Lower Realms

All posts tagged Lower Realms

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

 

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Recite A Sutra (6): Why Do We Have Loudly Recite Sutras?

Published Hulyo 4, 2016 by jptan2012

One of the most common question people ask me is as to why do we need to recite sutras loudly? And is silently reciting it will not have any effect?

First, the Buddha or Shakyamuni (also spelled as Sakyamuni) Buddha himself said that merely having a sutra around us would already have some effect. Or simply holding a sutra will already give us some blessing; so silently reciting it will definitely have some merits that may translate to wonderful blessings.

But why do Buddhist monks encourage us to chant it loudly or with voice? The truth is I myself believe in loudly reciting the sutra. And by loudly I don’t mean that we have to recite it at the top of our voice, but we don’t murmur either, it has to be recited with voice and as comfortably loud as possible. The key word here is comfortable. I believe in this because it is what my Guru Lama told me to do, and as my study about Buddhism went deeper I began to see the merit in loudly reciting the sutra, and I also saw that it is what the Buddha himself taught us to do, and it is what the Buddha also did when He still has a physical body.

But again why do we have to do it?

Buddhists believe in unseen entities and hungry ghosts. These unseen beings may be former humans or other spirit beings. They are simply around us, even though we don’t see and feel them. However, they may see or feel us.

We recite the sutra loudly primary because of them. Some of these beings lives in a lower realm, and they might not be able to access sutras. By loudly reciting a sutra they get to ‘hear’ the sutra and learn more about Buddhism. We even bless them simply by loudly reciting a sutra. And by blessing them we also get to gain more merits. And by continue reciting the sutra loudly, we might even help these beings get reborn in a better realm, and if we become that channel we will also gain bigger merits.

Furthermore, by loudly reciting the sutras, we vocally utter the very words of the Buddha, and even if it has been translated to English or any other language, there are still some degrees that those are the very words of the Buddha some 2,500 to 3,000 years ago. And simply doing that Heavenly Beings gets attracted by those words and listen to us, thus they hover over us and they also become instruments in giving us more blessings. They will ‘conspire’ to do what is best for us.

The above two reasons are what the Buddha Himself said in His sutras. So you see, whether we recite it loudly for heavenly beings to ‘bless’ us, or we recite it loudly to help bless those in the lower realms, at the end either of the two we still get blessed!

I know that when reciting the sutras, some people find it quite weird, because it is like reading a storybook. In a way it is because we get to read the real stories of what happened before and what the Buddha directly taught His disciples. But that’s the beauty of it, because we get to ‘witness’ thru reading the Buddha’s ways.

One reason I started this ‘Recite A Sutra’ series is because I believe you, as a reader will get a lot of blessings if we simply recite a sutra. The blessings that we get in reciting a sutra may vary from wealth luck to financial luck or money luck, or from family luck to descendant luck. The protection luck that we get is also enormous, regardless of the sutra that we recite.

But of course it is very important that we treat the sutra, no matter if the printing is bad, as a very holy object that it is.

You can read all the other post about the ‘Recite A Sutra’ Series:

  1. Invite Wonderful Blessings in Your Life by Reciting A Sutra!
  2. Recite A Sutra (1): Create Harmony and Peace Thru The Powerful Sutra Called ‘The Heart of Prajna Paramita Sutra’!
  3. Recite A Sutra (2): Get Healed or Good Health, Create An Aura of Protection, Attract Wealth, With the Power of ‘The Medicine Buddha Sutra’!
  4. Recite A Sutra (3): For Protection & Unlimited Blessings of Auspiciousness Recite One of the Most Powerful & Highly Revered Sutra Both in Tibetan & Chinese Buddhism Called ‘The Diamond of Perfect Wisdom Sutra’!
  5. Recite A Sutra (4): Attract Auspiciousness and Cure Bad Feng Shui with “The Noble Stack of Auspiciousness Sutra”.
  6. Recite A Sutra (5): In Times of Conflict Recite the Powerful Protector Sutra Called “The Golden Light Sutra”!

 

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

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