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Thread: Do you believe in other realms?

  1. #1

    Do you believe in other realms?

    I was looking at this article about the Mahayana/Vajrayana Wheel of Life and the six "realms" from the Learn Religions website:

    https://www.learnreligions.com/the-w...f-life-4123213

    However, there are said to be thirty one planes of existence in Theravada Buddhism:

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/...agga/loka.html

    What are your thoughts about all of this? Do you believe in other realms yourself?


  2. #2
    Forums Member dwlemen's Avatar
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    Hey Aloka! Hopefully not to offend anyone, but I do not believe any any of the "other realms" mythology (well, except for Animals). To me it's remnants of older religions.

    Peace,

    -Dave

  3. #3
    Technical Administrator woodscooter's Avatar
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    I'm with you, Dave. I don't believe in other realms of existence.

    I don't want a belief system to tell me what I have to believe in. I think that one of the finest aspects of Buddhism is the principle that the validity of the teachings is "visible here and now, immediate, inviting inspection, leading onwards, to be experienced by the observant for themselves" 1.

    It is transparent. See for yourself, experience it for yourself.

    To me, details of other realms with other kinds of being in them are pure fiction. No-one has been there to bring back the descriptions. There's no way I'm going to experience those realms in my own consciousness, without deluding myself.

    There is a point of view which holds that these "other realms" are metaphorical descriptions of mental states we can reach in this present lifetime. I don't really think that theory holds water. We can change our mental state in the time it takes to snap a finger, if our attention is grabbed by something else. Yet part of the description of lower realms is that the inhabitants are in need of liberation. They don't flit from one realm to another. The higher realms are only accessible under defined circumstances. It doesn't sound to me very much like the way the mind operates.

    I'll stick with the simpler stuff. The other realms stuff sounds too decorative to me.

    Footnote: 1. Quote translated from part of the "Iti pi so", recollection of the Triple Gem.
    Svākkhāto bhagavatā dhammo, Sandiṭṭhiko akāliko ehipassiko, Opanayiko paccattaṁ veditabbo viññūhīti.

  4. #4
    Global Moderator KathyLauren's Avatar
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    I am agnostic/skeptical about other realms as literal places. Probably not.

    But I think they are very much real as psychological states. The human realm and the animal realm share the same physical space, so there is no reason why the other realms might not also. Which means that it is the psychological characteristics of the inhabitants, not their locations which matter.

    We all know people who fit the descriptions of gods, demigods, hungry ghosts and hell beings. We may even remember having spent time in those states ourselves.

    Om mani padme hum
    Kathy

  5. #5
    Global Moderator Esho's Avatar
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    Is difficult to believe in other realms as physical locations... but who knows?

    I think that they are mental states or personalities as the article says. Nothing more than that.


  6. #6
    Forums Member mjaviem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodscooter View Post
    ...
    We can change our mental state in the time it takes to snap a finger, if our attention is grabbed by something else. Yet part of the description of lower realms is that the inhabitants are in need of liberation. They don't flit from one realm to another. The higher realms are only accessible under defined circumstances. It doesn't sound to me very much like the way the mind operates.
    ...[/I]
    Though I think some people who commit suicide lived in a "place" from where they couldn't escape. That terrible place, where only by dying seems to be a relief, sounds to me like an inescapable hell.

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    Not to be a pest, but why even care. It is never about belief. Belief only exist in the mind that made it. Therefore not a universal reality.
    There are only 3 universal realities that matter. Change, the underlying stress of it all, and that nothing in its original state is personal.

    Better to spend time investigating what makes everything so personal. Do that and you will be able to answer your own question.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    Not to be a pest, but why even care. It is never about belief. Belief only exist in the mind that made it. Therefore not a universal reality.
    There are only 3 universal realities that matter. Change, the underlying stress of it all, and that nothing in its original state is personal.

    Better to spend time investigating what makes everything so personal. Do that and you will be able to answer your own question.

    Irrelevant waffle! My topic is quite simply: "Do you (Miles) believe in other realms?"



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    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    Irrelevant waffle! My topic is quite simply: "Do you (Miles) believe in other realms?"


    Mind makes the world. What a person thinks is all there is. There is no proof of anything beyond thinking.
    For that reason only spend time thinking about what can be known... in this case, Dhamma. Only let the mind think about Dhamma. Don't let the mind make up anything because the mind will come to "believe" it. Guard the mind from everything not directly experienced. Trust only knowing. And in that, trust only Dhamma.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    Mind makes the world. What a person thinks is all there is. There is no proof of anything beyond thinking.
    For that reason only spend time thinking about what can be known... in this case, Dhamma. Only let the mind think about Dhamma. Don't let the mind make up anything because the mind will come to "believe" it. Guard the mind from everything not directly experienced. Trust only knowing. And in that, trust only Dhamma.
    If you don't want to answer topic questions, Miles, don't be tempted to keep trying to give instructions about the mind on the end of the threads here instead, please, because its unnecessary.

    ..........

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