Ten Worlds (Nichiren Buddhism)


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  • In giapponese il mondo di apprendimento e’ indicato dalla parola SHOMON che letteralmente significa ascoltatori della voce, poiche gli Shomon era originariamente coloro che udivano la voce del Budda Shakyamuni quando predicava. In senso piu generale e piu adattabile ai giorni nostri, il mondo di apprendimento si applica a quell’aspetto della nostra coscienza che e’ in grado di imparare dall’esperienza degli altri e applicare cio’ che si apprende alla nostra stessa vita. Il mondo di apprendimento potrebbe quindi corrispondere all’intelligenza e allo studio delle conoscenze che sono a nostra disposizione. 1. 2. 3.Il mondo dell’Apprendimento e’ un mondo fondamentalmente egocentrico. Anche se lo scopo e’ il miglioramento, si tratta di un miglioramento che in gran parte serve solo a stessi. In quanto tale, l’Apprendimento ha una forte tendenza a cadere nel mondo di collera, a separare se stessi dalle altre persone e a guardarle dall’alto in basso. (questa tendenza e’ marcata in molti studenti e professori delle migliori universita’ e nelle professioni che richiedono un altao livello di allenamento intellettuale). Questo egocentrismo puo’ anche manifestarsi come uno stato di tale assorbimento della materia di proprio interesse che ogni altra cosa viene cancellata dalla propria visione. Puo’ risultare addirittura fatale quando appare in un gruppo di specialisti talmente occupati dai problemi tecnici della loro ricerca da non prendere pienamente in considerazione le implicazioni piu’ generali di cio’ che stanno facendo. Gli uomini che svilupparono la prima bomba atomica ricadono in questa categoria. 4.Il secondo limite e’ che le persone che hanno ottenuto un grande successo nel loro campo trovano spesso estremamente difficile accettare che le conclusioni cui sono arrivati non siano interamente corrette. La tendenza delle persone di Apprendimento a una tale fiducia presuntuosa nelle proprie capacita’ e giudizi non sarebbe poi tanto importante, non fosse per il fatto che le persone in cui questi mondi sono dominanti tendono a esercitare una notevole influenza se non addirittura potere sulla vita delle altre persone. Il mondo di apprendimento pur appertendo ai Quattro nobili sentieri ha una natura doppia. Nella loro espressione migliore, quando sono basati sul desiderio di migliorare la condizione umana, possono portare a scoperte immensamente benefiche; nell’espressione peggiore, quando sono fondati sul desiderio di estorcene piu profitti, possono portare allo sfruttamento degli altri, al degrado dell’ambiente naturale e, in definitiva, alla distruzione dellla vita stessa.
  • Do the The Ten Worlds match up against realities of our lives? It is easy to recognise them in our daily lives. There is no barrier between them, we move from one to another with great rapidity Nichiren Buddhism describes this fluency of movement by saying that each life state contains all the others. We can be at this moment in the life state of Humanity, with the feeling of peace, but all the other states are within us. We can move in a flash to anger or to Bodhisattva or in succession. What follows is important, it is the central promise given us by Nichiren, it is possible for us to experience Buddhahood in this lifetime, whatever the situation we are happens to be. We have within us a potential to move from despair of Hell to the compassion of Bodhisattva or to the profound hope or optimism of Buddhahood. Buddhahood is not a superhuman life state but a supremely human one. It contains within all the human life states.
  • Ten Worlds (Nichiren Buddhism)

    1. 1. Part 02 The Ten WorldsNichiren Buddhism
    2. 2. Objectives• Why are we here? 2
    3. 3. Ground Rules • Ask questions • Present your opinions • Talk one at a time • Do not compare religions • Do not present other religion’s view 3
    4. 4. Buying Happiness - Experiment 1• Imagine this situation: I give you $50 to spend it any way you like. The only stipulation is that you have to spend the entire amount on yourself.• Think what you would do with the money (3 min).• After you have decided what to do with the money, answer these two questions: 1. How happy would you feel as a result of spending the money according to your decision? Use a 10-point rating system in which 1 is not happy and 10 is intensely happy. Circle the number on the scale which would correspond to your feelings. 2. How long will your happiness last? A few minutes, few hours, few days, … ? Put a cross under the right answer. 4
    5. 5. Buying Happiness - Experiment 2• Same scenario, but with a minor twist: I give you $50 with the stipulation that you have to spend the entire amount on someone else.• Think how you would spend the money (3 min).• After you have decided, answer the same questions: 1. How happy would you feel as a result of spending the money according to your decision? Use a 10-point rating system in which 1 is not happy and 10 is intensely happy. Circle the number on the scale which would correspond to your feelings. 2. How long will your happiness last? A few minutes, few hours, few days, … ? Put a cross under the right answer. 5
    6. 6. Introduction• The ability of our minds is very swift in responding to external stimulus: every hour, every minute is different.• Buddhism is about ordinary daily lives of ordinary human beings it has to cope with this feature of our lives. An the concept of The Ten Worlds is a result.• The Ten Worlds are not objective places, they are subjective states inside our head, states of mind.• It could seem implausible to reduce a vast range of our constantly shifting responses to just 10 states: – Structure that undoubtedly stood the test of time – Passed a test of practicality, not for bookshelves - it is for our daily lives• A road map - helps us to interpret where we are in our subjective or emotional life• As far as Buddhism teaches that happiness and suffering come not from external factors of our lives but from deep within, then knowing more clearly where we as opposed to where we would like to be is a crucial piece of information.• The life state where we in from moment to moment effects everything in our life: how we feel, think, act, how we look, not to mention how environment responds. Think of anger… 6
    7. 7. The Ten Worlds• Not emotional ladder where we move up and down in a progressive way.• 10 worlds - entire universe of our mind, we move from one its part to another. Each of us possesses the potential for all ten, and we shift from one to another at any moment. At each moment, one of the Ten Worlds is being manifested and the other nine are dormant.• A caution: our mind is soft swift and the words are so cumbersome, that any attempt to describe this kaleidoscopic changes in our emotional life in words appears somewhat unreal. It feels like walking in wet concrete, everything is slowed down and slightly caricatured• Bearing this caution in mind let’s look briefly at this 10 life states Lower Worlds (or 6 Paths) Higher (Noble) worlds 1. Hell 7. Learning or Absorption 2. Hunger 8. Realisation 3. Animality 9. Bodhisattva 4. Anger 10. Buddha or Buddhahood 5. Humanity or Tranquillity 6. Rapture or Heaven 7
    8. 8. 1. Hell• State of suffering and despair• Filled with frustration, rage, helplessness and destructive impulses• We perceive we have no freedom of action• A feeling of being imprisoned by ones circumstances• There are graduations of this state: from unbearable day at work to the grief for a lost relative+ Having experienced hell helps us maintain a desire to better our circumstances. Empathy, understanding the sufferings of others. 8
    9. 9. 2. Hunger• Permanent dissatisfaction of how your life is now, because your desires are out of control• “Out of control” part is a problem• Always craving for something: money, power, status or whatever. But the feeling doesnt go away.• While desires are inherent in any of the Ten Worlds, in this state we are at the mercy of our cravings and cannot control them. We end up chasing one desire after another without feeling fulfilment or satisfaction. As soon as the desire has been achieved, a hunger seeks for another object to be possessed.• It is an addiction and as most addictions it is associated with suffering not only for oneself but also for those around us.+ Huge amount of drive and energy is locked up in a Hunger state. If redirected to the needs of others, can achieve great good. For example, people fighting tirelessly for nuclear disarmament are hungry for peace. 9
    10. 10. 3. Animality• Driven by instinct, lacking in reason and moral considerations• Those who are strong (or who knows) take advantage of those who are week (or unaware) in order to satisfy own ends regardless of the rights or the morality of the situation• Described as the Law of the jungles. Nowadays also mindless hooliganism and anti-social behaviour. No consideration on the anxiety or sufferings inflicted on those around them.• Absence of humanity is fundamental to this life state• Absence of wisdom and lack of judgement, no adherence to rules and regulations+ Protective instincts, for example, that we need more sleep. Preservation of self or others. 10
    11. 11. Three evil paths• Hell, Hunger and Animality - three evil paths• Not because they are associated with evil in the conventional sense but because they are a root cause of huge amount of suffering. They can tear life lives apart or render them unbearable• People in this life states tend to rotate trough them driven by the hunger for one thing or another, not aware on the effect on the people, creating pain and suffering in their own lives and lives of those close to them.• One of the great virtue from the knowledge of the Ten Worlds is that like a call. It can make you aware of the reality of the situation and act as a powerful stimulus to lift you out of it.• Few people would want to continue to dwell in these life states once they realise where they are 11
    12. 12. 4. Anger• As a Buddhist text describes it: "Since those in the world of Anger desire in every instance to be superior to everyone else and cannot bear to be inferior to anyone. At the same time, outwardly they seek to display the virtues of benevolence, justice, propriety, wisdom and fidelity."• Not simply the domination of the external manifestations of anger: shouting, threats storms of temper, but constant demands of one’s ego• At its heart there is a sense of the superiority over others with all the distortions of prospective• There will the sudden outburst of the anger, that may seem come from nowhere often surprising the owner of the anger as much as the victim• But there will be also other destructive behaviours like intolerance, cynicism, sarcasm, lack of gratitude, constant criticism of other people’s work• People in this state often find as difficult to live with themselves as other people find it to be with them, because they seem of not having real control of the source of the anger• Destructive to personal relationships• On a wide scale of society anger as a sense of superiority of self lies as the root of the whole range of injustices, from racism, religious intolerance to the depression of women and minority groups.+ Anger is a great achiever. Can be powerful driver towards change, fighter for injustice, dignity of the individual or the passion to fight authoritarian behaviour.The key to overcome the destructive side of the anger has to come from self- awareness. It can’t be just switched off or redirected from outside. 12
    13. 13. 5. Humanity (Tranquillity)• Life state when we are calm and in control of ourselves• Neutral state where nothing is excited or upset or requires a passionate response• It’s also called a state of rest, recharging our batteries• Positive qualities like reasonableness and self-judgement , consideration for others, ability to see clearly between truth and false• Actively seeking to achieve compromise, rather than conflict. For example, it might be a moment of apology after fly of temper or perhaps working hard not to loose your temper when somebody is being totally unreasonable- Negative aspect is certain amount of apathy revealed in a long-term acceptance of one’s status quo or unwillingness to make an effort. 13
    14. 14. 6. Heaven (Rapture)• Heaven represents what is described in Buddhism as relative happiness• It’s a wonderful act of joy and exhilaration, which we experience when we achieve something that we desire strongly• It bring with it a sense of personal fulfilment, the zest for life and outburst of energy e.g. setting on a holiday of falling in love.• But however wonderful exhilaration might be, however it enriches our lives the reality is that by its own nature the rapture is short-lived. A sudden pick of joy in a normal curve of our lives.• Although some people equate this transient state with the highest possible state of life, trying to make it permanent in their lives, Buddhism teaches that the idea of permanent rapture is simply unreal.• The desire to make this life state permanent leads to suffering. 14
    15. 15. Six Lower Worlds• The six states from Hell to Heaven are called the six paths or six lower worlds.• They have in common the fact that their emergence or disappearance is governed by external circumstances.• They very closely interlinked and we can easily step from one to another• As we fluctuate between this states we are at the mercy of our environment: like a boat on waves• Any happiness or satisfaction to be gained in these states depends totally upon circumstances and is therefore transient and subject to change• In these six lower worlds, we base our entire happiness on externals 15
    16. 16. Four Noble Paths• They could be described as representing a great potential in human life, not simply responding to movements in our external environment.• Taking control of our lives to make the very most of them• Marked by the considerable effort required from us to achieve them 16
    17. 17. Learning & Realisation• Learning and Realization are closely related.• Both are concerned with a strong desire for self-improvement although via different routes• We move to this states when we recognize that everything experienced in the six paths is impermanent and we begin to seek some lasting truth.• Achieved through deliberate effort, unlike the six paths, which are passive reactions to the environment• In those states the search for truth is primarily self-oriented, so there is a great potential for egotism in these two states 17
    18. 18. 7. Learning• Learning is mainly about studying, seeking the truth through the teachings or experience of others• We take knowledge and insight of others and apply them to our own life• It is also an attitude of wanting to learn, desire to discuss, ability to absorb knowledge: – A practical skill – A mastery of our work – The development of an interest• It can be dual. It can lead: – To immensely beneficial findings if based on the desire to improve human conditions – To exploitation of others, destruction of the environment and life itself if based on the desire of a profit 18
    19. 19. 8. Realisation • The process of inner reflection or consideration that enables us to work on the knowledge that we have acquired or the experiences we have been through to achieve a different level of understanding of life. In this sense it may be equated with wisdom or intuition • Having a wisdom or insight, an understanding of an aspect of life from our own observations and experiences. • Self-awakening to some truth or principle, a bit like Archimedes shouting Eureka in his bath! 19
    20. 20. Learning & Realisation Negative Sides• Knowledge can bring a sense of superiority over those who don’t have it: doctors for patients, professors for students, scientist for the general public• If our lives are strongly influenced by these two worlds: – We may find that we become arrogant and stubborn – We may become self-satisfied and think we know it all, and have no further need to improve ourselves. – We may feel we have escaped the six lower worlds and are better than the people in those worlds. At this point we begin to become gripped again by the lower worlds.• Can lead to self-centredness and separation from others• In the Lotus Sutra people of Learning and Realization were taught they could only enter the realm of Buddhahood only through faith, not through the intellect. 20
    21. 21. 9. Bodhisattva• It’s a technical term from Buddhist texts: Bodhi (enlightenment) and sattva (beings) - aspired to achieve enlightenment• The meaning behind this term is caring for others.• Giving yourself to support and improve the lives of others• This is a primary quality that modern psychological research suggests that is fundamental to the happiness in this life• Not simply to help other people but to alleviate the cause of their pain or suffering and to replace it with a greater sense of wellbeing• The immediate path out of the life states such as hell, hunger and anger is to find some way to contribute to the lives of others• Determined to enable all other beings to do the same• Bodhisattvas receive little public reward or recognition for their work and may pass most of their lives in relatively poor circumstances. Recognition and reward is clearly not their motivation. They are driven by a powerful compassion. This is the source of the greatest joy and fulfilment.• Buddhism teaches that Bodhisattva state should not be a self sacrificial.• This brings us to a life state of Buddhahood 21
    22. 22. 10. Buddhahood or Buddha• The highest state of life of which the human being is capable.• Overlaid by huge amount of misconception and misunderstanding. It can be difficult for us to believe that this life state can be attained by ordinary people going about their ordinary daily lives.• It is Nichiren who by studying Buddhist scripts brought Buddhahood down to Earth. Buddha was a human and his awakening was not a superhuman state.• Buddhahood is not elevation, a higher plane of our lives to which one can step.• It is a deeper and richer understanding of a mainstream of our life as it already is - everything that we already involved, even a suffering and struggling as well as happiness.• Find fulfilment in our daily activities and come to understand the purpose of being alive• A condition in which we enjoy: the highest life force, wisdom, compassion, courage, together with a good fortune 22
    23. 23. The Mutual Possession of the TenWorlds 5.Humanity 4.Anger 5 6 5 6 4 7 4 7 10 10 3 8 6.Heaven 3 8 3.Animality 2 9 2 9 1 5 6 1 5 6 4 7 4 7 10 10 3 8 3 8 10.Buddhahood 2 1 9 2 9 1 5 6 2.Hunger 7.Learning 4 7 5 6 5 6 10 7 3 8 4 4 7 10 2 9 3 8 10 1 3 8 2 9 1 2 9 1 8.Realisation 5 6 5 6 1.Hell 4 7 4 7 10 10 5 6 3 8 3 8 4 7 2 9 2 9 1 1 10 3 8 2 9 1 9.Bodhisattva 23
    24. 24. All the Ten Worlds are Necessary• Establishing Buddhahood as our basic life-tendency does not mean we rid ourselves of the other nine worlds.• All 10 Worlds are integral and necessary aspects of life. Without experiencing the sufferings of Hell ourselves, we could never feel true compassion for others. Without the instinctive desires represented by Hunger and Animality, we would forget to eat, sleep and reproduce ourselves, and soon become extinct.• Even if we establish Buddhahood as our fundamental life- tendency, we will still continue to experience the joys and sorrows of the nine worlds.• However, they will not control us, and we will not define ourselves in terms of them. Based on the life-tendency of Buddhahood, our nine worlds will be harmonized and function to benefit both ourselves and those around us. 24
    25. 25. Taking Responsibility for Our Lives• The overwhelming message is therefore is one of the immense optimism: we can bring out the strength, the hope and the life force of our Buddha nature challenge our situation and begin to turn it around.• It is taking responsibility for our life. We always have the choice of how to respond.• That’s why many people describe the effect of practice enabling. The take more control of their lives instead of drifting in response to circumstances.• Like a weight lifter: we cannot develop the stronger muscles except by lifting heavier weights. We cannot grow our strengths except by overcoming obstacles.• True happiness is not the absence of suffering. Happiness does not mean to have a life free of difficulties but whatever difficulty arise we can bring out the unshakable courage and conviction to fight and overcome it. 25
    26. 26. How Chanting Helps• We have our dominant state of life• Our life is made of decisions and actions based on these decisions• Out state of life influences what decisions we make• Chanting changes state of life• Hence, our decisions change and as a consequence, our actions• We make new causes, which produce new effects• We change our life, we change karma 26
    27. 27. The Ten Worlds - End 27