small lotusThe ten worlds
I thought some people might be interested in some definitions from Buddhism which are some I have found useful in daily life.

THE TEN WORLDS OR BASIC LIFE CONDITIONS

These are the  life conditions or ten worlds which expand into the three thousand worlds in momentary existence through mutual possession and factors of time and place. These are the basic emotional ,mental and spiritual states that humans experience from moment to moment in lifeEach world can contain elements of the others  ( mutual possession) and it is rare to be entirely in one "world" at any one time. Though most people are mainly in one basic life condition at any given time. These are conditions of daily life rather than external conditions.


They are:

 HELL:
  All conditions of suffering and despair. In this state, we are utterly devoid of freedom and undergo extreme and indescribable suffering.

HUNGER:
  Consumed by desire and sense of lack, Hunger is a state characterized by an insatiable desire. In this state, a person is tormented by relentless craving and by his inability to satisfy it.

INSTINCT ( ANIMALITY)
 The state of Animality is governed by instinct, and one has no sense of reason or morality. A person in the state of Animality is in fear of the strong, but despises and preys upon those weaker than himself. One is dominated by a selfish ego. A person in this state is compelled by the need to be superior to others in all things, despising others and valuing himself alone.

ANGER
 The fourth world is ANGER. All aspects of anger, hostility and rage from whatever motivation and whether directed to others or to oneself.  This  world also can involve striving for power and domination.

These four states are collectively called the Four lower worlds

HUMANITY / TRANQUILITY OR MUNDANE WORLD
 The fifth world is the normal basic state of neutral humanness. In this state, one can pass fair judgment, control his instinctive desires with reason, and act in harmony with his environment or society.

RAPTURE
 The sixth world is HEAVEN or RAPTURE.

This state indicates the sense of pleasure and ecstasy which one feels when desire is fulfilled. However, the joy in this state is temporary and disappears with the passage of time or with even a slight change in circumstances. It is said that the fastest and  shortest road to Hell (suffering) is from Rapture.

These six worlds from Hell through Heaven, are where The majority of people spend most of their time. Moving back and forth among them. In these states, one is governed by reactions to external influences and is therefore extremely vulnerable to changing circumstances.

LEARNING
 the seventh world.
 Learning is a condition that seeks some lasting truth. Generally one enters this life condition after pursuing the truth of life through the teachings of others.

This life condition is relatively free from avarice, anger, stupidity, arrogance and doubt, as well as from bias or depravity. However, a selfish or arrogant mind, although hidden, is still present to some extent in this life condition.

REALIZATION
 the eighth world.

 It is a condition in which one seeks some lasting truth through their own observations and effort. One attains a degree of emancipation by perceiving the chain of causation, or by observing the natural order. In other words, he understands cause and effect as the nature of life in the universe. Because this is a life condition a reached upon discovering the truth in the universe, after much effort, the sense of fulfillment felt in this state may be deeper than that gained in the World of Learning.

Realization as well as Learning can often turn into arrogance, because people in these life conditions become stubbornly attached to their own realization with its limited perspective. Learning and Realization are called the two vehicles. The defect of the two vehicles lies in the fact that persons in these states may primarily seek only their own salvation  and enlightenment.

 BODHISATTVA or COMPASSIONATE ALTRUISM
The ninth world.
 In this state, one aspires to enlightenment and also devotes themselves to compassionate actions  and dedication to altruism.
Those in this state dwell among common mortals of the Six Paths humbly, while respecting others. They draw evil to themselves and give benefit to others. This life condition is characterized by the great desire to extend help to those who are suffering.

BUDDHAHOOD, Enlightenment or ACTUALIZATION
 The tenth world

 This is the highest life condition in all of the Ten Worlds. It is a state of perfect and absolute freedom, in which one enjoys boundless wisdom and compassion, and is filled with the courage and power to overcome all hardships. This is the condition which underlies the rich, altruistic activities of the Bodhisattva, in which one takes the sufferings of others as his own and defies all obstacles to help others change their destiny. by demonstrating how to help people call up their own Buddhahood from within themselves.

-- The elements of cause and effect which is basic to universal phenomena or Karma are:
 the aspect (appearance), the nature, the entity, the power, the action, the cause , the relationship, the effect , the reward (or result) and the consistency from beginning to end .

©Peggy Jentoft 1998

 



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