Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reaching "heaven" on a private flight (video)

Amber Larson and Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; LiveScience.com; AccessToInsight.org
Dragon (naga) and fairy (lesser deva) in European conception (mobile9.com)
(Virgin Galactic) Footage from the tail camera onboard SpaceShipTwo during Virgin Galactic's second rocket-powered test flight
 
The Happiest Country
Tia Ghose, LiveScience.com, Sept. 9, 2013
The happiest people in the world may live in [deva-visited] Scandinavia, a new study suggests.  That's according to the United Nations General Assembly's second World Happiness Report...
Buddhist Heavens in Space
Warrior deva takes a stand (Charest)
In Buddhist cosmology, the heavenly or celestial (akasha) realms are blissful abodes whose present inhabitants (devas, lit. "shining ones") gained rebirth there through the power of their past meritorious karma (actions)
 
Like all of the living beings still caught in the Cycle of Rebirth (samsara), however, these "deities," "angels," or advanced humanoids eventually succumb to old age, illness, and death. They eventually take rebirth in other realms -- pleasant or otherwise -- according to their deeds (karma). 
 
The devas, light beings, are NOT always especially knowledgeable or spiritually mature. In fact, many are quite intoxicated by their sensual indulgences, finer than human enjoyments but still rooted in sensuality. The devas are not considered worthy of veneration.
 
Nevertheless, the devas and their happy realms stand as important reminders to humans both of the happy benefits that ensue from the performance of meritorious skillful deeds and, finally, of the ultimate shortcomings of sensuality.

A Rare Rebirth
Blinded in this world [kama loka, "sensual sphere"] -- how few here see clearly! Just as birds who escape from a net cast to ensnare them are few, few also are the [number of] people who make it to heaven. — Dhp 174

Seeing for Oneself

"I have seen beings who -- endowed with beneficial bodily, verbal, and mental good conduct, who refrained from reviling noble ones (self-purified beings along the stages of enlightenment), who held right views, and undertook actions under the influence of right views -- at the break up of the body, after death, have reappeared in good destinations, even in the [lower sensual] heavenly world.

"It is not from having heard this from other ascetics and Brahmins that I tell you that I have seen such beings who...at the break up of the body, after death, have reappeared in good destinations, even in the heavenly world.

"Rather, it is from having known it myself, seen it myself, realized it myself that I tell you that I have seen such beings who...held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views -- at the break up of the body, after death, have reappeared in good destinations, even in the heavenly world." — Iti 71 

Recollecting the Devas
Figurines in China (Jass Xia/jasspierxia/flickr)
"Furthermore, one ought to recollect the devas: 'There are the devas of the [realm of the] Four Great Kings, the devas of the Thirty-Three, the devas of the Hours, the Contented Devas, the devas who delight in creating, the devas who have power over the creations of others, the devas of Brahma's retinue, and the [many] devas beyond them.

"Whatever confidence (conviction, faith, view) they were endowed with when falling away from this life that led them to re-arise there -- the same sort of confidence is present in me!
 
Whatever virtue they were endowed with that when falling away from this life lead them to re-arise there -- the same sort of virtue is present in me!
 
Whatever learning (suta) they were endowed with when falling away from this life leading them to re-arise there -- the same sort of learning is present in me as well. 
 
Whatever generosity they were endowed with when falling away from this life that led them to re-arise there -- the same sort of generosity is present in me.
 
All human beings are potential devas or "light beings" (centraxis)
 
Whatever wisdom they were endowed with when falling away from this life that led them to rearise there -- the same sort of wisdom is present in me!'
 
At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting the confidence, virtue, learning, generosity, and wisdom found both in oneself and the devas, one's mind is not overcome with passion (greed), not overcome with aversion (hate), not overcome with delusion (e.g., wrong views). 
 
One's mind heads straight, based on the [qualities of the] devas. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dharma, gains joy connected with the Dharma.
 
In one who is joyful, rapture (piti) arises. In one who is full of rapture, the body grows calm. One whose body is calm experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated." — AN 11.12

Mini Brain Grown from Human Stem Cells
LiveScience.com
Find out about the mini brains that scientists grew from human 
stem cells in this LiveScience infographic.
(Infographic/LiveScience.com)

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