Message Boards Message Boards

Toggle
Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 6:30 PM
I have a question. Do heaven and hell exist?

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 7:32 PM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Yes Goran, thank you. We all have been wanting to ask these and many more questions to Daniel. We all know he wrote an amazing book on meditation, and of course, that left us wondering what else he was keeping up his sleeves!

So I am happy to announce, in this forum for the very first time, that Daniel is planning to release a new book. The title is "The Truth," by Daniel Ingram, MD, and includes, the answers to the following eternal questions, all of which where given to Daniel by god himself, in the deepest samadhi:

Fact and fiction about the Afterlife,

How to stop loosing your keys,

How to have a wife and a lover and maintain sexual potency,

Ten things to avoid when talking to your boss' wife,

The secret of a good rosbife.


But currently Daniel is in a state of profound absortion, set to unravel the mystery of whether one should tie the lacers in the right shoe before the left, or vice-versa, and this may take a while. So I'll leave you with the following Zen Koan about heaven and hell, where you will learn, as Daniel and god have both concluded, that

Heaven is being OK when someone spits in your face.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 7:56 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
That does not answer my question.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 7:59 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
ROFL!!!!! My goodness......

Not sure what Daniel will say but I'll give it a shot.

Heaven is a good hot meat pie on a very cold day and the 5 pure abode jhanas and the after effects of nirodha samapati.

Hell is the result of eating a cold samosa in New Delhi, India and peeing out my butt for 8 hours straight and 7 years of pre-path dukkha nanas.


Nick

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 8:02 PM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Bruno, you are a funny guy. I am just wondering does an Arahant know these things and is he willing to share it with us.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 8:12 PM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Hey Goran,

Why do you want to know? Are you practicing meditation? Do you think knowing something like that will help you in some way?
Do you have your own experiences? Even though this place has a section for Theoreticians and Traditionalists, I don't think anyone here really "needs" to know about whether an actual plane of existence of hell or heaven actually exists, because most here are meditation practice orientated. It is not necessary to know such stuff, in my opinion. However if Danile has a cool story of fighting off hellish demons while astral travelling, i will read it with gusto.

Also.... are you sussing out whether Daniel is really an arhat or not? If he tells you he has supernatural powers and can see avici hell and experience the highest heavens (which he probably can through the pure abode jhanas, I can verify their heavenliness) , you will accept him as an arhat?

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 8:27 PM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Goran, since you're such a good sport emoticon I think the Zen koan I linked to is the closest to an answer anybody can give you. Maybe that answers your question? (meaning, heaven and hell are just two words to metaphorically group two sorts of mental phenomena, such as anger vs. peace)

Technically speaking, it is known that you can:
1. Feel very intense things about which you could metaphorically say that they are "hell," or "heaven."
2. Practice working with your visual field, imagination, and dreaming ability to the point that you will vividly hallucinate places that look like "heaven" or "hell." (this is called "astral travel")
3. Come to believe, by virtue of such hallucinations, or by specifically training yourself to believe, that there literally exist such things as heaven and hell.

I can point you to books about meditation techniques to accomplish both 1, 2, and 3, if you like, although I haven't tried them myself. Maybe that answers your question? (meaning, it is just a matter of practice)

I think however that Daniel hasn't investigated much into these, nor being a arahat seems to have much to do with these matters.

It turns out that people who practice meditation coming from a more religious background will be way more likely to see angels and demons and whatnot, while people with a non-religious education will not. Maybe that answers your question? (meaning, it is just a matter of belief)

Bruno

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 8:36 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I thought that an Arahant develops dibbacakkhu. But perhaps that is too traditional to think.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 8:37 PM as a reply to Nikolai ..
Knowing it would help me on my path.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 9:43 PM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Goran Smolcic:
Knowing it would help me on my path.


How would it help? Details please!

And ANYONE (supposedly) can develop jhanas and the (supposed) supernatural powers like the one you mention. You don't have to be enlightened, just an avid jhana enthusiast. And as an arahat, I would assume it would be their choice to develop such a skill (speculation) or not. It probably wouldn't be automatic. I can tell you third path hasn't brought me any powers yet except access to jhanas and nirodha samapati and a strong will of mind.......and peace....and the ability to hold my breath longer. That's about it.....but I havent put any effort into developing powers.


DETAILS PLEASE!!!

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/5/10 10:10 PM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
ROFLMAO! I laughed so hard when I read this thread, it made my day. I dunno why I found it that funny. Bruno's answer was pretty entertaining too. If Daniel really has an answer to this I can't wait to hear it. Goran, perhaps you can check out Sutta 63 from the Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha called the Culamalunkya Sutta.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/7/10 12:34 AM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Define "exist" in a way that is meaningful to you. While you are at it, define "reality".

Do dreams "exist"?

Do transient sensations "exist"?

Do "you" "exist"?

Is reality the sum total of experiences that can arise in anyone? Is reality the standard material universe of physics, chemistry and biology?

Is reality the consensus reality of some tradition, with 33 realms of existence precisely defined as such?

What the hell are you talking about?

What are you actually getting at here, practically, experientially, in a way that has something to do with mastering the art of insight or concentration or morality here and now?

What is the question behind the question and why? How will the answer do something useful?

Thanks for the humor above, btw.

D

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/16/10 12:28 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I am sorry Daniel, I did not mean to upset you. I just fear that people I know could be reborn sooner or later in such planes of deprivation. In fact I fear that all people could sooner or later end up there unless they all achieve Bodhi. Knowing there is no Niraya would ease my mind. I just hoped for an answer from someone who has cognized such things. I trust in other people's experiences but I am not naive and people have to earn my trust.
Based upon what I read in your book you are an Arahant, but I do not know that for certain. P.S. I do not have blind faith in the Dhamma, only faith I have is in my practice and experience. I do not rely upon dogmas. I also believe in the middle way.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/8/10 9:10 AM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
I've thought about that many times as well..

I think they do exist. I see the logic behind it.
from what i understand, reincarnation/rebirth seems to have more evidence nowadays to the point that its more probable that rebirth is true than not true.
I do not have blind faith and I do not hold on to that view that tight, but I do not see why not.

the thought has motivated my practice and allowed it to continue.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/8/10 3:56 PM as a reply to Dark Night Yogi.
DNY, if you mean that it has logic, in the sense that the Buddhist worldview is completely self-consistent, then I would agree. The whole idea of karma etc makes up for a very beautiful story of what the universe is, why it is the way it is, etc.

But if you're going to use the word "evidence," then, ... quite frankly...

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/8/10 11:46 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
yeah, i know what you mean..

I guess evidence is a grey area word. If people can recall what they felt was their past life, or children before the age of 5, then you can consider that evidence.
i never really studied the proper high analytical philosophy or logic behind it that would convince me that the proof is undeniably true, but the evidence that there isn't rebirth is incomplete, the evidence that there is is also incomplete.
They're both incomplete, but also, why is the burden of proof for it to be true? the burden of proof could just as well be to prove its not true.

Maybe whats important is how one hold's the view. its also fun, entertaining and stimulating stuff to think about which may also do good for creativity. :p

If there are systems that explains another more consistent theory.. I am open to them.. If ever that there is a more consistent theory about it now or in the future, I think or predict or guess that it would also have similarities to buddhist theories..
The other theories I read about on the web seem to make sense too and seem to have similarities..

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/8/10 11:52 PM as a reply to Dark Night Yogi.
but i dont think that thinking it is true is bad.. as long as its not blind faith or held in an unhealthy way.
i do have curiosity about it and that is also something that i wouldnt mind understanding or experiencing more of throughout the years to come..

Do you think that holding a view is unhealthy, and stimulates ignorance, craving, aversion..

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/9/10 7:57 AM as a reply to Dark Night Yogi.
Well, ignorance, craving and aversion aren't these "mysterious things," right? I mean, after stream entry the movement of these three processes became very obvious, at least for me...

What I do believe is that whenever one can apply Occam's razor, one might as well do it. I mean, one doesn't need to believe a theory of reincarnation to be a good meditator, so why should one?

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/9/10 12:11 PM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
What I do believe is that whenever one can apply Occam's razor, one might as well do it. I mean, one doesn't need to believe a theory of reincarnation to be a good meditator, so why should one?


to get rid of confusion, uncertainty, doubt. Maybe for some people, these thoughts don't leave them alone, and some peoples personalities prefer to close things instead of leave them open ended...? for some people, the reason they get into meditation is also to find out answers to such questions..

contemplating on interdependence and rebirth can also strengthen one's determination, compassion and sense of responsibility..Tibetan monks wish infinite rebirths, using rebirth as a strategy to boost their motivation for practice.. "reach for the stars"
from my understanding, tibetans don't believe theories, but they have pretty advanced systems for finding these stuff out, so theyre not really using blind faith.. and a lot of 'secret' techniques and stuff..i could be very well wrong coz ive also heard that tibetan buddhism is also inconsistent. but if there were a way to find out for myself, then why not, it is one of the most popular mysteries to humankind.

The Dalai Lama says it gives him the feeling of "worth".
For me I think I'd cling less to this life if I knew there was rebirth, and it would make me relax more about personal goals or fantasies of being a rockstar.. thinking I've already done it before, and will do it some other time.. It would let me relax more about finding my soulmate.. thinking it isn't worth forcing it. Maybe next life.. Stuff like that..
if I thought that there would be no rebirth, then it might make me complacent in fixing unfinished business, knots that i need to untie and resolve that may show up in a future life.

directly unrelated but pretty interesting http://www.primalspirit.com/pr1_1sheldrake_nature_as_alive.htm if there are enough people who wish to be reborn, then maybe they have the power to make rebirth possible.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/11/10 4:18 PM as a reply to Dark Night Yogi.
Hi DNY,

Dark Night Yogi:
For me I think I'd cling less to this life if I knew there was rebirth, and it would make me relax more about personal goals or fantasies of being a rockstar ...if I thought that there would be no rebirth, then it might make me complacent in fixing unfinished business, knots that i need to untie and resolve that may show up in a future life.


Heh, funny how this one used to work exactly the other way around for me. For years, ideas like personal rebirth were high on my list of Beliefs That Turn People Into Sheep, making them complacent and easy to manipulate. You know, that list which also includes Christian heaven and hell, the idea that men have automatic social precedence over women (apparently due to the singular merit of men's external genitalia), the idea that averages are somehow special and preferred, and so on. Any idea which conveys the comfort that all might not be well, but within my little realm of illusions and hopes, I am the lord of all I survey - those ideas which give power away (to other people, to Death in the case of personal rebirth, etc).

I don't care for personal rebirth either way, neither as something that regrettably doesn't take place, nor as some comfortable means for procrastination. What I read in the buddha's sermons on rebirth is only, exclusively the urge to get over this, either way: both to stop fooling oneself into believing that there are innumerable lives available to dump all kinds of unfinished business into, as well as to stop being paralyzed by the idea of personal obliteration, but instead to strongly investigate just how it is to be a living human being here on earth right now - including the rockstar fantasies which are, after all, taking place right now, in the present moment. Fantasies of the future - occur in the present moment. Regrets about the past - happen in the present. This is it. There's nothing besides. Watch it happen. That's how I interpret the idea of rebirth as presented in the suttas.

One of the few surviving works of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus is his letter to Menoeceus, which contains the remarkable phrase death is nothing to us. Compare with the Buddha's peculiar way of stating that Mara, Death, can't locate the mind of an Arahant. Big clues in their own right, I feel.

So I got side-tracked a bit. Anyway: the personal rebirth stuff can be great fuel for practice, either as a source of anger to ride, as in my case, or, as in your case, as a source of tranquility to slow down a bit. As long as it gets one to practice, I see it as a useful thing.

Cheers,
Florian

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
7/16/10 12:37 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I am glad that this thread turned out to be humorous and again I am sorry for making Daniel a little upset if I did. I am sure I will find this forum useful and make new online friendships.

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
10/13/10 6:52 PM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Hm, I think the knowing (or lack of) of whether there is a heaven or a hell, or whether there is reincarnation and rebirth or not becomes less and less of an issue as one attains to higher paths. Probably that's why most of us experienced yogis do not dwell on them as much (although it would be nice to know the answers to such things). I find the question of how do stem cells know when and how to replicate, and when one of them starts to turn into a given tissue and the one right next to it into a totally different one is equality fascinating, yet I'm pretty sure knowing/not knowing this has had no impact on my ability to attain enlightenment.


I'm probably going to get crucified (no religioius pun intented) for saying this, but IF we reincarnate and we've been doing this lots of times before, then why care if my loved ones are going to be doing it another few hundreds of thousands of times? After all, the human dies and there is no more, and if there is something reincarnating I would think they would be as ok as they were in this lifetime. Again, I feel like that "clinging" to the idea of "oh poor ones around me not reaching enlightenment, they will have to come back many more times" fades as one reaches higher paths and one sees all these mental formations as having the very 3 characteristics everything in the manifest have.

My experience has shown me that my true nature of pure non-localized primordial awareness (or the Void, take your pick) is absolutely and utterly independent of conditions (and it is obviously true by definition). Being fully awakened brings one to the realization that one is "free" from every single manifestation possible (specially these mind formations) and thus although they (manifestations) will continue to arise, endlessly, one's relationship with them is finally see for what it is.

The question becomes even more irrelevant once we start to get familiar with the whole concept of being fully aware of the Here and Now, and once that shift takes place it becomes obvious that the only thing that has meaning is whatever is happening at the very moment of the Now. The concepts of being born and dying, becoming and not becoming, coming and going, even being and not being, become non-applicable (didn't mean to sound so "Thich Nhat Hanh-like" at the end)

those are my two cents.

Metta,
JF

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
12/22/10 4:17 AM as a reply to Goran Smolcic.
Hi Goran,
I'm new here but decided to dive in and add my two cents to the debate. Of course it's theoretical but it resonates in me as having some truth.
I think heaven and hell do exists in some form. Research on near death experiences has revealed that often people 'travel' to hell realms during the experience of dieing and that far from everyone reports the classic white light at the end of a tunnel experience although some do. The range of people who report such experiences is vast with many of them seemingly clean living, decent sorts. Of course, they are usually motivated to change something about their lives as it acts as a wake up call to how they are living.
Considering that these people are clinically considered dead for a brief period, we could probably argue safely that some dark realm exists, but whether it exists as a sort of external realm or a manifestation of the mind, I've no idea. It's probably beyond our limited comprehension to grasp such realities consciously.
The good news is though, if you are concerned about such things, is that many people do report ecstatic experiences of travelling to some sort of light realm, meeting with loved ones or some god type entity. If it just a subjective manifestation of the mind, at least for some it's a pleasant experience before they reincarnate (Am I expected to back up my open minded belief about reincarnation here or not?)
Chogyam Trungpa in one his books spoke of the six realms as mental states that we live through, which is probably more helpful. I don't remember the title if you're interested in exploring that further.
Matthew

RE: Question for Daniel Ingram
Answer
9/3/11 2:08 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
I was raised an atheist; I had never seen a picture of a wrathful deity before I had very vivid and personal contact with one. From my visions there are many more categories of hells then the suttas/sutras speak of. I have gone into the bardo many times and seen various beings. Applying a technique extrapolated from reading Guru Rinpoche's works, I have made contact with pretas many times. Pretas and hell beings are as real as any other sentient being.