Other life forms

47 The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, second volume in “The Library of Wisdom and Compassion” series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Only our actions determine our next life form
  • Do the other classes of being actually exist?
  • Reliable scriptural quotations to infer existence of different life forms
  • Examples from Ratana Sutta, Metta Sutta, Sutra of the Fools and Wise Men
  • Benefits of provisionally accepting existence of many life forms
  • Sutta to the dog duty ascetic
  • Purpose of contemplating the suffering of unfortunate realms
  • Mind driven by eight worldly concerns, nonvirtue, leads to grasping and fear
  • Wisdom-fear helps us to practice now

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice 47: Other Life Forms (download)

Contemplation points

  1. Do you have difficulty accepting the existence of different life forms? Why do you think that is?
  2. Does your belief in other lives change your behavior in any way? If so, how?
  3. Which of the Eight Worldly Concerns is strongest for you and could be the cause of your next rebirth in a particular realm?
  4. Thinking of your own life, give some personal examples of wise fear that motivate you to practice.
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.