The Ten Worlds
(I wanted to include a video by Huay Tjin, published on You Tube three years ago, but I found that Tjin didn’t allow for its embedding elsewhere. This is another video by PhilBecque.)
Most Christians believe that there is a heaven and a hell that awaits people in the afterlife.
On the other hand, within the cosmology of Mahayana Buddhism, SGI Buddhists believe that heaven and hell are within all of us, and are present in each lifetime on earth. They are part of the Ten Worlds, which are fluid–not static–mental and spiritual states of being, systematized by the Chinese Buddhist sage T’ien-t’ai in the sixth century. Human beings can exhibit any of these states of being from moment to moment.
For example, if the bills and rent are paid, there’s food in the fridge, there’s gas in the car, then that is Heaven. But if the opposite is true, and you don’t have a job to pay for these necessary things, then that may be Hell. The throng of would-be contestants on Let’s Make a Deal may be in the world of Hunger: grasping, looking for the next big thing despite what they’ve already won, and for an hour, unable to sate their desire for free things and money, and willing to do whatever it takes, even suffering humiliation, to get them.
What is important to remember is that Buddhahood, that is, becoming a Buddha or an enlightened being, is attainable in this lifetime, in your present form as a male or female. For SGI Buddhists, the vehicle for that attainment is the chanting of daimoku, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, and calling forth the Buddha Nature within. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo allows any individual to win over any circumstance, problem or situation–whether it is addiction, broken relationships, poverty, illness or disease–and achieve their hopes and dreams in this life, as Nichiren Daishonin preached in his Gosho, “Earthly Desires Are Enlightenment” and “Hell is the Land of Tranquil Light.”
So while other Buddhist sects preach the cessation or extinguishing of desire to achieve the state of Buddhahood, SGI Buddhists believe that the pursuit of desire can eventually bring Buddhahood, as well as wisdom, happiness, and stability. Extinguishing desire is antithetical to the human condition.
Each of the Ten Worlds possesses all Ten Worlds. Each has the potential to reveal any of the others at any moment. Some sects of Buddhism believe that as people practice Buddhism they make Buddhahood the dominant state of their lives, as it acts as a kind of filter, revealing the positive aspects of the other nine worlds from Hell to Bodhisattva.