So, partially because it gave me SUCH a laugh last night, and partially because I plan on posting another Christian-focused posted immediately after this one, I thought I’d share some excerpts from the Buddhist Scriptures, namely the descriptions of some of the levels of hell in Buddist reincarnations. Ready or not!
Metal-toothed, huge bodies, blazing fearsome females, embracing him, feed on the one who steals another’s wife.
Those who crush on sight the insects that appear in their midst of their rice are crushed again and again and again by iron pestles there indeed.
Those who steal others’ property again and again feed on red-hot iron balls; they drink molten copper.
These are only a few. Now, there is more to my point than just to provide you an alternative perspective on the ‘punishments’ of a religion on its believers after this life. I find it intriguing about Buddhism that these above examples are actually only the secondary level punishments of the hells, known as the Nirayas. The upper hells, the Eight Great Narakas, are not necessarily higher levels of punishment and suffering. They are repetitive levels of punishment. It is believed that this constant pain and suffering, extended to eons of time and having no ceasing in the sensation of that pain, provide strength to the soul in dhamma, bringing that soul a slight step closer to truly understanding the dhamma, and so achieving enlightenment.
So basically, even the hells have a positive purpose for the souls trapped in the cycle. In the same way, the highest heavens are not really the best places in the world, either. Yes, they are rewarding and a relief vacation from the other levels of reincarnation, but in those heavens you are as a god. You gain a sense of omnipotence, a sense of all-knowing, at least of yourself. You can observe what you have done, and so observe where you are going. By experiencing this level of understanding, you spend the eons in the heavens knowing that its not going to last forever. The peaceful escape from all the woes of the other realms are waiting for you, and the one thing you don’t really know for sure is where you will end up next. The dwelling suspense of this basically ruins the sanctuary you exist in, and humbles you. Again, balancing your soul in preparation of understanding it all, and therefore becoming enlightened and escape the entire cycle all together.
I’ve always found that balance of good comes with bad and bad comes with good that Buddhism seems to emphasize. Even if they put it into the most extreme conceptual realms. I hope you enjoyed these little bits.
COMING SOON! More reasons why I’m not longer Christian! YAY! (I can feel your anticipation… not really)