Difficulty accepting the 31 realms theory

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    • #16558

      I am having difficulty accepting the 31 realms theory i.e. Buddha’s world view. How do we know if this is real? I want the 31 realms theory to be true because that will give me hope that there is something beyond the mundane and boring lives that we go through but since I cannot perceive them I have to blindly believe it and this is where I am having difficulty, I cannot blindly believe it. If I know someone who has developed the powers to see these worlds then I can believe it. But I don’t know anyone like that.

      How do members of this site deal with this? Have you seen/perceived some of those realms?

    • #16559
      y not


      I understand your difficulty. Belief is a big thing to do because what if you are fooling yourself by believing, and others are fooling you? There are so many of them. Which one, if any, is based on truth, even if in part?

      My view is that precisely because of ‘the mundane and boring lives that we go through’, the sense of poetic justice, of the rule of right over wrong and that everything ‘falls into order’IN THE LONG RUN in the most perfect way possible demands that Existence must of necessity have the workings in place for all that to come about,whether we are aware of it or not. To me personally, it cannot be otherwise. Since coming across Buddhadhamma I see that that corresponds there in one sense to Atta.

      The 31 realms give the opportunity or place for all that to transpire. Of course, for a materialist with the mentality that this short life is all there is so ‘make the best of it and enjoy’, all that is a dreamer’s dream. But I am not urging you to believe, not even Buddhadhamma. Go a bit into it and see for yourself:

      -‘If I know someone who has developed the powers to see these worlds then I can believe it. But I don’t know anyone like that.’- :

      One is claimed to have SEEN Reality in its totality around 2,500 years ago. After about 500 years of oral tradition, the Teaching was put into writing. The doubt arises whether what was written was what the Buddha had actually said, and for that one will have to go into it deeper to see whether IT ALL MAKES SENSE. Because Reality MUST make sense. If I am ‘guilty’ of one belief, that would be it, but, again, ‘make sense’ in the long run, seeing that it does NOT make sense that a being’s life spans just 80 years or so in all eternity and on one planet among an infinite number of them in all infinity.

      The one realm of the 31 I had difficulty with was that of the niraya, and then again, not so much the existence of niraya per se but the conditions there, the sheer intensity and duration of the suffering there, both of which I saw as grossly disproportionate to the causes that lead there. Lal later gave the reason for that as well.

      Tho only advice I feel confident to give is to keep reading about these 31 realms and see what your mind will come to make of it as time goes by. Of course, you can never force your mind to accept anything, and you should not try either.

      y not

    • #16560

      @Aniduan said: “I am having difficulty accepting the 31 realms theory i.e. Buddha’s world view.”

      The 31 realms with our mundane mind might seen illusionary with the hell realm or the heaven realm (includes deva and brahma realms). In this human realm that we live in, we can experience what the hell realm are experincing when we are suffering pain (though may not be as worst as in niriya realm) and also the heaven realm when we experience happiness (as in deep state of meditation or just joyful sensure pleasure). As the saying goes “heaven and hell is in this world” as we experienced both.

      To know more about 31 realms, reading this book “The Thirty-One Planes of Existence” by Venerable Bhante Suvanno and the article “The Thirty-One Planes of Existence” at “www.accesstoinsight.org” helps.

      • #16572

        There is a mistake in the first article by Bhante Suvanno. It was mentioned that the highest 4 realms (28-31) are the Pure Abodes. Pure Abodes should be in the 23-27 realms.

    • #16573
      y not


      Also, on page 39, in relation to the deva realms, it is said:

      -‘..Thus there is no possibility of doing good or practicing the dhamma….and not having accumulated further merits..they are sure to descend to the four woeful states’

      The Buddha mentioned instances where so-and-so had ascended to such-and-such deva (or brahma) realm and ‘will obtain release from there’

      Had it said ‘there is little possibility’ instead of ‘no possibility’ would be more like it, as I see, for those without any magga phala. But further, those who are born there as Sotapannas or higher will have ‘great possibility’, if not the inevitability, to pracice the Dhamma and obtain release from there( as per the Budddha, as I see)

      y not

    • #16574

      The need to learn about the 31 realms is somewhat similar to the need to learn Abhidhamma. They are both not necessary, but could provide additional information to build faith in Buddha Dhamma. However, for those who are not that familiar with these, it could raise questions like the ones Aniduan has raised.

      Since Buddha Dhamma describes a much wider world (with 31 realms) than just the 2 realms (human and animal) that we are aware of, it initially takes some effort to start understanding this “big picture”. Even though 31 realms makes the picture more complex, it is necessary in order to have a self-consistent picture of the world.

      For example, it is not possible to explain laws of kamma and paticca samuppada without the 31 realms. Let me just take a simple example to make this point.

      Births in various realms are according to one gati.
      One’s gati are cultivated via “what kind of things one enjoys or likes”: “pati icca leading sama uppada” or paticca samuppada; see, “Paticca Samuppāda – “Pati+ichcha”+”Sama+uppāda“.

      Those with vicious hateful gati are likely to be born in the niraya (hell). Those with excess greed are likely to be born in the preta realms. Those with “lazy gati” are likely to be born in the asura realm. Those with “animal gati” in animal realms, those with “good moral gati” in human and deva realms. On the other hand, there are some who cultivate jhana and value jhanic pleasures much more than sense pleasures in human and deva realms. They are born in the brahma realms.

      Since there are very few with abhinna powers these days, it may be a bit difficult to “believe in the existence of those realms”. On the other hand, for those who have studied Dhamma in detail, it is easy to see the need for all those realms.

      So, it depends on the person. This is why each person should follow what makes sense and other things may become clear with time. It is not possible for each and every person to have the same understanding, which evolves with time too.

      For a deeper analysis, see: “Buddha Dhamma: Non-Perceivability and Self-Consistency“.

    • #16579

      One way to infer the possibility of non-human existence is to observe those medium who could summon spirits and communicate with the dead. Some are eerily accurate in assessing the issue at hand faced by the client. Ghosts and spirits have abhinna powers too! The medium might not be summoning the actual dead family member or relative, but some lowly spirits or peta who are severely deprived of merits. They are in such a pitiful state of deprivation that they are willing to possess a filthy human body to make the medium enter a trance and convey message to the client, thinking that they could make merits this way. The higher devas would never want to even come close to our filthy bodies. We smell too badly for them.

      Paranormal accounts related from family members, relatives, and friends help too. Since young I am intrigued by stories of the supernatural world. My late maternal grandmother and my mother saw deities before. I don’t think I have any reason to doubt them. I personally have encountered some strange happenings/sightings which really led me to strongly believe that non-human is not a figment of our imagination.

    • #16680

      This could be a Peta, Butha or a Deva.

      Search for “SLS Camera footage” on youtube for more.

    • #16712
      one another

      “If I know someone who has developed the powers to see these worlds then I can believe it.”

      No. you may believe them just on the surface. you will never believe in them thoroughly unless, you experience and see things by your own self.

      And besides 31 realms theory, you will find much more theory that exist in Buddhism which is beyond this mundane lives such as ‘Abhiññāṇa'(psychic powers).

      If ones can practice meditation and developed certain level of concentration, they also can practice to developed those psychic powers like divine eye, divine ear, or even the ability to read other’s mind.
      Do you believe it..?

      I even can tell you, there is, Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami, that still exist in this era and teachings Dhamma.
      But, can you believe this..?

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