Up till post number 12, we explore how we can be mindful of the internal and external factors that are affecting our practices. For internal factors, we explore how we need to be mindful of our state of mind, so that it is conducive for our practice. For example, is our faith strong, is our understanding of the Triple gems correct, are there any unfounded fear influencing our practices, etc.
For the external factors, we explore the various schools of Buddhism and what constitutes a bonafide Buddhist organization or teachers. The various schools of Buddhism are there to help us “cure” ourselves when our internal conflicts are getting out of hand. For example, if the training method of Theravada Buddhism becomes unbearable, and we are seriously thinking about giving up, then we might consider exploring a different school of Buddhism and vice versa. There are 84,000 Dharma for us to pick. Once we have confidence in our goal, we can easily enter the Dharma through any doors.
Starting from this post, we are jumping into Some Buddhist contemplations. It took me a while to figure out how to present the next topic because some readers might be averse to it.
Contemplating the faults of Samsara
Samsara refers to the endless cycle of death and rebirth. This contemplation is meant to make us let go of our desire to be reborn in Samsara. In Buddhism, we broadly classify the states of existence into 6 categories. In this contemplation exercise, we sit and think about the faults of Samsara and then try to generate a state of strong detachment. (Note: detachment in Buddhism is not built upon hate)
Since the Buddhist answer to the fault of Samsara is Nirvana, the purpose of this contemplation is also for us to be motivated into taking our practice seriously and without any reservation. Much like clutching a lifeline.
To do contemplation, we can sit in a meditation posture or sit upright on a chair. The purpose is not to fall asleep 🙂
During contemplation, it is similar to how we do Metta Meditation. We do not allow our mind to roam freely and end up fantasizing about the topic. Thus, it is important to note that Buddhist Contemplation is not for creating delusions but for conditioning our minds to have various mental factors that are conducive for our practices.
We can think about it as self-motivational therapy.
Contemplating about Hell
The 1st realm of contemplation is the Hell Realm. Some Buddhists are averse to this topic because of their past experience with other religions. Some Buddhists do not believe in any other realms of existence except the human realm. For some people, Hell, ghost, Asura, and Deva sound like fairy tales. For others, the idea of being an animal in their next life seems incredulous.
Foremost, we need to understand that Samsara is not a “punishment” designed by a divine entity. Nor is it a test or a system of judgment/reward/punishment created by a divine entity. This is very important.
In Buddhism, rebirth into the various states of existence is driven by Karma. Karma means our actions, speech, and thoughts. In other words, it is our habitual “state of being” that conditions our next state of existence. In this manner, a habitually violent person will “cultivate” rebirth to a violent existence.
Furthermore, existence is not limited to physical ones. In Buddhism, existence can also occur without a physical body. This is very important because, for those who do not believe in “unseen” realms of existence, this practice becomes equally viable when we look upon them as our mental states of pain and suffering. In this manner, this contemplation will help position our minds to avoid states of pain in this very life of ours.
To be continued.
May all be well and happy.
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