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thorninmud's avatar

Can you help me find examples of these mind states?

Asked by thorninmud (20488points) February 17th, 2011

I’m giving a presentation to a college group about the Buddhist concept of the Six Realms, mind-states that color one’s experience of being in the world. They describe metaphorically six different ways of being entrapped in delusion.

I want to be able to illustrate these with specific examples. These could be quotes culled from the interwebs, well-known movie characters—anything really that conveys how these mind-states might manifest.

I’m hoping that if I describe these to you, they might remind you of something that you can point me too. I don’t have much time to put this together, so any help is greatly appreciated!

The Six Realms:

Hell Realm – Characterized by despair, suffering without hope. The world is painful and menacing. A negative feedback loop between one’s lashing out at the world and the world becoming more hostile in reaction.

Hungry Ghost Realm – Characterized by unquenchable desire. Addictive personality that needs some obsession to give solidity to an otherwise insubstantial sense of self. Defines self in terms of these objects of desire.

Animal Realm – Brutish inability to override one’s base impulses. Lack of reflection. Guided by urges. Inability to learn from experience.

Human Realm – Neither aloof from suffering, nor overwhelmed by it. Reflective on matters of mortality. Forward thinking. Marked by existential questioning.

Deva or God-like Realm – Aloof from suffering. Enamored of sublime pleasures, exalted experiences. Seemingly detached from the baseness of the world (note: this is not seen as the condition to be desired in Buddhism; it’s just another form of delusion)

Fighting Titan Realm – Defined by desire to attain the Deva realm. Jealous of those who appear to have “made it”. Combative and seek to take down those who have it “better” than they do. Power lust.

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5 Answers

iamthemob's avatar

Hell Realm – Nietzschean type who is in the initial throws of the loss of meaning – or better yet the individual mired in the postmodern loss of identity.

Hungry Ghost Realm – The Religious Fundamentalist – particularly the Bible literalist.

Animal Realm – Infancy.

Human Realm – Neitzschean Ubermensch – one who is mastering the concept of this worldlinessÜbermensch#This-worldliness. Perhaps also one who is ambivalent as to whether a worldview should be physicalist or whether there is a place for dualism..

Deva or God-like Realm – perhaps the ascetic, monk or recluse. Perhaps even the reclusive but charitable billionaire, or the activist mega-celebrity.

Fighting Titan Realm – The young Wall Street broker keeping tabs on the reclusive billionaire – the struggling young celebrity.

marinelife's avatar

Hell Realm Chaplin in The Little Tramp

Hungry Ghost Realm: Paris Hilton

thorninmud's avatar

@iamthemob Yeah, that’s the idea.
The Ubermensch fits better, I think, the Buddhist idea of freedom from the Six Realms (the Human Realm being the launching pad for that release). The Human Realm is the one giving me the hardest time for examples. I keep looking for some snippet that expresses that urgent questioning.

I found this passage on Slate about “Gwenyth hate” that I might be able to use for both the Deva and Fighting Titan Realms:

“Two words for you: Gwyneth. Paltrow. Did you just shudder a little in revulsion? Did you roll your eyes in proletarian disgust? Did a low “ugggggh” sound escape your lips? You are not alone, my friend. Ms. Paltrow may be the single most despised Oscar-winning, rock star marrying, magazine cover-gracing, standing ovation at the Country Music Awards-getting woman in the world.

Gwyneth hate is nothing new, of course. Like herpes, it can lie dormant for long periods of time, but it never goes away completely. Taller, blonder, richer than thou, she has, since she launched her career 15 years ago, represented the epitome of everything most mere mortals will never come close to being, a Little Miss Perfect who had sex with Brad Pitt. But in recent years, as the economy has tanked, obesity rates have skyrocketed, and the proportion of have-nots to haves has grown exponentially, the line between Gwyneth and Everybody Else in the World has deepened into an unfathomable chasm.”

iamthemob's avatar

I think Gwyneth may be the “Deva” if you throw Angelina Jolie in as the “Fighting Titan.” She’s arguably an example of both too – but Gwyneth seems to be free of “effort” if that makes sense – she doesn’t seem to be trying. Angelina seems like she’s really really trying (nothing against her – and I don’t prefer deeply one to the other – but that’s the impression that I get).

I agree about your critique of the Ubermensch – but I think that it applies to the actual Ubermensch – the ideal. The man struggling to achieve the status and examining “this worldliness” is a step back from that (sorry about the broken link – let’s try this)

longtresses's avatar

in my understanding…

Hell Realm – the reaction when you came home and caught your spouse in bed with another wo/man; when you beat someone up to pulp yet not realizing the fact

Hungry Ghost Realm – when you behave like sales at car service places (’.’); when you would do all it takes to get what you want; when you don’t know “enough”; gambler; U-North from Michael Clayton

Animal Realm – lack of consideration for consequences & afterthought; when you’re not aware of your current state of mind; lack of discernment; inability to tell light from dark; instant gratification

Human Realm – after you react to your spouse/kid/pet, then you sit down and you realize what you’ve done; the moment when you realize you have the freedom to choose

Deva or God-like Realm – not too sure about this.. I think it’s the idea of being half blissful, half carefree? enjoying a good life, where things come and go?

Fighting Titan Realm – not sure about this either; it sounds just like the Hungry Ghost

I found a good page that explains these 6 realms, here.

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