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FAQ Other Discussions of Interest Page 1
Discovering Buddhism at Home -FAQ
Other Discussions of Interest (page 1 | 2)
Special Section: Discussion on Fear in Practice
Student and Elder discussion: How and when is fear skillful in dharma practice? (This discussion followed a comment by a student about the six realms of existence. Although it isn’t a traditional “Q&A,” everyone found the discussion interesting and helpful. Therefore, we are including it here. May it benefit.)
J.S. writes:[Relating to the six realms of existence . . .] fear is useful for the development of renunciation. Fear of the lower realms. Perhaps visualising the lower realms as actual places can help us be fearful of such a prospect, so fearful that we watch our every move as closely as we would if we were walking across a glacier fraught with crevasse’s, or a path scattered with hot coals.
Whatever help’s us avoid action’s, speech, and thoughts that may become a cause for winding up anywhere further from where we are now. Perhaps a bit of a personal thing?
From the unrealized and uninformed of the Buddhist perspective. But from self experience in the conventional sense.
I am not going to say that fear is not useful but I believe that too much fear becomes a barrier. It is a very powerful emotion that can do great harm. Not just mentally, but physically as well. The anxiety, tension and the chemicals that it can create will harm not only the physical body but the brain as well which will cause obstacles to our mind.
To me it is like using anger for energy and determination. The ends are well meant but the method is unskillful.
Here is my two cents worth.
What we think of as unskillfull methods could be skillful methods in relation to other sentient beings and their karma. When I look at “unskillful methods” what comes to mind is the biography of Milarepa and some of the Mahasiddhas. Were Marpa’s methods of bringing Milarepa to the point where he was ready for realization unskillful? If looked at from a modern, Western perspective we could say that the methods were harsh and abusive, yet due to the fact that Milarepa was a murderer and had many obscurations which needed to be purified, Marpa’s methods were exactly what Mila needed.
I’m not an advocate of fear or harsh and abusive treatment, but I realize that at the beginning of the path, fear could be a positive motivator for change. When we realize deeply that we are impermanent, that we are dying minute by minute, that our death is inevitable, that our mental afflictions are a cause for suffering, that there is a mind continuum and that our actions today affect the future, a shift takes place in the mind. We have experienced suffering, we see the suffering of others around us, and we ask ourselves why do we suffer? I ask myself if this internal shift would take place if I didn’t experience dissatisfaction, suffering and feared it? If everything was going fine, if all was well, would I even sit down to meditate and practice dharma? Probably not. Why should we seek a solution if there isn’t a problem?
But, as we progress on the path our motivation changes and we come to an understanding and insight that the teachings work, that our so-called obscurations and mental afflictions are adventitious and can be purified. Slowly we begin to let go of our attachments and aversions and a sense of joy and satisfaction arises in our practice. The change comes about naturally and as a result of our practice and we leave fear behind.
With all due respect, not until we become Buddhas are we going to know what is really skillful and what is not in relation to other sentient beings. However, when life circumstances call for it we can exercise our Buddha nature based wisdom and act accordingly.
Much happiness to all.
It appears to me that it is “intelligent fear” not fear based in the afflictions that we are to cultivate. Fear of the consequences of actions. All the possible consequences. From this we learn that all of samsara, even the enjoyable parts, are suffering. We are all experiencing samsara and as such are controlled by our afflictions and negative actions. Even if we cultivate virtue in this life, we can easily enter a lower realm in our next life, or an unfortunate human rebirth, or even the god realms. Just being in samsara, whatever level, is suffering. Lama Zopa in “Steps on the Path to Enlightenment Vol. 2″ likens pervasive suffering to a wound. By its nature it is suffering. Add salt and we experience relative pain, add cold water and we experience relative happiness. These relative conditions come and go. The cure is to “get out” of samsara. A “healthy fear” of uncontrolled rebirth will lead to practicing virtue, taking refuge etc…It is an “eyes wide open” sort of thing.
Although, in some text I seem to remember having read that you have cultivated renunciation if you feel like a person trapped in a burning building, desperate to find a way out!
Pages 331 & 365 of Liberation in the Palm of your Hand discuss the necessity of fear to develop renunciation. More specifically fear of the lower realms.
Thubten Pende responds:
I have been reading this discussion with some interest. I contributed a few remarks earlier, but thought to add a few more. As we know, the intellectual understanding of Buddhism, while important, is not sufficient to overcome the obstacles to liberation and enlightenment. Lama Yeshe often referred to the challenge of gaining the experience of the Buddha’s teachings as a scientific experiment with out own minds. It therefore seems appropriate to engage in the study and practices that are provided for us and then observe our experiences; perhaps even report them.
When I meditate on the sufferings of the lower realms there are 2 emotions that arise: fear and compassion. I did not plan on those emotions arising, they just did. Fear causes me to avoid the causes for rebirth in the lower realms. Compassion causes me to find a means to help others avoid the causes of rebirth in the lower realms.
I use different means to meditate on the shortcomings of cyclic existence. Sometimes I meditate on the shortcomings of my aggregates appropriated by karma and delusion, namely my own truth of suffering. When I do this by identifying such shortcomings as the misery I experience as a result of these aggregates or the foulness of these aggregates, the emotion of repulsion arises in me; it is unplanned. This repulsion causes me to wonder how I could be so attached to a body and mind that are magnets for misery and utterly foul. It also gives rise to a wish to escape from this condition.
Sometimes when I meditate on emptiness to overcome my attachment to true suffering. The emotion that arises from this approach is one of disinterest in true suffering (rather than revulsion); the thing I was attached to no longer is able to attract me. This approach also gives rise to a wish to escape from the nightmare of ignorance.
My conclusion from these experiences is that different emotions or mental states arise naturally from different ways of thinking. If I understand the method correctly and put it into practice effectively, states of mind arise that counter addictive mental states I want to eliminate. It is up to me to recognize what I need to eliminate and apply the appropriate means to do so. Needless to say, I can always make use of the advice of others who might have a more objective and informed view of what I need!
But alas, it is ultimately my responsibility.
My apologies. Perhaps unskillful was not the term or phrase I should have used. Perhaps the phrase “The ends does not justify the means” is a little closer.
Perhaps there is more then one kind of fear? Some that are more useful then others.
This may be a little strong but I will put these thoughts on fear down anyway. I understand that these may only apply to this being. But I think about it every time someone stands up to create an US vs. THEM situation.
I look at the world and see so much hate and division. This comes from fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of the other, doubt and uncertainty. It holds the roots/reins of our self-preservation firmly in its grasp. It paralyzes us, makes us tentative. Or it can cause us to rush before we are ready. It can rule and drive us to destruction as we hide in our own paranoia.
To make it short:
Fear is a symptom of our ignorance.
Truly it is a two sided weapon.
If I lived in a damp, cold, unpleasant, uncomfortable, insane place, and, for whatever means, I got to know, or got to have a strong conviction, that over there, passing that mountain, there was a better valley with a temperate climate and pleasant and healthy living conditions… then I would be wonderfully motivated to go and cross over that mountain. And I think my motivation would not be based on fear, but rather on hope or faith in a better life for me and my family. For love, I mean…
I do think, too, that manipulating things in order to generate fear as a motivation for doing something, falls into the category of “the ends justifies the means”, and I don’t know if it is “unskillful”, but it seems to me not very “constructive” kind of motivation, when, and I say when, there are other alternatives more in line with “hoping for a better future”, or generating compassion and empathy and love.
I also find it too difficult to believe that I, or any of us, is in the same, or similar situation, to being trapped in a house in flames. Really, we are NOT. At the same time, there are countless people in the world that ARE suffering much, much more than I am, people in poverty, people living in middle of wars, etc., etc. So, of course, at the end of the day there are cases and cases. And I can admit that Milarepa maybe, for his personal conditions and for the cultural frame in which he was living, might need those rude methods, why not. But I think that, those of us who are fortunate enough to be in the situation of being able to afford building their spiritual path on the grounds of “hope,” “compassion” and the like, rather than on “fear”, should choose to do so. It’s more constructive, I believe. (but a little bit of fear is O.K., of course, it is natural, but I prefer not to use techniques to “inflate” it artificially)
Have a nice day all of you.
I thank you for the reply. Constructive and not very constructive fits so much better.
And I agree that we should work toward moving forward instead of keeping ourselves afloat. Reaching for Buddhahood and/or helping others is constructive.
Keeping myself from falling into lower realms seems negative to me.
The LamRim teachings tell us that there are two “reasons” for taking refuge, fear of suffering (not just pain or change, but also pervasive suffering) and conviction that the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha possess the methods to free us from this situation. So, from this I gather that fear is a necessary component that puts us on the path and pushes us forward when other motivators are lacking.
I tend to agree with F. that to base one’s motivation for spiritual practice on fear may not be the strategy of choice, at least for some of us. We have the aggrandized picture of what happens when people are driven by fear and manipulated paranoia out there in our chaotic present world: from war and terrorism to electoral results leading to more possible wars etc. Having been a child in Europe during WWII I fear the hell of war tremendously. As living beings we all fear suffering. I have a nagging doubt that to practice any kind of religion or spiritual path out of fear of my own suffering will only strengthen my grasping and clinging to my “I”. For me personally the only way of conquering fear, any kind of fear, is to meditate over and over again on the emptiness of this fearful “I,” the contaminated aggregates, and on the immense suffering on this world (of all three kinds) so that compassion simply overrides “my” fear. As F. says, it can be a path based on love, hope and compassion, not on fear.
I do not know whether some of you are familiar with the five meditation Buddhas. The mudra of the forth of them, Amoghasiddhi, also sometimes called “Lord of Karma” is the gesture of fearlessness, or “fear not!” His consort is the green Tara.
I write this in regret to disagree with Thubten Pende for whom I have great respect and gratitude for his really inspiring teachings on emptiness (module 12).
You expressed it much better then my clumsy words. I live with fears, anxiety and self-doubt. Years of depression have shown me that fears and such will slowly eat you.
I wish I could remember the exact source, but somewhere I read that the Dalai Lama advises those suffering from depression to avoid (perhaps only temporarily) meditations on suffering and to focus on such meditations as the precious human life. I’m sure Ven. Sangye Khadro said the same thing in her book “How to Meditate.” Maybe it’s a matter of using the appropriate antidote at the appropriate time.
What do you all think?
Well I think, spot on!
Contemplating my death and the possibility of ending up in the lower realms is exactly an appropriate antidote for me personally at the moment to counter my obstacles. And is but one of a number of antidotes I am using.
That makes sense to me . . .
I watch people in depression, and it seems when they focus on their depression they seem to find all kinds of justifications for it, they look for ways to strengthen it in watching.
I suspect it more important to focus on the antidotes instead, as you suggested precious human rebirth, or maybe loving kindness, or just simply sitting in Zen fashion until the mind can become calm. Without some state of calm, new valuable information has a hard time taking root in the mind.
Perhaps there are those. I do not wish to justify it or strengthen it. I wish to conquer it. Be it’s master. I know that at my present state of development and biology that it would be all to easy to slip back into the darkness. I try to keep a constant vigilance but there are days when conditions are right, the dark karmic seeds ripen. Then the work is to bring myself back before those mental obscurations can cause additional damage.
Meditation helps with allowing me to look what is going on calmly. To slow down the cycle of destructive thoughts. Reduce the tension and anxiety that arise so I can focus on what the causes are.
We use rational fear regularly in our lives; it protects us from danger. For example, if you know that a particular area in your city is extremely dangerous at night, you don’t go there. Why? Fear of the consequences if you do. And, to stay away is a sane thing to do.
Where I live in Australia we have cyclones (hurricanes). There is one crossing the coast right about now; for days the people in that area have been battening down the hatches and, as of yesterday, they began to evacuate some areas. People left their homes and towns to go to safer areas until the storm passes. Why? Fear.
There are rational and intelligent fears that protect us from danger. There are irrational paranoid fears of things that don’t exist. Fear of the sufferings of samsara is quite rational. Just look at the world around you…there is suffering out there that is beyond comprehension. I don’t want to go there. Do you? I doubt it, and one emotion that helps me work hard to stay away from that level of suffering is fear. We are genetically hardwired to fear what is dangerous. That’s a good thing.
You are quite right[, U.,] to say that many of the problems in the world – conflicts, terrorism, wars – arise from fear; irrational fear. But, to dismiss the use of all fear as a motivator is both dangerous and silly.
And, remember that the greatest motivator in Buddhist practice is not fear but the peace, joy and beauty of enlightenment. Think of these two extremes – enlightenment and the karmically created suffering of samsara – as the carrot-and-stick approach to spiritual awakening. Behind us is our knowledge of karma whipping us along; in front, the joy of liberation leading us by the nose.
Yes, I see that rational fear is a form of protection. And needed for many hazards in life. But that protection/self preservation instinct can be taken to far. One of those middle way things? I.e., some fear can be healthy, too much fear will bring great suffering.
My sister and parents live on the Texas coast. They get hurricanes. They do let fear control them. My father boards up the house and they leave inland. Sane as you said. Fear is felt outwardly if they take too long or the hurricane is too fast. My sister takes it to the extreme however. She is one who will not leave because of a hurricane. Just a big storm, with proper precautions, nothing to fear as she says.
Thanks for your last three or four messages, M. You are just human, as we all are, just little poor thingies in middle of this huge world. I can see your very human reasons to rebel against fear, given those years of depression you had to suffer.
Ey, it seems to me that your sister could be a perfect Bodhisattva (for the way she faces those “big storms”)!! Maybe not your father (too much panicking!?)… but, he might still become a good arhat. Sure. There is site for all of us in the Buddahood, isn’t there?
Be happy if you can… or either if you can’t.
I have been away without access to a computer so I have read with interest the posts.
Fear and the lower realms have something in common, they are generated by our own mental state. To use a mental state that we are all used to from babyhood, fear, that we use an excuse for all sorts of unskillful actions to help us to see that there could be consequences to our actions does not seem so unskillful. It is not as if most of us when we are born absolutely know that actions cause a result. Most people have to be shown this. Many of the actions we all do are horrific for the minds and bodies of other sentient beings. We may not label them that way, unless we are unusually sensitive, but from the point of view of the animal we inadvertently maim or the person who’s feelings we hurt our actions may stay with them for years. For me it is our lack of sensitivity to the lives of others that should scare us. If just describing the karma that we ourselves create is frightening maybe we should think hard about mindfulness in our interactions and thoughts and try to avoid the actions and results.
Thanks for your comment [J.], it sounds tremendously sensible and balanced and very helpful.
I only want to state here one only point of dissent from my part: recognizing the suffering that my actions are co-creating in others not necessarily should SCARE me. Rather, I believe I would feel compassion, and regret, but not necessarily “scare”. More than “scare,” what we are looking for is, as you very well pointed, more mindfulness or awareness, and more care for what we do and care for others.
It happens that just a few minutes ago, while answering the assessment questions of Module One, I re-read the description of a mental factor called “regret”. It says:
“If we regret a destructive action, the regret is constructive leading us to purify past misdeeds… Regret is a mind conditioned by some degree of intelligence that can see the disadvantages of negative actions, and seeks to redress them”.
Yes, I have quoted this out of its context, but still seems to me relevant to this discussion. This “degree of intelligence” is what we need, as with the “intelligent fear” Thubten mentioned. Yes, they are very useful motivations. But they are not the same as simply cultivating fear. If, instead, we can direct our efforts to cultivating regret and the “sane” or “intelligent” (equilibrated?) fear Thubten described, I think we will be doing a healthier choice.
Thanks again, J.. I appreciate that contribution too.
For me, I’ve felt it important to recognize the drawbacks and suffering of Samsara. I don’t feel I’m developing a *fear* of it, but rather I understand it’s not something I want to continue. I see how the suffering continues in this vicious circle. Understanding and knowing you don’t want to repeat the same old crap doesn’t haven’t to be fear, per say, just realizing enough is enough!
See how Samsara is disguised in happiness, open your eyes to the reality of it’s suffering. I wouldn’t call that being afraid or fearful, just finally seeing the light and striving towards the end of the tunnel so to speak.
Since I brought the notion of fear up perhaps I should specify where I was coming from. Of course, T.Y. has already clarified much amongst the broad generalisation of the term ‘fear’.
Fear of creating more causes to be reborn in the lower realms specifically. This fear should help us become more vigilant and less complacent in our practise of speech, mental events, and actions. Its aim is enhance or perhaps speed our development of renunciation. That is to sincerely and deeply make effort to engage in virtuous actions only (which brings great joy), and be fearfully cautious of non-virtuous actions, speech, and thoughts (due to their consequences). The more we understand suffering, the more virtuosity we engage in (positive causes planted), the more we don’t want ourselves or any other’s to suffer, the more nourished our compassion and bodhichitta and wisdom becomes. The fear factor is a specific exercise for a specific purpose, the development of renunciation.
U., my guess at fearlessness, is it is achieved by eliminating the causes that would bring us to lower rebirth. The Fearless Victor has no Karmic causes that will enable lower rebirth, therefore has nothing to fear. Using fear of non-virtuosity in the sense of ceasing to engage in it, and being more careful with our selves, well how is that a negative thing?
This is a new concept for me, but I see its value. I’ve always been against fear and tried to be fearless in everything.
Ironically, I would now advise myself, ‘Don’t be so afraid, to be afraid’!
Aren’t Bodhisattvas and advanced practitioners said to pray at death to be reborn in a sorrowful realm so as to help other sentient beings attain freedom? Therefore, with the proper motivation, wouldn’t it be better to learn to be fearless even of the six realms, whatever they may be? Avoiding to create bad karma is like avoiding to be caught in a hurricane – it is wisdom; fear motivating the avoidance of creating bad karma is like
running away before a hurricane starts without trying to save or shelter the child that cannot run.
Remember that we are talking about the GRADUATED path to enlightenment. It is graduated for a reason.
Whether we look at the path from the perspective of the three scopes or the three principal aspect of the path there is a movement from the least evolved level of motivation and evolution to the higher, more courageous, all-embracing motive of the evolved bodhisattva. Even the bodhisattva’s intent begins with the simple wish to be able to really be an engaged bodhisattva one day; then, with practice and inner development the practitioner becomes able to engage in the genuine activities of a bodhisattva.
Using apprehension as a motivator in the early stages creates the energy that kick starts our practice in a big way. In the dentist’s waiting room today (with apprehension building!) I was reading a teaching on the three principal aspects of the path – renunciation, bodhicitta and right view. The teacher says that renunciation is a ‘without which, nothing’. This means that without developing sufficient dread of continuing in samsara, we don’t generate the mind of renunciation (definite emergence); without renunciation, bodhicitta is impossible and therefore enlightenment is impossible.
In part, this is about owning where we are…right now. And what we are capable of. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not a fearless bodhisattva and I am painfully aware of how difficult practice is when the conditions are less than perfect. I think, for me, any practice would be impossible in a hellish realm of existence. I have trouble when I have a runny nose!
Definite emergence (renunciation) has two aspects:
1. The recognition of the extreme suffering that it is possible for any one of us to experience in samsara. Right now we are in extremely salubrious circumstances; if we die tonight, where will we be tomorrow? Do you know?
2. The recognition that there is a positive direction in which we can point our noses…towards freedom and enlightenment.
So, we make the decision definitely to emerge from this miserable situation to emerge into enlightenment. Carrot and stick.
With regard to learning to be fearless…yes, good idea. Learn to be a fearless meditator no matter what is happening around you and within you; learn to be fearless in small ways now so that gradually you generate the courage of a bodhisattva. But, don’t try to walk before you can crawl.
Maybe J.S. is on to something: don’t be afraid to feel a bit of reasonable fear. It might be a very wise thing to do.
Love to you all,
PS – U., maybe think of wise fear motivating the creation of good karma.
Just one more note on this vexed subject of the use of fear as a motivator. I could not agree with you more, Ulrike, about the negative, manipulative use of fear that we can see in many aspects of our life – politics, the work place, religion, education at all levels and so forth. It is everywhere, and it shouldn’t be anywhere.
In my small experience of Buddhism and of the skill of my teachers, I have never felt manipulated. Above all, I have never felt disempowered by my teachers or their teachings. If I had, I would have run a mile and more. On the contrary, my experience has been that every word is leading me closer to my ability to experience the full, unencumbered, potency my own buddha nature.
I have had the immense good fortune to have personal contact with teachers such as Lama Yeshe and Lama Zopa Rinpoche. I’m aware that many (if not most) DB@Home students have not had that wonderful possibility with any teachers face-to-face, so there is perhaps a great deal that you must take on trust, and trust in today’s world is a scarce commodity.
If fear was our only motivator, then I would not have hung around for over thirty years. It is not the sole motivator for our practice. From the beginning, before we even know the word bodhicitta, we are encouraged to generate a motivation that embraces others and looks towards enlightenment.
Each of us brings our own karmic propensities to our spiritual practice; and each of us needs to assess our own present capabilities to some degree, acknowledging (but not buying into) our present limitations. Those limitations are not who we are; they are impermanent and, really, non-existent. But, on a conventional level they often rear their ugly heads bringing us to a screeching halt in our practice. If a good kick up the backside can get us unstuck, then I say: Kick away! A healthy recall of what is possible if we lose track of where we need to go can be that kick that keeps us pointed in the right direction. It’s not the whole story.
Love and best wishes to you all,
Thank you again for bringing it back to the reality of what is. I love your answers because it is coming from experience and from the heart. It is kinda fun when I read through the threads. A subject comes up, and it becomes a like a bees nest swatted by a broom! Us little worker bees (newbies) franticly darting about. “I don’t think this… I don’t think that…” I believe this… I believe that…..” then you have Thubten (and the other wondrous elders) the queen bee centered calm and focused. Releases a couple paragraphs of wisdom and all the worker bees come back to the nest and center again. LOL.
We really don’t know where we will be in the future. Will we be able to practice the Dharma? Could you imagine being reborn in a realm “Dentists”? OH MY! Three countless eons of dentists drilling on your teeth with no novocaine! now if that doesn’t instill fear….giggle.
Thanks again Thubten and Elders for your wisdom.
T.Y. and everyone,
I love these examples. I have experienced both the healthy fear the T.Y. describes here and the neurotic, self-centered kind, paranoid kind. A couple of years before this course became available I became caught up in a negative spiral of anger, hostility, and resentment that eventually began to take over my life and led to a *lot* of fear and paranoia. It impacted every part of my life. I had not one moment of peace. I was on fire with anger and resentment almost every single moment. Peace of mind, happiness, became a faint memory. I was lucky enough to run across Ven. Chodron’s teachings on her website and her Lamrim CD’s, which helped me a lot, although it took quite awhile to reverse this relentless cycle of fear and aversion.
Now when I begin to stew in resentment over some perceived slight or wrong, I remember how easy it was to slide down the slippery slope into a metaphorical “hell realm” the likes of which I do not ever want to encounter again. The healthy fear that results from that interrupts my self-pity and points me back on course. So often now when I do purification practice I remember back to this time: how painful it was, how grateful I am to have found the dharma (and this wonderful course!) so that I don’t have to be mindlessly pulled about by my ignorance and anger that can so easily take me where I DO NOT want to go!
When encountering the neurotic fear, T.Y. pointed me towards some practices that involve developing spiritual confidence (I use an extended version of meditation on the Buddha, and it really does help!).
With profound gratitude towards the dharma and our generous teachers,
I’m sorry if I’ve stirred a sensitive subject. I never meant to convey that we ALL should use fear as a PRIMARY motivation or even at all. Truly, our practise should be fun, joyous and a very positive experience. I never meant to take away from that. If depression, or any of the negative fruits of fear arise during, and/or because of, our practise, I would’ve thought it best to move away from it, and go to a focus on the positive qualities of our tutelary deity’s and the Three Jewel’s. There many positive way’s to motivate ourselves. My search and exploration of fear of the lower realms is a personal one and perhaps I should’ve kept it that way. Everyone’s input has however helped me, whether in agreement with me or not, I learn from you all. I’m just sorry if I have caused anyone to suffer or to resurface bad experiences in your life.
P.S. Thanks for sharing J. I’ve found your input very useful. It was your earlier remarks that caused a shift in my own experience. Not perhaps the experience itself, but the idea that with wisdom, fear could be utilised towards a positive effect. Since I can’t escape it, specifically when contemplating lower realms, then how can I use it? For me, remarkable.
Actually it was a good thing we brought it up. It made us think of our practice in different ways. Just last night I was truly thinking of not so much being reborn in the hell realms but looking at this precious human life. I thought what if I should have a stroke? What if I should lose a lose one of my sensory abilities to where I could no longer study or practice the Dharma? That scares me more than rebirth at this point because I see that as something tangible. I see friends and co-workers who are perfectly fine one day and then in a deadly car crash the next!
So for me right now I agree with working on how precious this life really is. And to do as much as we can with what little time we have so that when that time comes, we may that little bit of wisdom and awareness to where we can make that choice to not be born in the hell realms!
In loving kindness
I think J.S. is definitely onto something. After looking at some of the posts on this: correct me if I’m wrong(I think most times I am), by using method and wisdom to distinguish whether fear plays a big part in our journey; I think it does to a certain extent, but don’t let it overrun you. The two extremes, right?
When I think about the six realms or even go through the twelve links, the biggest one that gives me an ultimate fear ARE the hell realms. Think of yourself frozen unable to move and watching hell beings tearing your skin, bones and the like off you. You’re in extreme pain and you can’t do anything about it, because it will happen over and over again. It gives me absolute chills to think about it.
I had a fear run through me with meditation, but it passed just as any negative emotion does. I hope this is right, correct me if I’m wrong.
Many thanks to all of the students and elders who contributed to make this a lively and fruitful discussion! May it be of benefit.
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