BuddhismSee also: Nirvana
In Buddhism there are several heavens, all of which are still part of samsara (illusionary reality). Those who accumulate good karma may be reborn in one of them. However, their stay in the heaven is not eternal—eventually they will use up their good karma and will undergo a different rebirth into another realm, as humans, animals or other beings. Because heaven is temporary and part of samsara, Buddhists focus more on escaping the cycle of rebirth and reaching enlightenment (Nirvana).
There are several different types of heavens also based on how the human lives a life along career lines. It is declared that a warrior who fights for good, and dies for his or her duties will enter the realm of the "devas of passionate delight," while an actor that makes audiences laugh will enter the realm of the "laughing devas."
According to Buddhist cosmology the universe is impermanent and beings transmigrate through a number of existential "planes" in which this human world is only one "realm" or "path".
These are traditionally envisioned as a vertical continuum with the heavens existing above the human realm, and the realms of the animals, Hungry ghosts and hell beings existing beneath it. According to Jan Chozen Bays in her book, Jizo: Guardian of Children, Travelers, and Other Voyagers, the realm of the asura is a later refinement of the heavenly realm and was inserted between the human realm and the heavens. One important Buddhist heaven is the Trāyastriṃśa, which resembles Olympus of Greek mythology.
In the Mahayana world view, there are also pure lands which lie outside this continuum and are created by the Buddhas upon attaining enlightenment. These should not be confused with the heavens as the pure lands are abodes of Buddhas, which the heavens are not and heavens are looked at "impermanent" places to be reincarnated in, as heavenly beings still have to die and be reincarnated into lower realms. This confusion can be made worse when writers use such words 'paradise' to denote such pure lands.
One notable Buddhist pure land is the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. Rebirth in the pure land of Amitabha is seen as an assurance of Buddhahood for once reborn there, beings do not fall back into cyclical existence unless they choose to do so to save other beings, the goal of Buddhism being the obtainment of enlightenment and freeing oneself and others from the birth-death cycle.
One of the Buddhist Sutras states that a hundred years of our existence is equal to one day and one night in the world of the thirty-three gods. Thirty such days add up to their one month. Twelve such months become their one year, while they live for a thousand such years though existence in the heavens is ultimately finite and the beings who reside there will reappear in other realms based on their karma.
The Tibetan word Bardo means literally "intermediate state". In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva.
Read more about this topic: Heaven
Other articles related to "buddhism":
... competed in political and spiritual realm with Buddhism in the gangetic plains while Buddhism flourished in the realms of the Bactrian kings ...
... Bodhidharma, a patriarch of Zen Buddhism was of the original Kshatriya caste ... Nagarjuna, a philosopher important to Mahayana Buddhism, was a Brahmin from southern India ... revival of Saivite and Vaishnavite Hinduism in the region led to a sharp decline of Buddhism ...
... mosques By the time of the Muslim conquests in India, there were only glimpses of Buddhism nor any evidence of a provincial government in control of the Buddhists ... During the seventh to 13th centuries when Islam arrived it replaced Buddhism as the great cosmopolitan trading religion in many places accompanied by a consolidation of the communal peasant religions of ... that many monks fled abroad" thereby bringing about a sudden demise of Buddhism with their destruction of the Viharas ...
... The decline of Buddhism in India, the land of its birth, occurred for a variety of reasons, and happened even as it continued to flourish beyond the ... Buddhism was established in the area of ancient Magadha and Kosala by Gautama Buddha in the 6th century BCE, in what is now modern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar ... Over the next 1500 years Buddhism became one of the region's influential sects, spreading across the Indian sub-continent (see History of Buddhism) ...
... There are differences of opinion on the question of whether or not Buddhism should be considered a religion ... While many sources commonly refer to Buddhism as a religion, other sources note that the answer to this question depends upon how religion is defined ... For example, Lama Surya Das states...Buddhism is less a theology or religion than a promise that certain meditative practices and mind trainings can effectively show us how to awaken our Buddha-nat ...
Famous quotes containing the word buddhism:
“A religion so cheerless, a philosophy so sorrowful, could never have succeeded with the masses of mankind if presented only as a system of metaphysics. Buddhism owed its success to its catholic spirit and its beautiful morality.”
—W. Winwood Reade (18381875)