From the last issue: They obtain some special principle of life and can live for thousands or tens of thousands of years. They retire deep into the mountains or onto islands in the sea, cutting themselves off from the human realm....
If even a bird's feather will sink to the bottom, then how much the more would a boat or anything else at all. Nothing can float on the surface of that soft water. Only the flying immortals can cross it, be- cause they fly over. These people who are seeking to be immortals fly across these waters to isolated islands in the sea where no human beings can go. They chose to live on islands where people can never reach.
However, they are still part of the turning wheel, because they flow and turn according to their false thinking and do not cultivate samadhi. When their reward is finished, they must still return and enter the various destinies.
However, they are still part of the turning wheel. Although they may live to be tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of years old, they continue to remain within the cycle of rebirth. They still cannot end birth and death; they are still subject to transmigration. Why is that? It is because they still have an attachment. What attachment? They want to be immortal; they want to live for millions of years. Due to that attachment, they flow and turn according to their false thinking and do not cultivate samadhi. They do not cultivate proper concentration. When their reward is finished, they must still return. When their lives finally end they will return and enter the various destinies. At the end of their lives, they will still have to go into the six paths of rebirth, perhaps to become human beings, perhaps to become asuras, perhaps to become ghosts, perhaps to become gods, or to go into the hells, turn into hungry ghosts, or become animals. They will enter the various destinies.
"Ananda, there are many people in the world who do not seek what is eternal and who cannot yet renounce the love that exists between themselves and their spouses.
"Ananda, there are many people in the world who do not seek what is eternal. They do not want to remain forever in this world, but they
cannot yet renounce the love that exists between themselves and their spouses. They cannot give up the emotional involvement they have with their spouses.
Since they have no interest in deviant sexual activity, they develop a clarity resulting from the purity of their stable relationship. When their lives end, they draw near the sun and moon and are among those born in the Heaven of the Four Kings.
Since they have no interest in deviant sexual activity. Since they have no interest in deviant sexual activity. Having hetrosexual activity with someone other than one's spouse is defined as deviant sexual activity. Maintaining an intimate relationship with one's own spouse is not classed as deviant sexual activity, however, the fewer the interactions the better. It should not be excessive. Deviant sexual activity, then, includes any extramarital relationship. They have no interest in that. In cultivating the Way, regardless of how much merit you amass, you must also cut off any tendencies toward deviant sexual activity. If you don't cut off thoughts and activities related to deviant sex, then you will not succeed in your cultivation of the Way.
They develop a clarity resulting from the purity of their stable relationship. They prevent themselves from entertaining thoughts of deviant sexual activity and so they are relatively pure. That purity gives them clarity; light clusters about them.
When their lives end and they have not been involved in promiscuous sexual relationships, they will naturally have an element of clarity and light about them indicative of their virtue. It is said:
Lust is foremost of all evils;
It is the road to death, so don't go down it!
I spoke about this recently. If you do not engage in deviant sexual activity, then your reproductive energy, your breath (qi), and your spirit will wax full, imbuing you with a clarity and light based upon virtue. That being the case while such people are alive, then after they die,
they draw near the sun and moon. Such people will be reborn in the vicinity of the sun and moon. They
are among those born in the Heaven of the Four Kings. This is not referring to just one person; one knows not how many beings fit this category. These people will be born in the Heaven of the Four Kings.
The Heaven of the Four Kings is located halfway up Mount Sumeru. This heaven is the one closest to our world. The average life span of the gods in the Heaven of the Four Kings is five hundred years. However, fifty years in our human realm is equivalent to one day and one night in that heaven. Based on that equivalent, their life spans are quite long—nine million years if calculated according to our time. The gods residing in the Heaven of the Four Kings are the closest deities to our human realm. People who behave as described above can be born in the Heaven of the Four Kings.
Those whose sexual love for their wives is slight, but who do not yet abide in total purity, transcend the light of sun and moon at the end of their lives, and reside at the summit of the human realm. Such people are born in the Trayastrimsha Heaven.
Those whose sexual love for their spouses is slight. The passage above described the behavior that leads to rebirth as a god in the Heaven of the Four Kings. Those people refrain from any involvement in deviant sexual activity but have not yet severed the emotional relationship with their spouses. They remain sexually faithful to one person throughout their lives. Such men have never been involved with more than one woman; such women have only had a relationship with their own husband. They have never had other lovers. They keep themselves as pure as jade and so they are reborn in the Heaven of the Four Kings.
Now these are people whose sexual expressions of love for their spouses is slight. This discusses the relationship between the marriage partners, the husband's relationship to the wife or the wife's relationship to the husband. The sexual expressions of love are slight. They are so rare that there might not even be one sexual encounter in a year or more. They place very little emphasis on sexual expressions of love; they do not see that as important.
Why are some people burdened with heavy sexual desire? It is because they have heavy karmic obstacles. If karmic obstacles are light, one will not entertain such thoughts. But heavy karmic obstacles pursue some people, causing them to always be indulging in ceaseless sexual activity. When karmic obstacles are heavy, you should wake up and realize that you must do something to lessen your karmic obstacles. If you merely follow your karmic obstacles, you will sink deeper and and lower in the six evil paths to the point that you are bound to become a cow, a horse, a dog or the like. Even then it won't stop because you have too much emotional desire. You will fall into the animal realm. It is very dangerous. Anyone with heavy emotional desire should quickly get rid of it. Don't be so emotional, because emotional people will be reborn as animals. There is no question about it.
Their sexual expressions of love are slight,
but they do not yet abide in total purity. They still have not experienced what true purity is like. They do not yet completely realize the advantages of being pure. That is because they are not yet able to cultivate. These people will
transcend the light of sun and moon at the end of their lives. Because their sexual desire is slight, the light of their own nature shines forth. Anyone who does not harbor thoughts of sexual desire will shine with light. And after you die you will be born in the heavens. They
reside at the summit of the human realm. Such people are born in the Trayastrimsha Heaven.
Trayastrimsha is a Sanskrit word that translates as "Thirty-three." The Lord of the Trayastrimsha Heaven resides above our human realm. It is called Thirty-three because there are actually eight heavens in the east, eight in the south, eight in the west, and eight in the north, making thirty-two. The Trayastrimsha Heaven is located in the center of these and is called the thirty-third heaven.
How did the Lord of the Trayastrimsha Heaven earn that position? Originally the Lord of that heaven was a poverty-stricken woman. One time she saw a stupa in disrepair and said, "I vow to renovate this Buddhist stupa." Gradually over the years that followed, she accumulated a lot of money, both through asking for donations and through working. Eventually she gathered thirty-two friends and then held a meeting about how to proceed with renovation of the stupa. Based on the combined strength of those thirty-two people, she fulfilled her resolve to renovate the stupa. After their deaths, the thirty-two friends became lords of the thirty-two surrounding heavens and the woman became Lord of the thirty-third heaven.
Gods in the Trayastrimsha Heaven have an
average life span of a thousand years. But a hundred years
in the human realm is equivalent to one day and night in
that heaven. Each heaven in sequence doubles in length of
life span. The exact life spans and the physical heights of
the gods can be determined by calculation, but it's rather
tedious. So I've mentioned it for these first two heavens,
but if you want to know more details, you can look into it
To be continued