Buddhism and Hinduism - Differences - Cosmology and Worldview

Cosmology and Worldview

This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

In Buddhist cosmology, there are 31 planes of existence within samsara. Beings in these realms are subject to rebirth after some period of time, except for realms of the Non-Returners. Therefore, most of these places are not the goal of the holy life in the Buddha's dispensation. Buddhas are beyond all these 31 planes of existence after parinibbana. Hindu texts mostly mentions the devas in Kamma Loka. Only the Hindu god Brahma can be found in the Rupa loka. There are many realms above the brahma realm that are accessible through meditation. Those in Brahma realms are also subject to rebirth according to the Buddha.

In Mahayana Buddhism, several Hindu gods and divinities are venerated and hold an important place in the rites and rituals: Brahma, Indra, Saraswati, Surya, Vayu, Varuna, Prithvi, etc.

ARUPA-LOKA (Formless Realms) The immaterial or formless world (arupa loka) includes four planes into which beings are born. The inhabitants of these realms are possessed purely of mind and have no physical bodies and are unable to hear Buddha's teachings. Thus, the beings of this realm need to be reborn in the lower human realm to attain enlightenment. They achieve this by attaining advanced meditational levels in another life. They do not interact with the rest of the universe.

RUPA-LOKA (Fine-Material World) The fine material sphere (ruupa loka) consists of sixteen planes. Beings take rebirth into these planes as a result of attaining the jhanas. They have bodies made of fine matter. The sixteen planes correspond to the attainment of the four jhanas. The devas of the Rupadhatu have physical forms, but are sexless and passionless. They live in a large number of "heavens" or deva-worlds that rise, layer on layer, above the earth. These can be divided into five main groups. Suddhavasa devas: Birth in these five realms are a result of attaining the fruit of non-returning (Anagami), the third level of enlightenment: These five realms, called suddhaavaasaa or Pure Abodes, accessible only to those who have destroyed the lower five fetters :self-view, sceptical doubt, clinging to rites and ceremonies, sense desires, and ill-will. They will destroy their remaining fetters :craving for fine material existence, craving for immaterial existence, conceit, restlessness and ignorance during their existence in the Pure Abodes. Those who take rebirth here are called "non-returners" because they do not return from that world, but attain final nibbana there without coming back. They guard and protect Buddhism on earth, and will pass into enlightenment as Arhats when they pass away from the Suddhavasa worlds. Among its inhabitants is Brahma Sahampati, who begs the Buddha to teach Dhamma to the world (SN 6.1)

KAMA-LOKA (The Sensuous World) Birth into these heavenly planes takes place through wholesome kamma. These devas enjoy aesthetic pleasures, long life, beauty, and certain powers. The heavenly planes are not reserved only for good Buddhists. Anyone who has led a wholesome life can be born in them. People who believe in an "eternal heaven" may carry their belief to the deva plane, and take the long life span there to be an eternal existence. Only those who have known the Dhamma will realize that, asthese planes are impermanent, some day these sentient beings will fallaway from them and be reborn elsewhere. The devas can help people by inclining their minds to wholesome acts, and people can help the devas by inviting them to rejoice in their meritorious deeds. The Devas in these realms have physical forms similar to, but larger than, those of humans. They lead the same sort of lives that humans do, though they are longer-lived and generally more content, indeed sometimes they are immersed in pleasures. This is the dhatu that Mara has greatest influence over. They are also more interested in and involved with the world below than any of the higher devas, and sometimes intervene with advice and counsel. Each of these groups of deva-worlds contains different grades of devas, but all of those within a single group are able to interact and communicate with each other. On the other hand, the lower groups have no direct knowledge of even the existence of the higher types of deva at all. Due to not having direct knowledge of the realms above the Brahma realm, some of the Brahmas have become proud, imagining themselves as the highest creators of their own worlds and of all the worlds below them (because they came into existence before those worlds began to exist).

Read more about this topic:  Buddhism And Hinduism, Differences