“H” is for Heck!…. And Hell
“H” is for “Heck, but it’s been a long time sense I’ve posted anything!”
Wow! How time does fly!….And, I’m happy to say, perhaps as the saying goes, it’s ’cause I’ve been having FUN! Yeah for summer! But, enough about me….
When thinking about “H” in context of Buddhism, “Hell” keeps coming up. Maybe ’cause “G” was for “God”….
Hell is one of the 6 realms in the Buddhist cosmology. They are often put in this descending order: Heaven, Titans, Human, Hungry Ghosts, Animal, and Hell.
Yes, Hell is last. It is the realm considered most full of suffering. Here are a few more general details:
Heaven: Where Gods and Devas live. In a realm filled with long life, so full of pleasure and ecstasy that there is no awareness of other’s suffering. And, therefore, do not have the ability for wisdom nor compassion.
Titan: Asura resides here. They are full of the opposite traits of the previous realm so are filled with hate, jealousy, envy — leading to much anger. These qualities are so all-consuming that there is no room for even the thought of developing and/or accessing other qualities such as compassion or wisdom; nor to think of other people.
Human: Is consider the most auspicious because here there IS suffering and joy. Thought to be in just enough measure to be able for the possibility of a sense of balance of the two and, therefore, the time, room, space for the desire to cultivate and access compassion and wisdom; both for self and for other.
Hungry Ghost (Preta): Here, one is again, so consumed by wanting that one is obsessed with only how to end such craving. A “hungry ghost” is depicted in many paintings to have a long, skinny neck and a bloated belly.
Animal: In this realm, the need for survival supersedes all other thoughts or aspirations.
Hell: Here, suffering and lamentation is all-consuming, leaving no room for other thoughts or aspirations.
The 6 Realms are not talked about much in the practices I’ve done. Mostly it is brought up as more of mental and emotional states that we can go thru…. often times, in just a few minutes.
For instance: You see someone in a crowd….. (a very, common, Human experience/Realm) You go into papancha, fantasizing about how great that person is; how she/he/they ask you out. it’s wonderful and, after x-number of dates, the two of you fall in love (Heaven Realm)! …Many more fantasies of glowing events in your coupled future — perhaps at street fairs through-out the summer; at your favorite ice cream shop or restaurant (at these places, you order all the latest foodie recommendations and before you know it, you leave the shop/restaurant with stomach ache or a hangover the next day! [Animal Realm]), or (back to those future plans!)… on the beach during a sunset or sunrise,.. etc. etc. (Hungry Ghost Realm). Then, perhaps you wanted to go to the Jazz Festival but they wanted to go to Opera in the Park….or, at one of these events, you catch them checking out another person and, next thing you know, there’s a fight (Titan/Asura Realm). The fight escalates and then they are wanting to “date other people” or “let’s just be friends” …. So now you’re devastated! (Hell Realm)!!!
Oh, and did I mention?……..You’ve been sitting in the Buddha Hall, waiting for the speaker to finish his/her/their bows and do that thing-they-do with their many layers of robes………
“H” is also for Ha!