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Switch to Forum Live View Dalai Lama's comment on Hell
8 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2009 - 7:20PM #1
HinduGuy
Posts: 373

Recently I came across a snippet of a comment from the Dalai Lama commenting on Hell. It has been an extreme disappointment to me that the Dalai Lama believes in Hell.


To me, Hell is about using violence to correct a behaviour, but do we seriousy believe that God would use violence? Recently there was a story about a young woman in the area of Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban held down and was whipped mercilessly while she cried out of mercy. Is that what God does to humans? How can a kindly soul like the Dalai Lama believe in such a behaviour? That kind of behaviour is more suitable for a Saddam Husain or a Hitler, horrible people that used all kinds of violence against innocent people! And God used the same horrible policy? It is unbecoming of God to be running a Hell!


Hinduism/Buddhism has come up with a far better, less backward idea - Karma and Rebirth! There is no need for a Hell! No need for a torture God!  


But first let us realize the different kinds of religions that are out there - the western Abrahamic religions like Christianity and Islam are King Religions - God made in the image of a King. A King issues orders and commands. When they die they will be judged by god, and since they have rejected Karma and Rebirth, god has to either send them to heaven or hell! And so they came up with this convenient idea of a god who will forgive all their sins and send them to heaven! How nice!


Hinduism/Buddhism are Teacher religions. Our goal is Moksha, to reach an Enlightened State. Enlightenment comes with Knowledge and God is our Guru. A real Teacher does not use violence to reach her students. She uses patience and understanding and ultimately it is the student's responsibility to take advantage of the lessons the Guru is imparting him.  


Let's take an exmple: A drunk driver crashes into another car killing both drivers. According to the Abrahamic religions, the drunk driver will be judged by God and if God forgives him will be sent to heaven. Imagine the surprise of the driver of the second car when he comes upto heaven and sees his murderer enjoying the fruits of heaven! What kind of a message does that send?  


In Hinduism/Buddhism, a person undergoes the rules of Karma and Rebirth. The first rule of Karma is about taking responsibility for one's actions. Rebirth gives a person one more chance at putting things right. In this case, the drunk driver, must not only take responsibility for his actions but must also work to take care of the family of the other driver that he had killed! He may not put together everything right but at least the other driver's atma will be happy that at least his family is happy.  


If I was the drunk driver and if God gave me the option of either being forgiven and being sent to heaven or accept responsibility for my actions and realize that I need to make things right, I would gladly take the latter option any day!  

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 05, 2009 - 4:44PM #2
gangajal
Posts: 835

HinduGuy,


     Rebirth does not mean birth only in the Earth plane. There are levels below the Earth plane which would feel hellish to us.


 


Gangajal

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 06, 2009 - 2:58AM #3
Kartari
Posts: 2,261

Hi HinduGuy,


If the Dalai Lama envisioned hell in the same way some Christians do, then I would agree with you.  However, Tibetans have a very different view of things.


Wherever Buddhism has spread in the past, it has adapted to and inherited the preexisting culture and religion while retaining the core teachings of the Buddha.  In Tibet, this was Bon, a shamanic religion with a polytheistic pantheon.  In Tibetan Buddhism, there is no creator god, but there are many deities that live long but not immortal lifespans, who reside in many various kinds of heavenly planes.  There are also I think eight hell planes of existence.  All beings, according to Tibetans, continually reincarnate into not only human and animal forms, but into other types of beings in alternate planes than the Earth, including gods (who in turn eventually die and are reborn).


The hell realms differ from Christian notions of hell in a number of ways.  First of all, since there is no creator deity passing any judgment, the only being responsible for being reborn in a hell realm is oneself, by virtue of one's own negative karma.  By becoming extraordinarily prone to rage, to be more specific.  Other vices lead to other negative states of being; hungry ghosts, for example, are highly greedy beings that suffer greatly from their own excessive greed, just as hell beings suffer greatly from their own excessive rage.


Secondly, there is no such thing as an eternal hell in Tibetan Buddhism.  All hell and other negative realms are both temporary and purgative in nature.  As soon as a hell being comes to recognize their own rage for what it truly is and begins to shift or transform that anger into consciousness, they die to hell and are reborn into a superior form, perhaps even human form (which is viewed as the ideal form for seeking enligtenment, since humans are viewed as the most balanced in terms of being equally capable of all vices and virtues without one vice being too dominant... even the gods are seen as having less potential than humans for enlightenment, because in their lofty but not yet enlightened state of bliss, they are naturally prone to sloth... humans, on the other hand, are too spurred by their suffering in this world to become as prone to sloth as a god can be).


There's a lot more to it than this.  But basically, so long as you pursue consciousness, compassion, liberation, you will be reborn time and again as a more and more awakened human being until, at last, Buddhahood is realized.  Hell is not a punishment you are judged and doomed to by a malevolent creator deity, but rather is a state of mind, believed to be manifested into an actual hellish-realm of existence by Tibetans, which one is reborn into by virtue of being excessively prone to anger (other realms exist for sloth, greed, jealousy, pride, and a few others I'm sure which i cannot think of at the moment)... and consequently can be left by relinquishing one's excessive anger and being reborn into a superior realm.  Nobody is lost forever, though we can temporarily get lost by extreme craving, nobody punishes you, you punish yourself by not following a path to consciousness, and there is no malevolent deity to cast you into hell, only your own volition through negative karma.  There are also bodhisattvas or saints who voluntarily forego full enlightenment in order to remain where suffering beings are, including the hell and other negative realms, to aid them and help bring them out of their self-induced misery.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2009 - 12:30AM #4
HinduGuy
Posts: 373

Jun 5, 2009 -- 4:44PM, gangajal wrote:


HinduGuy,


     Rebirth does not mean birth only in the Earth plane. There are levels below the Earth plane which would feel hellish to us.


Gangajal




Gangajal: It is a horrible concept and must be done away with. it is a concept unbecoming of the very thought of God, which is the point I was making.


How do you reconcile both concepts - Hell & Karma? If we are being punished in hell, and then once reborn we suffer the consequences of karma from the previous birth, aren't we being punished twice? Does that make sense?


These are ideas being floated around in the past centuries - Hell must have sounded like a good idea to some - the thought of inflicting physical punishment to those who might have caused someone harm, is very appealing. But, I think, a wiser more enlightened soul came up with the concept of Karma - A non-violent way to resolve things. A way to accept responsibilty. A way to put things right. What a great concept!


Religions must evolve over time. We Hindus & Buddhists are lucky to be given this great gift. Let's embrace this great gift. Let's do away with a Satanic Hell, leave that to the lower, primitive religions.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 07, 2009 - 12:38AM #5
HinduGuy
Posts: 373

"there is no such thing as an eternal hell in Tibetan Buddhism"


Thank you. Good post. You are right there but yet you keep insisting on using that awful word. Simply saying we mean it differently is not enough - we need to stop using it. We are reborn, as human or otherwise, and we learn - learn, not suffer, the consequences of karma. God is our Guru in our journey towards enlightenment - not for us a flesh-happy heaven. God is trying to teach us but it is upto us to accept her teachings. God is not going to punish us for not listening to her teachings - that is the concept of hell. God is a very patient person, she will impart the lesson again and again.


Do not get lost in the trees, see the forest.


See the great gift of karma that is being given us. See that Karma asks one to reexamine every aspect of one's life, take responsibility for our actions, if we have harmed someone, let's make amends.

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8 years ago  ::  Jun 20, 2009 - 2:57PM #6
Serenity1552
Posts: 321

You said Recently I came across a snippet of a comment from the Dalai Lama commenting on Hell. It has been an extreme disappointment to me that the Dalai Lama believes in Hell.


I have checked Google, and the only reference to  Hell, was when  when he spoke of Hell on earth, refering to Tibet


The only reference to any other kind of hell, was a link to your page.


I think you must have  misunderstood what he was saying.


As somone who admires The Dalai Lama, I can't imagine him speaking of Hell,  in any other context.  If he spoke of hell as you claim, it would be major news, and I would have no problem finding it on Google

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