I just saw a show on History Channel about the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

I’m confused about a few things. It said that one of the goals of Buddhism is to break out of the circle of karma, but wouldn’t this mean that one could be an evil person without fear of the consequences? Seriously, it talked of the monks chanting to help the passing soul beat death’s judgment. The passing soul could then choose his/her own destiny. The person who wrote the book even hid it for 600 years because he saw that it could be used for evil, but what makes anyone think that we are less likely to be evil now, instead of 600 years ago?

Another goal in Buddhism is to end suffering, but it then said that one should choose to be reincarnated as a human so that he/she can further study suffering instead of a God, which would put an end to suffering. Huh?

Also, what’s the deal with all the men? Why can’t there be women in Buddhism?

3 Comments

  • i have not read this book.

    but i have read many other books on buddhism.

    there is always some confusion in buddhism over the issue of death, since buddhism does not believe in soul.

    however, in hinduism it is a clear cut fact that there is a soul (i m not in the matter of jeevatma and parmatma)(it does not matter you believe in god or not).

    also, the soul is immortal and there are many methods to get rid of cycle of birth.

    if u compare advait vedanta with buddhism there are many similarities, but on the issue of soul there is contradiction. there are many books and articles written by buddhist monks indicating this difference.

    i know this information is not sufficient to ur answer as i have not read that book, but this information will give just some indications.

  • The whole concept is, as you say, that the idea of this human life is precious and we should work to subdue our bad karma and make use of the good karma.

    There’s many books on the topic, and it’s easy to get confused, but it’s so broad I’ll try to paraphrase: Depending on your state of mind or conditions at your death, monks can guide you to a more auspicious birth, based on the training you’ve already had.

    A human rebirth is so difficult to obtain, it’s said that it’s like a ring floating on the ocean and the chances that one turtle will pop its head up through the ring… it’s just that difficult. So it’s precious time we should spend subduing your bad karma enough to attain a human rebirth or one in which we can practice the dharma all the time.

    Suffering is a thing which is based on incorrect view of things. All things are obviously (as you know I chirp about this constantly) changing and impermanent, so if you’re not already in an awakened state (a Buddha), which I don’t know if you are or not, then you have time to work towards it. We cling to life, often fearful of what death is and it’s really not that difficult to grasp with the right understanding of the philosophy.

    So, for example, suffering can be about anything and on any level, such as immediate irritation when your cell phone rings and it’s not who you want to talk to, your car breaks down, someone whacks your paintjob, your transmission drops out, you break a nail or get a splinter. These are all things people call “suffering” and only a grazing of what the Buddha said about it, but it gives you an idea.

    Anyway, taking rebirth in a god realm isn’t what you want… it’s the result of doing a lot of good karma in past lives, but as soon as that karma wears off you wind up in a hell realm (cold or hot), so the idea is to learn how to SEE and UNDERSTAND that what you’re seeing is empty of inherent existence. Then when life smacks you in the chops you understand it’s not really anything to get worked up about because it’ll go away and it’s only as much as a pain in the fanny as you let it be.

    Buddhism is about subduing, not eliminating, and ending the buttons that we let others push, including our pushing of our OWN buttons.

    Oh and the woman thing… they’re working on getting women ordained too. Venerable Thubten Chodron and Pema Chodron are only two nuns who are working the solutions out.

    I hope this helps… this stuff can be confusing.

    _()_

  • I’ve watched this show also on the History Channel. But I don’t know to much about Buddhism to explain anything to you. But what I remember is that they said that when you died you went to this vault and they asked you rather you want to live on and if you did good you get to back as somthing good and if you did bad you come back as somthing bad.

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