42: Science and Buddhism (10) – The Missing Universe (ix) – Eternally Quiescent Light (g) – Light, Heaven, Hell, and Mindfulness
Buddhism and Mindfulness
In this blog on Buddhism, I have discussed mindfulness many times. Mindfulness is the theory behind Mindfulness Meditation, popular in many Western Countries. Buddha taught that everyone of us is capable of becoming a Buddha. The difference between him and us is but in the level of enlightenments each realized. In “Visualization Sutra” ( aka Contemplation Sutra 佛說觀無量壽佛經), Buddha said :”The mind forms a Buddha, and the mind is the Buddha. 是心作佛，是心是佛”. This is one of the reasons why Daila Lama called Buddhism “Science of the Mind” (Post #25). There is much the mind can do, but, at the same time, there is much we human beings do not know about the mind!
In Post #20, a post many non-believers of Buddhism would probably point to as why Buddhism is deemed to be a superstitious religion, I mentioned a ceremony called “Assisting the Mindfulness” (助念), the purpose of which, I said, was “to have the souls stay focused on being mindful of Amitabha Buddha”. Of course, if the mind can be mindful of Amitabha Buddha and if the mind can form a Buddha, it can also form (whatever one wants to form) and be mindful of (whatever one wants to be mindful of).
This is where Mr. Mickey Robinson, the protagonist of the video above, comes in. This video is a good illustration of the importance of mindfulness from a perspective other than that of Buddhism. Hopefully, it will let some see that what Buddha said (Buddhism) was the truth, and while certain Buddhism practices may look like superstition from the outside, they really have good theoretical foundations behind them.
As stated in the previous post, Mr. Robinson first saw Light in the spiritual world, which he “instantaneous knew as the real world”. Then he saw “Blackness” which he described as “eternal”, “without any matter”, “without any life”, “it was forever non-negotiable cut off from source of life”. He later labeled the “Blackness” as hell where “you wouldn’t want any human being to ever go in”. As the Blackness closed in on the Light, he deemed himself to be on the “very edge of the precipice of eternal separation”. The horribleness of that scene Mr. Robinson himself testified to.
So what did he do when he was on the edge of eternal separation? He screamed!! He screamed:” I am sorry”, “I want to live”, “Give me another chance”. He had the presence of mind to first repent (as did Dharma Master Wu Fan in Post #31) and he was DETERMINED not to slide into the Blackness and be forever “cut off from the source of life”. It was obvious that he was Mindfully aware of the fact that he was on the “edge of precipice of eternal separation” with determination not to fall into that and cried out Sincerely for help.
From the viewpoint of Buddhism, Mr. Robinson’s SINCERE MINDFULNESS was what initiated the chain of actions that eventually saved him from his slide into blackness, for it was immediately after his call out for help that the being he deemed to be God came and saved him from hell!
However, it cannot be said that all souls are so alert with such clear presence of mind as to be able to repent and ask for help when faced with being “cut off from the source of life” and on the “edge of precipice of eternal separation”. Most souls would be scared to death and would be frozen with trepidation when faced with such horrible prospects.
Mr. C, whom I mentioned in post # 28, related just such a story to me when I was in Australia. His lady-with-heavenly-eyes saw a soul, for him Mr. C and his team were doing Assisting Mindfulness ceremony, on the edge of falling into hell. This soul, however, did not have the presence of mind to repent and call out for help. He was there trembling with his arms crossed and motionlessly frozen when the lady-with-the-heavenly eyes first saw him.. Mr. C told me that it took him and his team a long time to coax this soul out of danger!
That fact that these situations exist is the reason why Buddhism believe in doing Assisting Mindfulness ceremony. The ceremony ASSISTS the soul to be MINDFUL, even in the event of extreme danger, so that the soul may focus on, and be mindful of, his/her desired destination, wherever that may be so that hopefully he/she can end up there. In the case of Pureland Buddhism, it is the Amitabha Buddha, whom its practitioners are mindful of. Practitioners of Pureland Buddhism happen to believe that this is the perfect and complete (究竟圓滿) course to take. However, others may choose to be mindful of other targets to end up in alternative destinations.
Buddhism, Heaven, Hell
Buddha gave very detailed descriptions of both heaven and hell. It is way beyond the scope of this blog to talk about them in details. However, I shall try to give a VERY BRIEF description of them both.
Buddha taught that there are three main levels of Heaven with twenty eight sublevels. The three main levels are: 1) Heaven of Desire (慾界); 2) Heaven of Form (色界) and 3) Heaven of Formlessness (無色界). Heaven of Desire has six sublevels. Heavenly beings there maintain bodily forms and have desires similar to human beings, but at reduced levels. Heaven of Form has eighteen sublevels. Heavenly beings there still have bodily forms, but no longer have desires as human beings do. Heaven of Formlessness has four sublevels and beings there have neither bodily forms nor desires as human beings do.
Heavenly beings enjoy greater blessings and live longer lives to enjoy them as they move up the levels. The highest level of Heaven, the twenty-eighth level, is called “Heaven of Neither Cognition nor Non Cognition (非想非非想處天)”. The name indicates the stillness of their minds and their average lifespan is around eighty thousand kalpas (八萬大劫), or about 102.4 quadrillion earthly years!
Buddha said human being are capable of going to Heaven by doing good deeds. However, doing good deeds alone can carry one up the heavenly ladder only so high. To go higher up requires higher meditative mind. The stillness, or motionlessness, of the minds of these heavenly beings increase as they move higher up in the levels. However, even the highest level of heavenly beings do not have sufficient stillness of mind to escape the endless cycles of reincarnation. According to Ven. Dharma Master Hsuan Hua (宣化上人) of The Sagely City of Ten Thousand Buddhas (萬佛聖城) in California, the highest level of heavenly beings have “only experienced a bit of the flavor of Chan (Zen, aka Dhyana)”. In post #6, I discussed the fact that Buddha “learned as much as he could learn in a relatively short period of time and was able to dwell in higher state of mind he achieved with meditation methods taught by these gurus”. However, he was not satisfied because they did not lead to any solutions to the suffering he witnessed as a young prince. Ultimately he went on his own to develop his own meditation methods so that he was ultimately able realize full Enlightenment when he was able to see the true causes of sufferings from reincarnations and gained wisdom as to how to stop these endless cycles.
Earth Store Budhisattva ( aka Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva 地藏菩薩) is the Bodhisattva most associated with Hell in Buddhism, as it was his compassionate Great Vow to not become a Buddha until all beings are liberated from Hell and Hell becomes empty. In the “Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Budhisattva 地藏菩薩本願經), Earth Store Bodhisattva gave great details of hells. I shall just quote one message below from said Sutra:
“Within the three seas are hundreds of thousands of great hells, each one different. Eighteen of those are known as the great hells. Five hundred subsequent ones inflict limitless cruel sufferings. Following those are hundreds of thousands that inflict limitless further sufferings.三海之內，是大地獄，其數百千，各各差別。所謂大者，具有十八。次有五百，苦毒無量。次有千百，亦無量苦”。
The “three seas” are not meant to be taken literally. Seas generally symbolized the large quantities of karma committed by beings. The “three seas” symbolizes the three sources of evil deeds : mind, body and mouth, and do not necessarily denote bodies of water.
The meaning of hell is “ground prison” in Chinese. However, unlike prisons in our world, “ground prisons” are not there waiting for criminals to come in to be punished. Hells are specifically manifested according to karmic consequences of the doers: “…. during their lives they themselves didnít plant any good causes. Now their own karma calls forth these hells. 生時又無善因。當據本業所感獄”.
Again, the experience of Mr. Micky Robinson seemed to verify what is written in Buddhism Sutra and karmic consequences. He said the being, whom he deemed to be God, told him that the “blackness” or “hell” he witness was a “historical record of my life”.
What Mr. Robinson called a “historical record of my life”, Buddha called it “karmic consequences”. Whatever the name, the manifestation is the same in this case: hell!! Good thing he was mindful enough to be able to come back and tell his story.
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