All Soul’s Day

All posts tagged All Soul’s Day

The Ten Realms of Existence in Buddhism (1): The First Six Lower Realms

Published Nobyembre 8, 2016 by jptan2012

When I wrote the post entitled – IS THERE A FENG SHUI RELEVANCE TO ALL SOULS DAY – I know that this is really the time for me to write about the topic that I have always wanted to write but has withheld from writing it because I’m not sure whether my readers are ready for it and also if it is the right time.

However, in hindsight this is something that I should have written before I even wrote and posted about the article about the Feng Shui relevance of All Souls Day. But having said that, I still believe that everything works and happened on its right time. And maybe it is really meant for me to write this now.

For Christians, when you die you either go to hell or heaven, maybe purgatory. And there you stay forever, that’s the only rebirth you experience. But in Buddhism, it is said that one goes thru reincarnation or rebirth, and there are different realms that you go to, the first six realms which are considered as the lower realm you go through that several times.

What are these SIX LOWER REALMS?

  1. HELL. To put it plainly this is a realm very similar to what Christians believe in. This is where you undergo punishment for your sins. If I’m not mistaken, in the Bible, hell is described as a lake of fire. In Buddhism, the lake of fire is just one part of hell. There are many different stages and parts of a hell. But needless to say in all those parts you go through retribution by a lot of suffering from your offenses in your other lives.
  2. HUNGRY GHOST. This is somewhat akin to hell, only the difference is that some Hungry Ghost still has the capacity to live amongst humans. You undergo suffering and retribution in this realm by feeling that you have a physical body but are unable to touch physical things. One of these things is food. Technically speaking, Hungry Ghosts may be nice or temperamental. They retain characteristics of human in terms of temperament and personality.
  3. ANIMAL. Simply put you are born as an animal, which is seen as a lesser being because of several attachments and inability to fully discern right and wrong. And most animals have a short life span and also are less fortunate than humans.
  4. HUMAN. This is us. If you are human, it is considered that you have enough good karma for you to be born as one. Because humans have the power to right things and learn new things and learn about the dharma (Buddha’s Teachings). But take note that we are still in the lower realm, and we are not in the highest in the lower realm.
  5. ASURA. Asura’ are unseen being that are better off than humans, they still need to learn things and they have their own realm of existence. They can see us, but we cannot see us. It is said that you are born as an Asura if as a human you are very generous but tends to have foul mouth and a bad temper. I guess one example of this is to take the story of Robinhood. Somebody like will be born as an Asura because he did a lot of good things but at the same time he stole things.
  6. HEAVENLY BEINGS. There are so many stages in Heavenly Beings that I will discuss in the future. But as a heavenly being one has some kind of supernatural power, but one has no physical body. A Heavenly Being lives in a place much like what the Bible described. However, as a heavenly being they still need to learn more about the Dharma. Some of the gods and deities of Taoism are considered as Heavenly Beings in Buddhism. In the lowest realm of Heavenly Beings are the Demons, who guard the lower realms like hell. And heavenly beings can be reborn as an Asura or Human or Animal, but their life span is much longer than that of human. Heavenly beings can help protect those in the lower realms like humans. In fact, in the Sutras a lot of the Lord and Yakshas and ‘Demons’ have committed to protect the people who read and carry or own the Medicine Sutra, Diamond Sutra, Earth Store Bodhisattva Sutra, and the Surangama Mantra Amulet.

Everybody in the lower realm undergoes rebirth. One can go up to Heavenly Beings or go down to Hell depending on one’s karma. As long as we don’t achieve Samadhi we will continue to be born in one of these realms.

We only stop samsara (cycle of rebirth) once we have attained Samadhi. And we enter the 4 higher realms. I will discuss that on my next post.

For questions, comments and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

 

Is There A Feng Shui Relevance to All Souls Day?

Published Oktubre 31, 2016 by jptan2012

Ire, Loves Well, obviously the Chinese ‘All Souls Day’ or day of remembering the dead doesn’t happen in November 1, or to be more accurate about it on November 2. All Saints Day / All Souls Day is a big deal for a lot of Filipinos and perhaps Catholics in the world. But is there is Feng Shui significance or relevance to this special day?

For Chinese, especially those who are in the older generation, it is very important that we remember our ancestors or loved ones who passed away, this is taken as a sign of respect but at the same time, it is believed that we should not earn their ire by forgetting about them, or we should earn their approval so that they can help shower blessing upon the living. This is why remembering our loved ones or dead ancestors are important part of the life of a Chinese. In fact, a lot of us have images of our ancestors in our home, where we light incense and offer food on special occasions. The older generation will offer incense everyday. This may be a little too excessive.

In Buddhism, according to the Medicine Buddha Sutra, when a person dies his or her consciousness will undergo rebirth within 7 days or 21 days or 35 days or 49 days. I will clarify that it will go through rebirth on the first day, it will have to wait for 7 days, then if you didn’t go through rebirth on the 7th day then on the 21st day if not then it will be 35th day, until 49th day. If you don’t go through rebirth in the first 5 stipulated days, then you will sure go rebirth on the 49th day.

But rebirth doesn’t necessarily mean rebirth here on earth as human.

There are different levels of possible rebirth and starting from the bottom they are the following:

  1. Hell
  2. Hungry Ghost
  3. Animal Kingdom
  4. Human
  5. Asura
  6. Heavenly Beings
  7. Arhat
  8. Pratyekabuddha
  9. Bodhisattva
  10. Buddhahood

The first six are considered as the lower realms wherein the being still has an attachment and the last four are considered as the upper realm wherein the being or our consciousness no longer has any attachment. Once one is born in the upper realm, his or her consciousness no longer goes back to any of the lower realm.

It should be noted that for Catholics or Christianity, heaven is the ultimate goal, for Buddhism is a better place than the first five but it is still a place where in desire and attachment exist and one can still go down to the other realms. It is also not the most desired realm. I will talk about the 10 realms further in a future post.

I will also discuss the difference between Hungry Ghost and the Hell in another post.

But for now what I want to show is that for Buddhism, one can be born in different realms, until we reach Buddhahood.

So when a person dies, his consciousness or soul as Christians would call it will be born again in one of these realms. As humans 98% we will be born in either the realm of Hell or Hungry Ghost or Animal Kingdom or Human (again). If we have been good we might be born in the realm of an Asura or a Heavenly Beings.

This is where remembering and offering ‘good merits’ to our departed love ones or ancestors will become important. For example, your loved one or ancestor was born in the realm of the Hell or Animal Kingdom or Hungry Ghost, by offering good merits to them such as praying for them or chanting mantras or reciting sutras for them will shortened their suffering in the lower realms of Hell or Hungry Ghost or Animal Kingdom. On the other hand, if they were born in the realm of Human, by offering good merits to them their life will be better. If their current life is bad it will become better, if it is already good it will become even better. And if they were born as an Asura or Heavenly Beings then their life will even become better or they maybe pushed up to being born as Arhat or a Pratyekabuddha.

But this is the thing. Days like ‘All Souls Day’ are important because it forced us to remember them on these days. However, it certainly doesn’t mean that we should only remember them on this day. In fact, it is very important that we offer prayers or mantras or sutras or incense to them everyday. And by remembering them and offering merits to them everyday, we in turn make our life better. Because we are interconnected with each other. They may have a totally different life now but because of affinity with each other we are somewhat linked to each other. And if we send them merits, in a way we also get our own merits.

 

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

Guide Lines In Going To The Cemetery!

Published Oktubre 25, 2016 by jptan2012

cemeteryThe month of November is a double black month in the sense that the #2 Flying Star, which is also known as the Illness Star, a star that causes not only illness but grave accidents is doubled this month in the center. Furthermore, the most dreaded star, the #5 Flying Star or Wu Wang also called as Five Yellow Star is doubled in the Northeast. This affects all the people whose rooms (office / bedroom) are in the northeast, or whose house door or office door faces northeast, but most especially, people born under the year of the Ox and Tiger.

We all know that this means the month of November is going to be bad for those who are affected, as mentioned above, but also we have to be careful about being sick and accidents. This will not happen until November 7, 2016, but since we are going through Halloween, it is best to take precautions.

The cemetery or a columbarium is negative place, it is a place where yin energy rules. So going to the cemetery might not be advisable especially since we are going through a yin month. This is especially true for those born in the year of the Ox and Tiger.

But All Saints Day / All Souls Day is a big deal for a lot of Filipinos. We really have to go to the cemetery to pay our respect to our departed loved ones. So what do we do then?

First, make sure you go there in the morning, and don’t stay until in the evening. Because evening is considered as yin. Then make sure you go there at a time where a lot of people are in the cemetery, because having a lot of people creates a lot of yang energy, so it is better to be around the yang energy while you are at the cemetery. I know some people would like to go there before All Saints Day / All Souls Day so that it will not be too crowded. But it is better to go there while a lot of people are at the cemetery because, as mentioned, you will need the yang energy.

Make sure also you wear your powerful amulets. If you don’t have the Vajrapani Ruel or the Kalachakra pendant or Surangama Mantra Amulet, wear something you really believed in and are powerful and that you are sure will protect you.

 

It is also advisable to wear something bright and happy. Don’t wear black or blue.

On your way to the cemetery alternately chant the mantra of Bodhisattva Vajrapani – OM VAJRAPANI HUM – and OM AH HUM HO HAM KSHAMALA VARAYA HUM PHAT.  Stop only upon entering the site where your loved one is buried. Then first thing you should do is light a candle. Light a red candle if he/she has passed away more than 3 years. Then use yellow if under 3 years.

Also if possible, bring a Mantra Box (a device that plays mantras – see photo) and play it there while you are there. It’s best to play the mantra of Amitabha Buddha – NAMO AMITUOFO – or – OM AMI DEWA HRIH.

mantra box

When leaving for a long period of time get a small mantra box like the one in the picture. Don’t get anythings that’s really fancy such as those with lights, they consume battery energy faster. These are more energy efficient and 2 AA Batteries will last for a longer period of time.

On your way out start chanting the two mantras again and then if possible swing by a temple and light an incense. If you can swing by a temple go and eat at a restaurant before going home.

When you get home, make sure you take off all your clothing and have them wash with a teaspoon of salt. You should also take a salt bath or shower. Remember that it has to be sea salt, rock salt, or pink Himalayan salt.

For questions, comments, and suggestions please email sanaakosirickylee@gmail.com

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