The purpose of this meditation is to dwell on the thought that there are hells and that when I die I could be reborn in one.
I began by making the appropriate preparations and then reminded myself that my mind is not produced by my body. My mind is a separate entity from my body, and when my body dies my mind will continue to exist. If everything I perceive ends when I die, what will I perceive? Geshe-la tells us that we shall perceive a bardo environment where we shall see indications of what our next life will be like. What decides the nature of our next life? It is our karma that dictates the nature of our next life. If negative karma ripens at the time of death we will be reborn in a lower realm.
I thought about how I normally believe that this world is all there is, and there is no other mode of existence.
However, I am reading a novel at the moment by Iain M Banks called Surface Detail and in this novel characters find themselves in virtual hells as a punishment for living bad lives. The hells are computer generated, but the occupants experience the sufferings just as they would if they were real. Some characters lose their minds with the torments, and many simply do not believe in the ‘real’ any more, believing that there is only hell.
This reminded me of Geshe-la’s descriptions of hell and how hell beings may be debating the existence of the human realm. The truth is we cannot know for sure if hells exist or not, but we can gain conviction of the truth of them by considering the nature of the mind and how our present surroundings seem so real, but are actually empty of inherent existence. By grasping so hard at our self and our body, we end up experiencing the non-inherently existent suffering as if it were real.
I focused on the idea that I may well be reborn in hell, and I developed a fear of that fate. I focused on this fear for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings at least ask them selves the question – how could hell exist, and could I find myself there?
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to remember hell.