วันพุธที่ 9 มกราคม พ.ศ. 2556

Do hell and heaven really exist ? : V.Vajiramedhi Bhikkhu


Every religions teach to believe first.
But that belief is worthless without wits.

Happiness is Here and Now


  V.Vajiramedhi Bhikkhu

  
Translated by Nopamat Veohong


Do hell and heaven really exist?

Question: Do heaven and hell really exist? If they do, where are they? Are people of other faiths entitled to go to heaven and hell as Buddhists do?

Answer: Do hell and heaven really exist?

Given what appears in the Buddhist Canon (the Tipitaka), the answer is a resounding ‘yes’.

 

Where are they located then?

The realms of heaven and hell should exist in three different dimensions, as follows:

1.Mental state (i.e. our consciousness)

2.Physical state

3.The hereafter

The heaven and hell that exist in one’s mind are in the consciousness of the moment. The state of being happy, glad, joyous,lively, delighted, uplifted or exhilarated is called heaven, as if one were in the metaphysical heaven. Heaven is a desirable mental state, an aspirational state of being.

Conversely, the state of being distressed, frustrated, uneasy, troubled, sorrowful, downcast, miserable, frightened, scared, worried, bitter, hurt and dejected is called hell, Hell is an undesirable mental state, a state deprived of happiness and gratification.

Heaven and hell that manifest themselves to each individual are in the here and now.

 

Heaven and hell can take up physical space along with this life. Any place where bad people are serving penance for their past deeds is Hell. Any place where good people are being rewarded for their past good deeds is Heaven.

Heaven and hell in this dimension can be referenced from a scripture called Dhammapada, which recounts how an arahant called Lakkhana was walking down Mount Gijjhakuta. At the foot of the slope, he saw in his inner eye a hellish creature which was in the agony of being tormented severely, begging for mercy. Back from his alms round, he told the Buddha what he had seen. The Buddha acknowledged his account, saying He Himself had seen something of the sort but He had refrained from telling others because He did not wish to engage Himself in the subsequent arguments that were likely to take place. It would be a futile argument as people who had not seen with their own eyes would not believe it.

From this account, one can draw the conclusion there are heaven and hell that exist along side the physical realm in this life. The problem is that we cannot see these places with the outer eye. Only those who can see with their inner eye know they exist. My suggestion: anyone who wants to see them must develop their preternatural powers to attain this X-ray vision.

 

Heaven and hell in the hereafter are the posthumous state of being for all mortals after they pass on. There are multiple references in the Buddhist canon, such as “Moving on from the death of the body, one passes to heaven or hell…” if hell and heaven did not exist, there would not appear so many such references in the Tipitaka. On the other hand, if heaven and hell did not exish after this life, it would mean that many people who we see commit bad deeds in this life but who prosper with fame, fortune and power will go unpunished by the law of kamma and this will only promt people to do whatever they like according to their whim, without thinking of the consequences.

One’s lifetime is too short to make one see the manifestation of kamma in its entirety in this cosmic immensity of life cycles. Hence, the balance of the good and bad deeds one commits is carried over to the next lives. A case in point can be seen in the story of Queen Samavati.

In one of her past lives, Queen Samavati, wife of king Udena of Kosambi in this life, was the daughter of a rich merchant, One day she went to bathe in the river. When she got out, it was very cold, so she ordered her servants to make a bonfire to warm her. The bonfire spread to a forest fire. In the forest, an itinerant arahant was sitting in meditation and was burned alive in that posture.

When the fire had been put out, the rich man’s daughter saw his burnt corpse and was fearful of the crime that had been done to a holy man. She ordered her servans to start a new fire and burn his charred body all over again to ashes and cinders. Then, she walked home scot free as if it were none of her doing. This kammic fragment (the retribution of which did not catch up with her in that life) was carried over to her current life. In spite of her good kamma that had placed her in a high position as the King’s wife and had placed her close to the Buddha as one of His prominent female followers, she was caught up by this past kamma eventually. One day, an adversary hired somebody to burn down her royal resident and she was burned to death in  the fire.

The company of bhikkhus was saddened and wondered why such a good, noble person should die such a horrible death. The Buddha replied, “Merely seeing her in the current life, one would think she died most undeservedly, but looking back to her former life one can see that she had done all this to herself, dying the death she earned from her horrific deed.”

Most people only have vision of this life and are, thus, nearsighted, seeing life only in the present context of this life—some have done only good deeds, yet they are in a dire condition; some have done horrible deeds, yet they prosper—so an undiscerning assumption concludes that good and bad deeds do not pay. As it is , some are unafraid of kammic consequences and come up with such delusional phrased to fool themselves and others as “where can on e find good deeds that pay off? Everywhere prosperous do-badders abound.” This short-sightedness will bring them so much sorrow once they realise , with the Buddha’s insight, how wrong they are in disbelieving in the existence of heaven and hell and the workings of kamma.

If one accepts the natural existence of heaven and hell as a universal truth, one can rest assured that every person, whatever religion he holds, must , with equal justice and certitude, go to heaven if he does good and to hell if bad.

Like fire that is equally hot for those who believe it to be hot and for those who doubt it, upon touching everyone will feel the same heat. The metaphor that should apply here is of the consistently hot fire, regardless of anyone’s belief or disbelief.


Isbn : 9786162070839

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