Category: reincarnation

What Do Unity Churches Believe?

What Do Unity Churches Believe?:

Bible – Unity’s founders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, considered the Bible to be history and allegory. Their interpretation of Scripture was that it is “a metaphysical representation of humankind’s evolutionary journey toward spiritual awakening.” While Unity calls the Bible its “basic textbook,” it also says it “honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual’s right to choose a spiritual path.”

God – “God is the one power, all good, everywhere present, all wisdom.” Unity speaks of God as Life, Light, Love, Substance, Principle, Law and Universal Mind.

Heaven, Hell – In Unity, heaven and hell are states of mind, not places. “We make our heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words and deeds,” Unity says.

Jesus Christ – Jesus is a master teacher of universal truths and the Way-Shower in Unity teachings. “Unity teaches that the spirit of God lived in Jesus, just as it lives in every person.” Jesus expressed his divine potential and showed others how to express their divinity, which Unity calls (the) Christ. 

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matthewsatori: Shinran founded Jodo Shinshu, t…

matthewsatori:

Shinran founded Jodo Shinshu, the largest Buddhist tradition in Japan. Jodo Shinshu began when Shinran left the monastic life, married, and had children. 

The central practice of Jodo Shinshu is reciting the name of Amida Buddha, the Buddha-nature in all things, for our future rebirth into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

The central practice of Jodo Shinshu is reciting the name of Amida Buddha, the Buddha-nature in all things, for our future rebirth into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana.

Really hitting the jackpot with reincarnation …

Really hitting the jackpot with reincarnation would be rebirth into the Pure Land, the realm of Nirvana. In the Nembutsu, our future rebirth into the Pure Land is assured.

The Six Realms of Rebirth: Literal or Psychological?

There are traditionally six realms of rebirth in Buddhism, each resulting from the karma of past lives. These realms can also be seen as states of mind in the present life:  

1. The world of heaven. This is the world of enjoyment, pleasure or pleasant things. The condition of heaven is impermanent, and this state of mind will also change.
2. The world of humans. (Human beings) In the world of humans, sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are sad, sometimes we are laughing, sometimes we are crying.
3. The world of asuras. This is the world of fighting, or strife.  The realm or state of mind of fighting.
4. The world of hungry spirits. This is the realm of dissatisfaction, not being content. The state of having endless unsatisfied desires, or greed. Figuratively speaking, always being hungry.
5. The world of animals. It is the realm lacking reason. The state without reason. Without reason, mistakes are made, causing hardships or suffering to self, and at times others. Without reason, being dominated by one’s desires.
6. The world of hell. Hell refers to the realm of suffering. The state of suffering and pain, which through cause and condition people will enter.
http://www.buddhistdoor.com/OldWeb/bdoor/0006e/sources/realms.htm

Since Buddhism is primarily a way of life, rather than a belief system, we’re not discouraged  from taking a metaphorical interpretation of the six realms: 

The Kālāma Sutta is a discourse of the Buddha contained in the Aṅguttara Nikaya of the Tipiṭaka.[1] It is often cited by those of the Theravada and Mahayana traditions alike as the Buddha’s “charter of free inquiry.”[2]
The Kālāma Sutta is also used for advocating prudence by the use of sound logical reasoning arguments for inquiries in the practice that relates to the discipline of seeking truth, wisdom and knowledge whether it is religious or not. In short, the Kālāma Sutta is opposed to blind faith, dogmatism and belief spawned from specious reasoning.[3]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalama_Sutta

Even if there were literal realms of rebirth, I am unable to know or experience in the present what my next rebirth will be. I am more concerned about my conduct in this life and the consequences in this life that my actions cause.

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“We don’t know yet how to serve men, how can we know about serving spirits (the ancestors or…”

“We don’t know yet how to serve men, how can we know about serving spirits (the ancestors or gods)? We don’t know yet about life, how can we know about death?”

The Analects of Confucius

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The Tao of Life & the Fear of Death

According to the ancient Taoist philosopher Zhuangzi, we can only enjoy life if we overcome the fear of death: 

When Zhuangzi’s wife died, his friend Hui Shih found Zhuangzi sitting on the ground, singing and banging on pots. On asking him how he could be so unfeeling to his wife, he was told by Zhuangzi: “When she had just died, I could not help being affected. Soon, however, I examined the matter from the very beginning. At the very beginning, she was not living, having no form, nor even substance. But somehow or other there was then her substance, then her form, and then her life. Now by a further change, she has died. The whole process is like the sequence of the four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. While she is thus lying in the great mansion of the universe, for me to go about weeping and wailing would be to proclaim myself ignorant of the natural laws. Therefore I stopped!”

It was the very process of change that provided Zhuangzi with a wife who has been unique and exciting. In subsequently reflecting on her ‘loss’, he discovers her continuing participation in the process of change, and his mourning becomes a celebration of her life. Every moment involves both a living and a dying and thereby makes the whole process vibrant and productive. What made his wife a unique and cherished companion is dependent upon the interplay of change and persistence in the human experience. Zhuangzi thought back to the time before his wife was born and had no body – and even farther back, to the time before her spirit existed…

If life and death are but phases within the cycle of change, then there is no difference between the living and the dead. Mortality only becomes a problem and a source of sorrow, because man cannot free himself from his categorisation of life and existence. In the physical sense, man must die and there is no escape. But, if man can understand Nature’s way and embrace the Dao, then he lives as long as the Dao. Zhuangzi defies death by saying that if (after death) his left arm became a rooster, he would simply use it to mark the time of night. Man may die indeed, but his essence as part of the universal essence lives on forever. This is the metaphysical view of immortality in the Zhuangzi.
https://philosophynow.org/issues/27/Death_in_Classical_Daoist_Thought

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“I held my baby and gave her a kiss, and then I had the thought that she was my mother in a past…”

“I held my baby and gave her a kiss, and then I had the thought that she was my mother in a past life, and that we are connected not just physically, but spiritually as well.”

Karma (and Porn) Made Simple!

matthewsatori:

I believe that karma is the natural law of cause and effect. It doesn’t mean that if you do a bad thing, then something unrelated will happen like getting struck by lightning.

It’s nothing magic or mysterious. Karma is not a cosmic form of punishment. It’s just basic cause and effect. Here is a simple, everyday example of karma…

If you masturbate to porn, you’ll probably miss out on having sex with your actual wife (or girlfriend), whether she finds out or not. Is this because the cosmic Buddha is punishing you for jerking the chicken? I doubt it.  

A more likely explanation is that pornography and masturbation cultivate an expectation of instant gratification, rather than being caring and kind to your actual wife, which leads to not having actual sex:

The Porn Myth
In the end, porn doesn’t whet men’s appetites—
it turns them off the real thing.
http://nymag.com/nymag/features/coverstory/n_9437/

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It’s time that I take Buddhism seriously…

matthewsatori:

I’ve been a Buddhist for two years, and recently I’ve been re-focusing on the reasons why I became a Buddhist in the first place, to live a more peaceful and wholesome life. 

Wherever we go after death, whether a Pure Land or a hell, is unknowable in the present because it’s outside our reach of experience. All we have right now is the here and now.  

Those who commit evil deeds all their life, thinking that the Buddha will “save” them if they just call his name, might be missing the original point of the Buddha’s teachings:
http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/ask-a-monk-2/questions-answers/pure-land-cause-and-effect

As the Buddha taught in the Dhammapada, “By oneself, indeed, is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself, indeed, is one purified. Purity and impurity depend on oneself. No one purifies another.” 

In the words of Shinran, who was falsely accused of antinomianism, “It is deplorable that you have told people to abandon themselves to their hearts’ desires and to do anything they want. One must seek to cast off the evil of this world and to cease doing wretched deeds; this is what it means to reject the world and to live the Nembutsu.” 

The Vimalakirti Sutra says of Mahayana practitioners, “Though they honor Buddhas by the millions, with every conceivable offering, they never dwell upon the least difference between the Buddhas and themselves.”

The above passage suggests that the relationship between the Buddha and ourselves is non-duality, that we are to work on awakening the Buddha within ourselves, rather than solely relying on an external Buddha to “save” us.

Buddhism traditionally teaches that our destination after death is conditioned by our actions in the present life:

Beings are born into a particular realm according to their past kamma. When they pass away, they take rebirth once again elsewhere according to the quality of their kamma: wholesome actions bring about a favorable rebirth, while unwholesome actions lead to an unfavorable one.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html

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As the Buddha taught in the Dhammapada, “By oneself, indeed, is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself, indeed, is one purified. Purity and impurity depend on oneself. No one purifies another.”

The Pure Land is Now or Never

matthewsatori:

Pure Land Buddhism is often called the combined practice of self-power and other-power, in which a person works on awakening the Buddha within oneself, while also awaiting the fullness of Buddhahood in the Pure Land.

In this understanding, there is no contradiction between Pure Land and Zen. In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Pure Land is now or never,” because our present thoughts and actions condition our future state of rebirth:

Actually, rebirth in the Pure Land is not at all contradictory to the law of karma.  Remember that through our actions such as reciting the Buddha’s name, visualization, vowing to be reborn in the Pure Land, living a compassionate and ethical life and so forth, we are setting up the conditions that allow us to be reborn in the Pure Land, both as a literal realm of rebirth and as the Pure Mind itself.  So it’s not a matter of a Buddha carrying us to some heavenly realm, it’s a cooperative practice between us and the spirit of Infinite Compassion and Wisdom.
http://www.cloudwater.org/index.php/ask-a-monk-2/questions-answers/pure-land-cause-and-effect

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Pure Land is now or never,” because our present thoughts and actions condition our future state of rebirth…