Existence

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The Ten Realms of Existence in Buddhism (2): The Four Higher Realms

Published Nobyembre 9, 2016 by jptan2012

In the preceding first part of this post, I introduced to you the TEN REALMS OF EXISTENCE IN BUDDHISM and also talked about the SIX LOWER REALMS. Today, I would like to talk to you about the Higher Realms. We should all aspire to reach these realms, although the ultimate goal is that we enter the highest realm. Once one enter into these realms one will no longer go back to the lower realms but again the goal is to reach the highest realm. Once you entered this realm you are considered as enlightened, although not fully enlightened unless you reach the highest level, which is Buddhahood.

The 4 Higher Realms of Existence in Buddhism are the following:

  1. ARHAT. This is the first level of the higher realm. Simply put this is someone who by listening or reading and practicing the Buddha dharma, as extinguishes all defilements and has achieved nirvana. While it may be easier for the Asuras and the Deva (Heavenly Beings) to enter Arhatship, they are a lot of humans who has entered Arhatship also. This is especially true during the time of Sakyamuni Buddha. When an Arhat passes away, their body usually doesn’t decay in the way like most people do.
  2. PRATYEKABUDDHA. Is someone who entered nirvana and has ended samsara. But in Buddhism, there is a time that there will be no Buddha and no Dharma, but if one enters nirvana through meditation this person is considered as a Pratyekabuddha also.
  3. BODHISATTVA. The word is actually a combination of two words. First, Bodhi means awakened or to awaken to the truth. Sattva means sentient beings. In short it means an awakened sentient beings. During the time of Buddha Sakyamuni, it is extremely possible to become a ‘living’ Bodhisattva or to be a human Bodhisattva. To this day, the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa are considered as living Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is strongly characterized by their compassion, loving – kindness, wisdom, great vows, good deeds. A Bodhisattva also has tremendous power to help all sentient beings. Some of the most well known Bodhisattvas are Avalokitesvara (also known as Kuan Yin, Guan Yin, Kuan Shi Yin, Guan Shi Yin, Kannon), Ksitigarbha (also known as Earth Store, Di Zhang Wang) Samantabhadra (also known as Pu Xian), Manjushri (also known as Wun Shu Shi Li), Maitreya (also known as Mi Luo and colloquially called Happy Fat Buddha), Vajrapani (also known as Chin Kang Shou) and who is the Bodhisattva that controls or has power over the Vajrapani Ruel, Mahasthamaprapta (also known as Da Shi Zhi) and a lot more. In Zen Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism, they acknowledge that some people although technically not a Bodhisattva and do not have supernatural powers and still has a body, do manifest the wonderful Bodhisattva traits. At this point, I’m reminded of my reader turned friend BM and Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa. (Incidentally, a saint maybe equivalent to a Bodhisattva).
  4. BUDDHA / BUDDHAHOOD. This is the ultimate goal, and Siddharta Gautama achieved this in human form until he moved on to spiritual form. As a Buddha he is called Sakyamuni Buddha. A Buddha is some who has achieved perfect enlightenment, and one who is has perfect wisdom and perfect compassion. A Buddha is not a God. There are so many Buddhas that existed and still exist before Sakyamuni Buddha, and according to Buddha Sakyamuni the next Buddha is Maitreya Buddha .

 

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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.

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Anger is a Feng Shui Poison…

Published Disyembre 12, 2012 by jptan2012

Being somebody who got quite a temper, believe me when I say that anger is one of the worst poisons that can destroy our luck and/or our good Feng Shui.Anger

In Buddhism, it is said that there are three poisons of existence, and these are IGNORANCE, ATTACHMENT, and ANGER. Shakyamuni Buddha (also speeled as Sakyamuni) said that these three are the root of all sufferings; I must add though that I think anger is the most destructive of all three poisons of existence.

How many of us have experience for anger to cause us a big problem. This may be problem with our boss, with our employee, with a family member or with a partner. Chances are most if not all has experienced this, it may be in varying degree, but I bet most of us in this world has experienced this. Furthermore, anger might also cost us to lose our job, to have a broken family, or for some to have a destroyed future. Just about a week or two ago, there was news on TV that told of a father who beat his daughter and even put her into flame just because he was angry. When asked why did he do that to his daughter, he said he lost control and because he knows that his wife loves their daughter very much, and that when he became really angry he set out to destroy the thing that his wife loves most.

Anger is a very powerful emotion, and it is something that we need to control. It is always easier said than done.

I remember when I was still not really into Buddhism and Feng Shui; I had a fight with my sister because of a small matter. We end up not talking to each other for a year, although we have long forgotten what we fought about, but the anger was still there lingering in our hearts. So you see, I’m sharing this because it also showed that anger is such an irrational emotion that can linger for a long time.

The web is full of different suggestions on how we can deal with anger. Go to the bookstore and there are a lot of books talking about how can one control over their emotions. This post is not about that, I suggest you go to the bookstore and search the web for this helpful suggestions. But whatever you do one thing is pretty obvious, the decision to control anger should come from within us, and should be decided upon with a firm determination. That’s how I started dealing with it. Now, I find myself being able to control over my temper better.

In Buddhism and Feng Shui, there are a lot of things that can help us be calmer and help us control our temper better. Allow me to share some of them here.

PRAYER WHEEL. Just a few days ago, I talked about the Prayer Wheel and how it helped me handle a delicate situation. The post is entitled – THE POWER OF A PRAYER WHEEL: A PERSONAL TESTIMONY. However, a Prayer Wheel because it has a lot of Mantras inside it also has a calming effect with the people around it, or for those who wear one around their neck. Do make a habit of spinning your Prayer Wheel to help activate the mantras inside it

I personally have a hand held, table top, and pendant Prayer Wheel. A Prayer Wheel has a very good calming effect.

I personally have a hand held, table top, and pendant Prayer Wheel. A Prayer Wheel has a very good calming effect.

IMAGE OF KUAN YIN (also spelled as QUAN YIN). The image of Kuan Yin or the Bodhisattva of Compassion, either when displayed at home or worn as a pendant also has a very calming effect. Just simply having the image of the Kuan Yin / Quan Yin will bestow upon us some of the attributes of Kuan Yin. Kuan Yin is the female manifestation of Avalokitesvara.Quan Yin

CHANT A MANTRA. Chanting a mantra also helps a lot in helping us control our temper. Other than its effect of prolonging the reaction, much like when we count one to ten, it also imbibe us with the calming effect of the mantra itself.

The Dreaded Hungry Ghost Month

Published Hulyo 17, 2012 by jptan2012

One of the most famous Chinese festivals, other than Chinese New Year and Moon Cake Festival, is the Hungry Ghost Festival, which also happens to be one of the most dreaded festival and month of the Chinese.

The Hungry Ghost Festival happens on the 15th day of the 7th lunar month, however, unlike the other festivals, like the Chinese New Year wherein the changing of the Flying Stars happens on a specified time and date, the preparation and effect of the Hungry Ghost Month, as the term indicates, lasts for a month. It actually starts on the first day of the 7th lunar month, peaks on the 15th day, which is the Hungry Ghost Festival, and ends on the last day of the 7th lunar month.

Every year, if you follow the Gregorian/Western calendar, the Hungry Ghost Month lands on different dates. Sometimes, it starts in July and ends in August, or starts in August and ends in September. But it always cuts across August of the Gregorian calendar. For this year (2012), the Hungry Ghost Month starts on August 17 and ends on September 15. The peak is on August 30, 2012, which is the date of the Hungry Ghost Festival.

But what is the Hungry Ghost Festival or Hungry Ghost Month?

Hungry Ghost Month is actually simply called Ghost Month (鬼月, Guǐ Yuè) in Chinese, the word Hungry is added in the words Ghost Months to clarify the nature of the ghosts that best characterized this season…they’re HUNGRY!

During this month, it is believed that the King of Hell opens the gate of hell to release and allow the spirits in hell or ghosts to be free and roam our world. It is believed that the hungry ghosts will visit families and other humans, thus it is said that there’d be more paranormal and ghostly manifestation during this month. Furthermore, hungry ghosts will also look for victims that they can bring with them to hell, and thus there’d be more accidents, more than that because of the strong yin and negative energy of this season, business becomes bad and it is highly advisable that one shouldn’t sign any contract, move to a new house, get operated on during the entire Hungry Ghost Month.

Why are they considered hungry?

Buddhism and Taoism both have a slightly different version of the Hungry Ghost. For Buddhism, Hungry Ghost is in one of the Six Realms of Existence, and they are simply a form of existence. However, for Taoism, Hungry Ghosts are (1) spirits of people who have not yet gone through a reincarnation and are largely forgotten by their descendants, (2) spirits of really bad people and they’re currently being punished, (3) spirits of really sad people who died of a violent death or suicide, (4) lost spirits who harbored so much yin energy or yin feelings while they were sill living.

They’re hungry because they are unable to get food from their living love ones because their violent or yin dominant death has blocked their connection with their loved ones, they don’t have any love ones on earth, or simply they have been forgotten. It is said that a deceased love one will have connection with us for a few more years, and depending on how we treat their spirits they may enter the samsara (cycle of life) immediately or go to hell as an hungry ghost. It is also said that ghost still needs sustenance in the other existence, and they get it from us in the form of offerings. These people not receiving any are then thrown into the pit of hell and become hungry ghosts.

Since most of these ghosts lived a negative life or died a violent death, many of them still harbor ill feelings towards their fate, so when they’re released they also try to do us harm. Thus all of us need to be extra careful.

TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT THE HUNGRY GHOST MONTH, HUNGRY GHOSTS, IT’S EFFECTS, RITUALS AND PROTECTION READ THE FOLLOWING HUNGRY GHOSTS SERIES:

YOU MAY WISH TO READ THE FOLLOWING ALSO:

OR YOU CAN CLICK ON THE CATEGORY – KUWENTO TUNGKOL SA HUNGRY GHOST MONTH.

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