The Devil lives in heaven

In Buddhism as in many religions there are several heavenly figures. Most people refer to them as angels, divine creatures with golden halos and feathered wings. Other faiths consider them to be lesser gods who specialize in different aspects of life. But whatever they are perceived to be they all serve one purpose, to protect us in our daily lives.

In my Buddhist practice I have learned many things about these protective forces. The most important I think is that the devil lives in heaven. In most beliefs these deities live on another ethereal field, only coming down to lend a hand when needed. In the practice of Nichiren Daishonins Buddhism they congregate around mount minobu. Amongst these Buddhist Gods sits Takejizaiten, the devil of the sixth heaven, ('he king who makes free use of the fruits of others' efforts for his own pleasure'). He uses our own ignorance and illusions (fundamental darkness) to his advantage .When you pray for protection this devilish king is also amongst those who grants your protection.

Now I know that people are taught that heaven is an ethereal paradise where one goes after death. But in Buddhism heaven is just a stepping stone on the way to enlightenment, only number six of the Ten Worlds (potential conditions of life inherent in each individual). The concept of heaven (rapture) relates to relative or circumstantial happiness, meaning it changes depending on outside forces. The easiest way to explain this is by example. The best example I have is my little brother.

Being young is a matter of vanity and pride, and my brother is the most vain and prideful of all. He must have the newest styles, the latest toys and the best accessories. Of course last week just happened to be the start of summer and every kid on the block has a moped or motor scooter. Every one that is but him, so just like everyone else in a pickle , he decided to pray for one. And sure enough by some divine intervention he won a bran new 90hp 20mph Honda Motor Scooter. It doesn't sound like much to those of us who drive but to a thirteen year old kid it was the hotrod of his dreams.

This my friend is a situation of relative happiness, meaning this profound rapture is based solely on the presence of that scooter.

So of course he took his new scooter out the first chance that he could, Bragged and boasted about it for days. Ran it on the side walk, in the middle of the street , neglected to wear his helmet, gave rides to other children. Basically he did everything he was cautioned NOT to do . And eventually he was caught. See there is a pesky little law in the state of Florida prohibiting anyone under the age of sixteen to drive a motor vehicle with out a license.

Not only is he under sixteen but he was clocked going 20mph with two extra passengers on a side walk in a school zone, then trying to evade the police. Not only is he restricted form getting his license at sixteen but his bran new 90hp 20mph Honda motor scooter was confiscated and he also had to face a jury of his peers in County Youth Court who sentenced him to twenty hours of community service.

Heaven swiftly gave way to hell in my brothers life. He came home sweaty and covered in sticky gunk the other day after serving three hours at the local Boys & Girls Club. He was upset at having missed a trip to a local water park with his friends and wanted to skip his next days service work to play. Not wanting to see him suffer more I explained to him that it was he who got himself into this situation. Of course he didn't believe me , to a thirteen year old nothing is ever their fault, But with a little time I got him to understand that the cause he makes in his life will produce an immediate effect. Like if he kicks a dog it will bite him, maybe not today maybe not tomorrow but sure enough it will remember. He laughed a little then because he knew by experience that it was true but he didn't really understand cause and effect.

Every action one takes produces a reaction, Einstein said that a long time ago and even longer before that , Shakyamuni, the original Buddha said the same thing . For every cause or action you make in your life an effect will be manifest. If you don't take action by setting your alarm clock, you cannot expect to wake up on time, because with out the right cause you will not get the desired effect.

After explaining this I tried to expound with an example that related to the situation.

You prayed for a scooter. That is all you wanted. When in our life we want or need something and pray with all our heart we must remember to look at our lives and think. Do I really need a Lexus RX20 ? Is that Nissan Murano good for me? Can I handle a 90hp 20mph Honda motor scooter?

If the answer is no ,that there is no great purpose you can achieve with that item that you couldn't with any other you should instead pray for the wisdom to receive what you truly need. Because a little piece of heaven can lead to a lot of hell.

~Nat. Forbes

~Glossary

1. Nichiren Buddhism- www.SGI-USA.org

2. Devil of the Sixth Heaven: The king of devils who dwells in the highest of the six heavens of the world of desire. He is also called Takejizaiten, the king who makes free use of the fruits of others' efforts for his own pleasure. Served by innumerable minions, he works to obstruct Buddhist practice and delights in sapping the life force of other beings. He corresponds to tenji-ma, the last of the three obstacles and four devils. Nichiren Daishonin interprets the Devil of the Sixth Heaven as the manifestation of the fundamental darkness (Japanese, gampon no mumyo) inherent in life.

3.Ten worlds 1. Hell-profound suffering 2. Hunger-insatiable greed 3. Animality- instinctual fear/pride 4. Anger- uncontainable hatred 5. Humanity (tranquility)- Passive, vulnerable 6. Heaven (rapture) -intense joy 7. Learning -seeking 8. Realization- perceive learning 9. Bodhisattva- determined to achieve 10. Buddhahood- infinite compassion boundless wisdom