Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Buddha's descend from Heaven Pt 2

The Buddha opens all the worlds, enabling the devas, hell beings and humans to see each other

On the day that the Buddha descended from Tavatimsa he performed another miracle. While he was standing on the jewel stairway, he looked upwards and the worlds of the devas (devaloka) and the Brahmas (Brahmaloka) were revealed. Then he looked downward, and the hell realms were revealed. At that time the celestial realms, the hell realms and the human realms throughout the universe were all visible to each other.

The scene shown here is from the time the Buddha descended from Tavatimsa. The event is the Buddha's "opening of the worlds." The worlds that he opened at that time were the three worlds of heaven (devaloka), hell (yamaloka) and earth (manussaloka).

Devaloka is all the worlds from the Brahmaloka down to all the celestial realms. Manussaloka is the world of human beings. Yamaloka is the lower realms, all the levels of hell down to the lowest hell, avici.

When the Buddha was descending from heaven, he looked upwards and all the worlds from the human world up to the highest heavenly realm were illuminated. As he looked around in each direction of the universe it became clear and unobstructed. And when he looked downwards, the illumination continued down to the hell realms.

At that instant the beings living in these three realms could all see each other. The human beings saw the devas, the devas saw the humans, the humans and the devas saw the hell beings, and the hell beings saw the devas and humans. And all could see the Buddha descending from Tavatimsa gloriously.

The Dhammapada commentary, composed by Buddhaghosa, states that "On this day when the beings of all realms saw each other, there was not one who did not want to be the Buddha." The Pathamasambodhi goes even further, saying; "At that time, of all the devas, humans and beasts, even down to the tiniest red or black ant, who saw the Buddha, there was not one among them who did not desire Buddhahood."

Buddhahood is the state of being a Buddha. If we were to make the story of the Buddha opening up all the worlds so that the beings could all see each other more mundane, we may interpret it to mean that on that day the Buddha gave a teaching to which people came to listen in great number, and from which people could sees the results of good and bad deeds: the result of bad being suffering, which is hell, and the result of good being happiness, which is heaven, and the possession of morality is what differentiates people from the animals.

Note: In Pali it is spelled “Tavatimsa”, In Sanskrit, “Trayatrimsa”. Both referring to the same God of Thirty Three Heaven.

Source: mahidol university

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