Pratyekabuddha

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Some Basic Questions About the Hungry Ghosts and the Hungry Ghost Month Answered (2): Are All Spirits of Our Dead Loved Ones that We See Are Hungry Ghosts?

Published Agosto 25, 2017 by jptan2012

In the preceding post, I briefly talked about how it is not a good thing when you continuously see your dead relative after 49 days because chances are they became a hungry ghost.

However, they’re some exceptions to the rule.

In the earlier post, I said that once a person passed away his consciousness (soul/spirit) would reincarnate with 7 or 21 or 35 o 49 days. If they didn’t reincarnate on the 7th day, they will reincarnate on the 21st day, if not then on the 35th day, then again if not they will definitely reincarnate on the 49th day. I also said that they would most likely reincarnate as another human being or animal or even in the hells or hungry ghost. This statement is base on the Buddhist sutras.

An average person will most likely reincarnate as another human being or as animal. But if they’re so bad they might reincarnate in the hells. However, I also seem to notice that there are a number who reincarnate as hungry ghosts also. These are basically the ones that we feel like they’re still in the house continuously taking care of us.

But I also said that they are exceptions to the rule. Our consciousness can also reincarnate as heavenly beings, or as an Asura, or as an Arhat, Pratyekabuddhas, or Bodhisattvas or Buddhas.

In this article, allow me to focus on heavenly beings because this is more plausible than being reincarnated as an Asura or Arhat, or Pratyekabuddha! Much more to reincarnate as a Bodhisattva or Buddha!

In Buddhism, a person with a very good heart can reincarnate as a heavenly being, meaning they are beings that are in the heavens. Depending on the stage of their consciousness, as a heavenly being they may or may not reincarnate back as human beings again. But as heavenly beings, they exist in a cosmic world or another world that we cannot see, but they may see us.

It is possible that some human beings who passed away may reincarnate as a heavenly being. If they do, they can continue to watch over us, but don’t go thinking that most of our dead loved ones will turn out to be an heavenly being because it is quite a difficult ‘path’ to being a heavenly being.

A loved one who became a heavenly being will definitely not be felt in the house. They will not be guarding your house all the time and you will not see or feel them. They will not be walking on your peripheral vision, or still staying in their room. If that is the case they are hungry ghosts.

However, these heavenly beings will definitely watch over us. More than that whenever we feel like problems are overwhelming they will definitely make themselves felt so that they can continue to reassure us or help us feel better. They may also manifest in dreams and lead us to the right path. I would like to make it clear though that they will never appear in our dreams as a sad spirit or even crying one, they will always appear either happy or neutral and they will send signals of what one should do.

Occasionally we may physically see them but almost always as silhouette, but during those times, there will be no fear, and we will most likely have an overwhelming feeling of peace or reassurance especially at times when we have problems.

There are times also that they may appear as a butterfly or as a bird or we may smell them or smell a flower. But in these circumstances we will always get the feeling of peace or reassurance.

To put it simply, if you see the image of your dead relative often like once a year (believe me this is considered often enough) then chances are your relative became a hungry ghost. Thus dedicating to them the merits when you recite a sutra will help them have a better ‘life’.

What are the sure indications that they may have become heavenly beings:

  1. You dream about them only when you are extremely sad or in a very bad situation.
  2. During these dreams they give you a feeling of peace and reassurance that things will become better.
  3. If you see them, you see them in silhouette form and there is no sense of fear only peace, maybe happiness, and reassurance. You
  4. They may manifest as a butterfly, as a bird and again they will appear at that time you’re thinking about them, and you will know that it’s them. Again they only bring a feeling of peace and reassurance.
  5. They only manifest at a time when you need some reassurance or help. They won’t manifest just because you want to.

I dedicate this post to the mother of BM who surely has the manifestation of a heavenly being. Not to mention that it was confirmed by Guru Lama!

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.

 

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

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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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.

 

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