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    A holy man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said,
    “Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like.”
    The Lord led the holy man to two doors.

    He opened one of the doors and the holy man looked in. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the middle of the table was a large pot of stew, which smelled delicious and made the holy man’s mouth water.

    The people sitting around the table were thin and sickly. They appeared to be famished. They were holding spoons with very long handles that were strapped to their arms and each found it possible to reach into the pot of stew and take a spoonful. But because the handle was longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons back into their mouths.

    The holy man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, “You have seen Hell.”

    They went to the next room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of stew which made the holy man’s mouth water. The people were equipped with the same long-handled spoons, but here the people were well nourished and plump, laughing and talking. The holy man said, “I don’t understand.”
    “It is simple,” said the Lord.
    “It requires but one skill. You see they have learned to feed each other, while the greedy think only of themselves.”

    When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you. It’s estimated 93% won’t forward this. If you are one of the 7% who will, forward this with the title “7%”.
    I’m in the 7%.
    Remember that I will always share my spoon with you.


    Interestingly enough, that is a Buddhist (I believe) depiction of heaven and hell.


    I didn’t think Buddhists had hell.


    Buddhism is broken down between two schools, the southern school is more in line with the Hindu beliefs of a practice to remove all desire and attachment to the world. This is done over several lifetimes.

    Northern Schools teach salvation by trust in the Buddha in his many incarnations, so while there is one “eternal” buddha, one can be devoted to the “historical” buddha, Shakya, or Siddhartha, (in Japan Shakamuni) or the Taho, Amida or any number of other Buddhas.

    The basic breakdown between the two camps happened within a generation or two after the death of Siddhartha. One group claims to be the Lesser Vehicle and the other the Greater Vehicle. The lesser is one where people practice great austerities, ie fasting, meditation, avoiding meat and other pleasures, and it says that many lifetimes and austerities will result in few people recognizing that the world and our being are illusions. The Greater Vehicle in the North stresses the chanting of the Name of the buddha you are devoted to and a particular sutra or portion of the sutra. Aside from Zen Monks most do not practice avoidence of meats, although culturally those near the sea are primarily fish eaters. Some of these sects believe that practicing the sutra and chants of the sect and being supplied with a secert Buddhist name by a monk at ones funeral will result in entry into the Buddha Land. Hell in Buddhism is either something you suffer on earth for minor infractions in past lives, or temporary punishment between lives. Most do not believe in an eternal hell.


    I didn’t know there were 2 sets of Buddhists. Thanks for enlightening us. <img decoding=” title=”Wink” />

    Speaking in more general terms now, does anyone else find it interesting how religions split?

    I’m moving this topic to the other religions section.


    If I am not mistaken, Buddhists beleive in specific levels of hell, similar to that of the classic, “Dantes Inferno”. There is one leven of hell where they believe they get skinned alive over and over again for eternity.


    I thought Buddhists believed they keep being reincarnated until they “get it right” (so to speak) eventually achieving nirvana.


    Nirvana is usually interpreted as a state of bliss. However in the more Orthodox of schools in Buddhism they believe that once you achieve “Buddahood” you realize and know that everything is an illusion and you achieve emptiness. At that point you sort of fade out of existance. The “lower schools” incorporate heavens and hells, each of which are temporal and not eternal. Some lower schools do have eternal heavens and temporal hells.


    that’s certainly something to look forward to: emptiness.


    I’m sorry to change such an interesting subject of Buddhism but do Catholics believe that Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell are states of being rather than places?


    From what I understand, yes, sort of. It’s a state of being of the soul. In Hell the soul is completely cut off from God, the most painful existence of the soul. Heaven is the complete union of the soul with God. Purgatory is the purging process of the soul before entering heaven. The Catholic Church teaches that sin, even after we have sought God’s forgiveness, leaves marks on our soul, much like nails in a piece of wood once you remove them. Purgatory is for heaven-bound souls that need a purging of those marks from sin.

    Are they physical places? No one can really prove that (or disprove it). The Scriptures are known for depicting things with vivid imagery not so much as to describe the exact details of such a thing, but to give the reader, us, an analogy so we can understand its significance.


    Another good question, and a point to mention that the Catholic Church has not defined everything. Some things have not been revealed to us by God, only the basic concepts are known to us. That God exists, is omnicient, eternal, and all good we accept but really cannot fully understand. That the Trinity is a reality we accept, but to fully understand in this lifetime we will not be able to do.

    When we rise from the grave, we will have (if we go to heaven) a glorified body, as did Jesus after the Resurrection. He was able to pass through the walls and doors of the upper room, yet as proof that He was not just a ghost, or spirit of a dead person, St. Thomas was able to feel the holes in His hands and side. As we too will have glorified bodies like Jesus one would think that heaven would be a physical place. However the Scriptures sometimes are written in allegorical terms in order to make concepts understandable. As in Eternity there is no such thing as time, it is hard for us to comprehend Eternity, So too we are used to some sort of rule, so Heaven is described as a kingdom and the Throne of God is said to be there. God being a pure spirit, and at least until the Incarnation of Jesus, the second person of the Trinity, had no physical form. Once again as above, with a glorified body Jesus no longer was bound to the physical limitations, and need for food, space, or anything we require. There are many things that the Catholic Church has not defined, because we really don’t know. That heaven and hell exist and are eternal (will not end) and that purgatory exists as a place of final purification before we see God face to face, is something one must believe to be a Catholic. How they exist, ie are they physical places or simply states of being is subject to dispute, and not as essential as believing that they exist.

    Another example of this lack of firm definition by the Catholic Church is how God created mankind. The Bible gives two stories of Creation in Genesis, both taking place over seven days, although in different orders of events. Charles Darwin advanced the theory of Evolution, and has some fairly solid evidence of Evolution. The Catholic Church does not define Science, and allows for either postion to be held by individuals, the only restriction is that a Catholic who believes in some sort of Evolution, must assent, or agree that God could have created the universe in seven days if He had willed it, and that if Evolution was the manner that God chose, at some point he created and infused an immortal and rational soul into the first humans, (which the Bible names Adam and Eve) that they where given Free will, and that is what differs us from the animals.

    (as an aside, you will note St. Thomas did not according to the Scriptures put his hand in the holes in Jesus feet. In the middle east, just as today, there was a repugnance for the feet of others, as walking barefoot or in sandals one stepped in all sorts of unsavory things. Makes one think about the example of Jesus, God himself washed the feet of the Apostles, select chosen students on the night of the Last Supper. It was customary to give someone water to wash their hands, feet and face, even in the Middle East where water was precious. However to actually wash the feet of someone as a servant or slave would do. What an example for all of us.)

    "LARobert":hi9oy498 wrote:
    The Catholic Church does not define Science, and allows for either postion to be held by individuals, the only restriction is that a Catholic who believes in some sort of Evolution, must assent, or agree that God could have created the universe in seven days if He had willed it[/quote:hi9oy498]
    Hypothetically speaking, if a Catholic were to believe in Evolution without any aid from God, how would the church react?

    If you are asking can one remain a Catholic if one believes that God created the scientific laws that exist in the survival of the fittest and the adaptation of a species to it’s enviornment, but does not “micro-manage” each step of evolution. I think you could remain a good Catholic.

    If you are asking if one can believe that evolution happened without God putting it into motion, ie that God is not the creator of all things, no. You have to assent to God being the author of Creation to be a Catholic in good standing. How he did it has not been revealed, and even today there are scientists who have disproven some of the theories of Newton, and Darwin, while upholding other theories. The fact is how God accomplished the creation of the universe out of nothing is something we may not know 100% in this life.

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