Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Last thought moment


http://www.flickr.com/photos/grantmac/292262245/


Question: (unedited)
I understand that in Buddhism, there are different planes of existence. How could that be when the word "I" itself is "nothing" and "nothing" is "Oneself" according to Buddha's teaching. As nothing is permanent in this world, how come there are different planes of existence ? Does the different types of Buddhism, especially those from the Theravada and Mahayana school have the same interpretation in explaining the "different planes of existence"? It is often said that the last thought of a human before he dies will denote what he will become in the next life (the insight of meditation). In this regards, how does one who has always practised good deeds in his life span but due to some unforseen circumstances, he has a bad thought at that instance before death would be born into an unholy realm ? What then is the significant of good Kamma when the last thought has the greatest impact in denoting one's next birth to be ? Thank you.



My comment:
Your questions show that you are well informed of the Buddha's teachings. You have also asked very pertinent questions, especially the second question on "the last thought moment". The "I" is actually not "nothing". It is "no thing". "Nothing" means "non existence". Definitely "I" exists. But "I" am "no thing" in the process. It is an empty process. A process of futility, in the end we go back to square one.


All Buddhist Traditions accept the Buddha's explanation of the different planes of existence. These planes are not permanent. In the end they also disintegrate, and slowly will form again. That is why, the Buddha explained that no matter how good you are, unless you are completely rid of all the defilements, you cannot escape the grasp of life. The highest you would go would be to the highest heaven, which eventually will end, when you have depleted the rewards of your good kamma. Only when one attained enlightenment, one will be able to escape the grasp of these planes of existence,....the attainment of Nibbana.


" It is often said that the last thought of a human before he dies will denote what he will become in the next life (the insight of meditation). In this regards, how does one who has always practised good deeds in his life span but due to some unforseen circumstances, he has a bad thought at that instance before death would be born into an unholy realm ?" "What then is the significant of good Kamma when the last thought has the greatest impact in denoting one's next birth to be ? "


You have asked a very good question. Had you put some though into it, I am quite sure you will get the answer. Certain kamma takes precedent during the process of rebirth. As the mind is always in a flux, always "moving" from the last thought, the next thought will be very much influenced by the last thought moment. That is why the last thought moment just before the person passes away, will take precedent to influence the immediate next thought moment, which in this case will be the first thought moment of the new life. If the last thought moment is of very weak influence, then the effect of the new birth will be of short duration. After this short duration, the consciousness will take rebirth again to suit the more overwhelming kamma which had been prevented to actualize earlier due to the different last thought moment.


As an example, when the person who had been very virtuous throughout his life; at his last thought moment, he had hatred in his mind, and subsequenty passed away, he would be reborn in an unhappy plane. But because that evil thought was of a very weak nature, his new unhappy birth would only last for a short period. Once the effect had been depleted, the next rebirth will commensurate with his virtuous kamma. That answers your last question.

3 comments:

A true Malaysian said...

Justin,

I am impressed with your answer and explanation offered.

To me, Buddhism is a progressive religion (in actual fact, Buddhism is not a religion from what I know)where Buddhists do not have any 'holy book' like Bible and Koran to based on.

In a way, with no offend to Christian and Muslim brothers, their respective holy books would make them 'puzzled', 'confused' or even 'rigid' in their thinking or understanding of their own religions since they are taught since day 1 that nothing in their holy books can be changed or altered because they are derived from 'God'.

You agree with me, Justin? Correct me if I am wrong since I myself is still learning about Buddha's teachings.

Justin Choo said...

A True Malaysian,

I am happy that you like my answers. This is what I learnt from the Chief Reverend.

Be very careful when we comment on others' religious beliefs, esp in blogs which are for public view. Due to extreme sensitivity, I think it's best not discuss in blogs. Not everyone has an open mind. We must be very careful.

A true Malaysian said...

Noted.

I just want to stress to others that in essence, Buddhism is not a religion.

That means, if others found Buddha teachings acceptable, they can adopt them with free will and not against their own faiths.

Related Posts with Thumbnails