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Transcript
Samsara
Buddhism: The Human Condition
Samsara
 Means the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
 Unenlightened beings are trapped in the cycle of life, death
and rebirth because of greed, hatred & ignorance (the 3 root
poisons).
 We can be born into one of six realms:




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Human Realm
Realm of the Hungry Ghosts
Animal Realm
Deva (gods) Realm
Ashura (demi-gods) Realm
 This is illustrated in the wheel of samsara.
Wheel of Samsara
Human Realm
 The Human realm is the best realm to be born into, as it is
only from this realm is it possible to attain enlightenment as a
Buddha. (A Buddha being a person who has attained
enlightenment without the help of the teaching of others).
 Theravada
 An arhat (who has the help of teachers) can attain enlightenment
from the realms of the devas.
 Mahayana
 A bodhisattva can appear in many different types of lives, for
instance as a human an animal or as a deva.
Realm of the Hungry Ghosts
 The hungry ghosts are just that, constantly hungry and thirsty
but never able to satisfy their hunger or thirst.
Animal Realm
 It takes many lives in the animal realm to build up enough
merit to be reborn as a human.
Deva (gods) Realm
 The Deva realm is also sometimes called the realm of the
gods, because its inhabitants are so powerful within their own
realm, that compared to humans, they resemble the gods of
Greek or Roman mythology. They are not gods in the way we
normally think of them.
 Mahayana
 The disadvantage of this realm is that things are so very
comfortable there, that these beings completely neglect to work
towards enlightenment. Instead they gradually use up the good
karma they had previously accumulated, and so they
subsequently fall to a lower rebirth.
 Theravada
 They only have 5 realms because they count the Deva & Ashura
Realms as one Realm.
 According to Theravada tradition it is possible to attain
enlightenment from this realm.
Ashura (demi-gods) Realm
 The Asura realm is the realm of the demigods (half gods).
 They may be here because in human form they had good
intentions but committed bad actions such as harming others.
 The Asuras are said to experience a much more pleasurable
life than humans, but they are plagued by envy for the devas,
whom they can see just as animals can perceive humans.
 Theravada
 They only have 5 realms because they count the Deva & Ashura
Realms as one Realm.
 According to Theravada tradition it is possible to attain
enlightenment from this realm.
Hell Realm
 The Hell Realm is a rebirth based on strong states of hatred
cultivated in a previous life or lives.
Samsara
 In Buddhism, there is no reincarnation as there is no soul
to be reborn.
 Rebirth in Buddhism is more like a transfer of energy.
Think about one pool ball hitting another, the first one stops
dead and the ball which has been hit travels on. Another way
to imagine it is lighting a new candle with the flame of an old
one.
 Sometimes this energy can carry a memory with it (see
Tibetan Buddhist idea of Tulkus / Dalai Lama etc).