why sometimes it rains?”

“Mendicant, there are what are called gods of the rainy clouds.
Sometimes they think:
‘Why don’t we revel in our own kind of enjoyment?’ Then, in accordance with their wish, it becomes rainy. This is the cause, this is the reason why sometimes it rains.”
Gods of the Rainy Clouds.??? Oh gawd! What superstitious nonsense! Much of the suttas mention of devas and gods may be correct, but Gods Of The Rainy Clouds, no I don't think so.
Clouds are condensed water vapor. They rain when the moisture content saturates the air, small suspended droplets combine, and it starts to fall out.
I have no doubt that myths and foolish superstitions got into the suttas somehow. The Buddha might not have said them, they may have been added later when the suttas were rewritten or completely invented, as we know some were.
all of this about clouds might be true, but it still doesn't speak to unknown or unseen influencing or causal factors. is it so farfetched that a deva can control weather to some degree when humans can apparently do the same [global warming]?
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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

Post by salayatananirodha »

bryozoa wrote:
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.
ok, but all that a birth as a human is is a continual experience of consciousness. it so happens that the human body in contact with the world is roughly a mixture of pleasure and pain. the deva body is mostly pleasure and the hell or ghost body is mostly pain. is it because the concepts sort of exist in other traditions that you're skeptical or is it just because you can't see these things? there isn't a worthwhile competing theory of causality with regard to birth -- even if it were true that each individual is born one time how did it come to be, why do we have different states of mind?
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

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

Post by auto »

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:23 pm

https://suttacentral.net/sn32.57/en/sujato
“Sir, what is the cause, what is the reason why sometimes it rains?”

“Mendicant, there are what are called gods of the rainy clouds.
Sometimes they think:
‘Why don’t we revel in our own kind of enjoyment?’ Then, in accordance with their wish, it becomes rainy. This is the cause, this is the reason why sometimes it rains.”
Gods of the Rainy Clouds.??? Oh gawd! What superstitious nonsense! Much of the suttas mention of devas and gods may be correct, but Gods Of The Rainy Clouds, no I don't think so.
Clouds are condensed water vapor. They rain when the moisture content saturates the air, small suspended droplets combine, and it starts to fall out.
I have no doubt that myths and foolish superstitions got into the suttas somehow. The Buddha might not have said them, they may have been added later when the suttas were rewritten or completely invented, as we know some were.
..
https://suttacentral.net/an5.197/en/sujato wrote: “Mendicants, there are these five obstacles to rain, which the forecasters don’t know, and which their vision does not traverse.“Pañcime, bhikkhave, vassassa antarāyā, yaṃ nemittā na jānanti, yattha nemittānaṃ cakkhu na kamati.What five?Katame pañca?

In the upper atmosphere the fire element flares up,Upari, bhikkhave, ākāse tejodhātu pakuppati.which disperses the clouds.Tena uppannā meghā paṭivigacchanti.This is the first obstacle to rain, which the forecasters don’t know, and which their vision does not traverse.Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, paṭhamo vassassa antarāyo, yaṃ nemittā na jānanti, yattha nemittānaṃ cakkhu na kamati.

Furthermore, in the upper atmosphere the air element flares up,Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, upari ākāse vāyodhātu pakuppati.which disperses the clouds.Tena uppannā meghā paṭivigacchanti.This is the second obstacle to rain …Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, dutiyo vassassa antarāyo, yaṃ nemittā na jānanti, yattha nemittānaṃ cakkhu na kamati.
hmm,
Furthermore, Rāhu, lord of demons, receives water in his hand and tosses it in the ocean.Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, rāhu asurindo pāṇinā udakaṃ sampaṭicchitvā mahāsamudde chaḍḍeti.This is the third obstacle to rain …Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, tatiyo vassassa antarāyo, yaṃ nemittā na jānanti, yattha nemittānaṃ cakkhu na kamati.

Furthermore, the gods of the rain clouds become negligent.Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, vassavalāhakā devā pamattā honti.This is the fourth obstacle to rain …Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, catuttho vassassa antarāyo, yaṃ nemittā na jānanti, yattha nemittānaṃ cakkhu na kamati.

Furthermore, humans become unprincipled.Puna caparaṃ, bhikkhave, manussā adhammikā honti.This is the fifth obstacle to rain, which the forecasters don’t know, and which their vision does not traverse.Ayaṃ, bhikkhave, pañcamo vassassa antarāyo, yaṃ nemittā na jānanti, yattha nemittānaṃ cakkhu na kamati.

These are the five obstacles to rain, which the forecasters don’t know, and which their vision does not traverse.”Ime kho, bhikkhave, pañca vassassa antarāyā, yaṃ nemittā na jānanti, yattha nemittānaṃ cakkhu na kamatī”ti.

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