The Works of Philip Kaveny
Take your place on the Great Mandela
Reflections by Philip Kaveny
We are we reborn as part of the eternal cycle of Samsara which is an integral part of our study of Buddhism. As I understand it drawing from on our lectures readings and group discussions and my use of open internet sources; I contend that In Buddhist teaching, the reason Samara exists is that people fixate on themselves and their experiences and desires. It comes from ignorance and it causes a state of suffering and dissatisfaction. Samaras in Buddhism can be overcome by following the Buddhist path and accumulating good karma, and dissipating, bad karma earned through ones actions, and meditation during ones lifetimes.
Essentially, the Buddha teaches us that life on earth is filled with sorrow and pain, and, suffering, yet there is an end to it. In Buddhism this cycle seems to be eternal in origin, but not necessarily eternal in duration. Yet we learn in our studies of Buddhism as exemplified by his life and teachings and promises that this cycle of seemingly eternal rebirth and continued suffering can be ended as promised by the Buddha. That is to say his promise an end to suffering, though the origin of suffering is eternal Briefly here are the six realms of Samara in two groups of three which represent one progression on the karmic wheel which are in a sense this result of one’s progressive or regressive rebirth into one of the six different realms of the Buddhist cosmology. https://buddhists.org/buddhist-symbols/samsara-in-Buddhism/. Drawing from multiple sources, one might make the following observation.
The gods live in the apparently the highest realms in the best circumstances which is achieved through the accumulation of good karma through successive incarnations. Yet one may imagine that as their existence continues they are still not free from attachment and suffering, Perhaps they are like mortals who live in a gated community with high tech security infrastructure and all the right people yet still they have attachment and desire, to that realm of existence because all changes and nothing remains the same, this realm might be thought as a holding place that one might wait before making the ultimate step, through eight fold path to nirvana and total loss of self
The Buddhist formulation of Demi-gods realm makes me think of the existence of the Greek, Hellenic Roman and Norse gods, in marked contrast to that of the Judeo-Christian mono-theistic deity who is represented as eternal and beyond human sensuality and needing nothing . If one assumes consciousness awareness of the Demi-gods it would appear impermanent and surely not beyond suffering and desire, always competing with each other in their own realm, and yet always envying the gods it is just one step up from mortal since these to realms are less accessible perhaps one might say one would be one step up from mortal, and one step down from god. I cannot think of specific actions that would lead to arrival into a specific realm but it would probably have something to do with the effectiveness with which one followed the eight fold path in whatever realm one occupied, and the accumulation of good or bad karma
The human realm is where all the action is, and it is the one where the Buddha is most accessible to at least us non- Buddhist westerners and is also the area in which the Buddha enunciated the axioms that came to be known, or evolved into Buddhist doctrine. Which are summarized as follows they are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering and Buddhist Right understanding: Understanding that the Four Noble Truths are noble and true. Right thought: Determining and resolving to practice Buddhist faith. Right speech: Avoiding slander, gossip, lying, and all forms of untrue and abusive speech. Right conduct: Adhering to the idea of nonviolence (ahimsa), as well as refraining from any form of stealing or sexual impropriety. Right means of making a living: Not slaughtering animals or working at jobs that force you to violate others. Right mental attitude or effort: Avoiding negative thoughts and emotions, such as anger and jealousy. Right mindfulness: Having a clear sense of one’s mental state and bodily health and feelings. Right concentration: Using meditation to reach the highest level of enlightenment.
The animal realm is quite interesting given the Buddhist formulation about the rarest of human intelligence as exemplified and the recurring hundred year image of the probability the sea turtle randomly putting its head through the yoke which stands for enlightenment. The animal realm is place where the odds of one achieving random enlightenment are infinitesimal. I suspect that one would end there because of some act of lesser karmic consequence, perhaps one might become meat for as result of accumulating bad karma like eating meat, that is to say become a turtle for eating turtle soup.
The Hungry ghost realm is the destination of those who are consumed by their desire and can never satisfy their sensual cravings never at rest and always hungry and thirsty one wonders if perhaps they were gods or demigods who strayed from the eight fold path and were and ended up being demoted, so as I see things might get tougher to practice the Eight Fold Path as you worked your way up, The hell realm as visually depicted is full of anger rage pain and aggressions and that is the sort of individuals it imprisons for sometime less that eternity. One sees in its visual representations of many images from Dante.
Breaking the cycle is one of the core teachings of Buddhism and involves entering into Nirvana in which that which binds us to the wheel is severed and we lose our lust and desire by accepting four noble truths and following the eight fold path ever upward across a succession of incarnations. As I understand the process it is done through practice teaching and ritual which can vary depending up historical and geographical locations, since Buddhism is ever changing.