Livet efter döden enligt buddhismen

Jag kände inte till att buddhismen lär att det finns en rad olika platser där livet fortsätter efter döden:

A consideration that has motivated many Buddhists to vow to follow rules of moral discipline is a wish to avoid the karmic consequences of actions that harm others. These consequences have traditionally been understood largely in terms of rebirth in the various realms of cyclic existence. In the earliest texts, there are five such realms: the hells, the worlds of hungry ghosts, animals, and humans, and the heavenly worlds of the gods (Skt. deva). Later texts add a sixth realm, that of the titans (Skt. asura).

The hells are terrible places of torture and suffering, in which beings who are dominated by anger and hatred are cut to pieces, burned, frozen, and tormented by demonic apparitions that are in fact projections of their own distorted minds. Hungry ghosts are depicted with large bellies and tiny mouths; driven by greed, they seek endlessly for something to eat or drink, but even when they find a morsel they can swallow, it turns into filth or fire in their mouths. Animals are seen as dominated by stupidity, limited to a fixed set of possible behaviors and primarily trying simply to survive. In this system, the human world is primarily characterized by the instrumental pursuit of objects of desire. The titans are powerful beings who live in relatively pleasant circumstances, but are driven by competitiveness and obsessively envious of the splendor of the gods. They continually plot to invade the heavens. Unfortunately for the titans, when they actually do battle with the gods, they always lose. The gods of the lower heavens, the heavens of desire, live in palaces of astonishing beauty and exquisite sensual pleasure. Blinded by pride, they disregard the suffering of those below them and ignore the fact that their high status is impermanent: they, too, will die. At the top of cyclic existence, in the heavens of form and the formless heavens, other gods rest in a state of peaceful, quiet bliss, with almost no manifest suffering and for vast, but finite, periods of time.

Actions motivated by greed, hatred and delusion have a tendency to drive those who do them into the three lower realms of suffering: the hells, the hungry ghost realm, and the animal realm. Actions carried out with better motivations, but still infused with a sense of self, tend to produce rebirth in the three higher realms of titans, humans, and gods. Vast numbers of sentient beings are trapped in this cycle, continually wandering from one realm to another, unable to escape and forced to experience the forms of suffering that exist in each realm. The human realm is particularly fortunate, because it is only in this realm that one can attain Awakening, which liberates one from the whole cycle.

Titaner! Detta är ju rafflande. Läs mer om buddhistisk etik (och de olika former den tar) här. För en mer skeptisk inställning till påståenden att det finns liv efter döden (rafflande idéer om titaner till trots) kan man hänvisa till David Hume och Bertrand Russell samt till Karl Lagerfeld och Robert Nozick.

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