|CONTENTS | INVOCATION | INTRODUCTION | PROLOGUE | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21|
CHAPTER 6, LIFE BEYOND DEATH IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD
SPIRITUAL ERROR AND THE OCCULT
Within the major religions, there is a current of deep distrust for spirits and their communications. Since they are not comparable to Ultimate Reality, spirits are not privy to the highest truth. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have a tradition that groups of the angels have fallen into error and misunderstood the will of God. Buddhism even regards the Creator god (the Hindu god Brahma) as one of these subordinate deities, subordinate to the Dhamma revealed by the Buddha, as shown in the text from the Digha Nikaya reprinted here.
Spirits are often viewed as fallible, motivated by selfish ends, and liable to mislead those who rely on them for guidance. Furthermore, the spiritual world is also populated by evil spirits, demons, fallen angels, and Satan--see Demonic Powers, pp. 435-44, as well as intermediate spiritual beings including the jinn, spirits of the dead, and various classes of ghosts. Therefore, a person should 'test the spirits to see whether they are of God,' based on the higher authority of revealed truth. Occult practices, such as seeking information from mediums, witches, astrologers, and otherwise penetrating the world of spirits, is condemned in many scriptures because it can lead people astray through communication with spirits from the lower realms. Attachment to revelations from spirits can sometimes rival genuine faith in God. Belief in miracles can also lead astray. Faith, purity, adherence to revealed truth, and performance of good deeds are superior ways to insure fellowship with spiritual beings of the highest levels.
1. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Job 4.18
2. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 10.14
3. Islam. Qur'an 21.26-29
4. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Psalm 82
"The fool among us spoke against God outrage, and we had thought that men and jinn would never speak against God a lie. But there were certain men of mankind who would take refuge with certain men of the jinn, and they increased them in vileness, and they thought, even as you also thought, that God would never raise up anyone.
"And we stretched towards heaven, but we found it filled with terrible guards and meteors. We would sit there on seats to hear; but any listening now finds a meteor in wait for him. And so we know not whether evil is intended for those in the earth, or whether their Lord intends for them rectitude.
"And some of us are righteous, and some of us are otherwise; we are sects differing. Indeed, we thought that we should never be able to frustrate God in the earth, neither be able to frustrate Him by flight. When we heard the guidance, we believed in it; and whosoever believes in his Lord, he shall fear never paltriness nor vileness.
"And some of us have surrendered, and some of us have deviated. Those who have surrendered sought rectitude; but as for those who have deviated, they have become firewood for hell."
5. Islam. Qur'an 72.1-15
Then that monk went up to the realm of the Four Great Kings and asked the gods there, "Where, my friends, do the four basic elements--extension, cohesion, heat, and motion--pass away, leaving no trace behind?" The gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings replied, "We do not know that. But there are the Four Great Kings, more powerful and glorious than we. They will know."
Then that monk went up to the Four Great Kings and asked, "Where, my friends..." The Four Great Kings replied, "We do not know that. But there are the gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three... They will know."
Then that monk, putting the same question and getting the same reply, went to Sakka, king of the heaven of the Thirty-three... up to the Yama gods... to the Tusita gods... to the Nimmana-rati gods... to the Vasavatti gods... to the retinue of the gods of the Heaven of God Almighty....
Finally the monk drew near to God Almighty [Brahma] and asked, "Where, my friend, do the four basic elements--extension, cohesion, heat, and motion--pass away, leaving no trace behind?"
And the greatest god replied, "I am the Great God, Almighty, the Supreme One, the one who cannot be conquered by others, All-seeing, All-powerful, the Ruler, the Creator, the Excellent, the Almighty, the One who has already practiced Calm, the Father of all that are and all that are to be!"
The monk said, "I did not ask you as to whether you were indeed all that you now say you are; but I ask you where do the four basic elements cease, leaving no trace behind?" Then the god gave the same reply. And yet a third time the monk put the same to question to god as before.
Then, Kevaddha, that greatest god took that monk by the arm and led him aside and said, "These gods, the retinue of God Almighty, think me, friend, to be such that there is nothing I cannot see, nothing I have not understood, nothing I have not realized. Therefore, I gave no answer to your question in their presence. I do not know the answer to your question. Therefore, you have done wrong, acted unskillfully, in that, going past the Buddha, you have undertaken this long search for an answer to this question. Go back now to the Exalted One and accept his answer."
6. Buddhism. Digha Nikaya xi.67-83, Kevaddhasutta
7. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 17.4
8. Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Leviticus 19.31
9. Buddhism. Sutta Nipata 927
10. Sikhism. Var Sorath 20, M.3, p. 650
11. Confucianism. Analects 7.20
12. Buddhism. Digha Nikaya ix.66, Kevaddhasutta
13. Christianity. Bible, Matthew 12.22-24
14. Christianity. Bible, John 6.26-27
15. Christianity. Bible, 1 John 4.1
16. Christianity. Bible, 1 Corinthians 12.1-3
17. Hinduism. Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20
18. Islam. Qur'an 2.257
Those who worship the gods will go to the realm of the gods; those who worship their ancestors will be united with them after death. Those who worship phantoms will become phantoms; but My devotees will come to me.
19. Hinduism. Bhagavad Gita 9.23-25
20. Buddhism. Milarepa