Jun 26, 2006

It's All Relative

If the life of a man is short, why does the king keep Sadhina in heaven for a year?


Does there have to have been a time shift? Is there enough in this quote to understand what bell should be ringing or do I need to consult an expert (off to Wiki!) to get some history/depth on this?
Einstein's twin paradox.


Anonymous said...

okay, so their locations in time and space are "relative" i.e. a year in one realm can be 700 years in another realm (in the same way that 7m is 7000mm)

knowing that Sadhina would be paying in lost *centuries* for that one year in heaven, why did the king keep Sadhina for long?


rod the former frequent flyer said...

As for human views of the differences in time, they are somewhat irrelevant, time only makes sense when you have a watch or you measure it in suns and moons.

If you have a radio, and you change stations, what actually took place? Did the radio move or did it just change fequencies?

The various other realms that we come to hear about or may actually experience are just some different frequencies of the same mind. As for the place, they all exist in the same place, and the different beings all exist in the same place. Talking about such a location as the Earth, the galaxy, or universe is also somewhat meaningless; again, this is just another human realm description.

Normally, and legally, most people would experience such realms in a limited way through the development of jhanas. Limited, in that you have no senses and thought process when you get into these. This lack of thought process, by the way, removes a being from the normal compartmentalized process of understanding things that we use in the human realm, into a state of non thinking where the mind just knows naturally.

From the 'authority' of certain texts we learn that there are 4 form jhanas and 4 formless jhanas, however, for beings who have developed path knowledges there are four different types of jhanas associated with each path. One interesting aspect for meditators, and you could bet your next meal that most have never even thought about it, is why there are jhanas to experience the form and formless realms yet there are no jhanas to experience the closer Deva realms?

Well, there are jhanas to experience the Deva realms, and if you ever had the opportunity to talk to some fully-aware Ajarns (e.g. Budhadasa bikkhu) then they would tell you that there are in fact many many jhanas, not just those known about like the form and formless jhanas, or those hardly known about like the lokuttara jhanas pertaining to path knowledges.

Some of these jhanas have refined sense perception, thus those who experience them can actually see the realm, and often describe the landscape as exactly the same place but with slightly different coloration, and most noticeably different angles to the edges of everything
The Yama realm experience of the energy form of beings is also a specific jhana. In addition to this there are also the possibilities of being somewhat half-in and half-out of these jhanas, where you have a view of both realms at the same time, and this condition is the ideal condition for kasina and other iddhi; it makes your tricks look really neat, and is undoubtedly the best way to get people to worship the ground you walk on.

As for the story you quote, unless there is some profound meaning that appears to be beyond me, it sounds a little far fetched. Living here in this realm, we do have some responsibilities. If Fred sits in jhana and goes off to another realm for a long time then three things are going to happen.

1. Fred starts to smell.
2. Fred loses the plot after being away for so long and forgets all about the beginning of the story.
3. Fred is no longer Fred and cannot come back anyway.

Anonymous said...


On this topic, I read an interesting tidbit in a book I found at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center yesterday. The book is called "Gifts He Left Behind: The Dhamma Legacy of Phra Ajan Dune Atulo" translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu:


...Once I asked him, "In the texts they say that devas came by the tens of billions to listen to the Buddha. Would there be enough space to hold them all?"...

...He said "There would be no problem even if the devas gathered by the millions of billions, for the syace of one atom can hold up to eight devas."


Intuition tells me that I can contemplate this issue of relativity for insight into space/time but it is not immeditely apparent to me how this knowledge will lead me towards dispasssion and release in my day to day living. I suppose that faith and interest in path can be aroused. Bhikku, can you comment on why this Deva issue is significant to you?

Metta :¬)