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Volume 4  No 4

The Voice of Bliss

Transmigration in the six realms

People not only transmigrate in the Six Realms when they die. In fact, by the lack of mental discipline they are already doing so while very much alive. This article explains why maintaining a pure mind free of illusions and having the awareness to check it is so important. It is in this way that we find liberation from the Six Realms.

The minds of ordinary people continuously make distinctions or discriminations. The human mind is in a continuous process of arising and cessation, or birth and death, of thoughts. This process of birth and death is called transmigration. This makes us sentient beings. We are characterised by birth and death. Through their minds, people transmigrate in the Six Realms; they are either heavenly, humanly, ghostly or beastly. When one becomes Buddha, then there is neither birth nor death.

We do not transmigrate only when we die. Irrespective of time, the arising of virtuous thoughts links one to the Three Good Realms - Realms of Heaven, Asura and Human, whilst the arising of evil thoughts links one to the Three Evil Realms - Realms of Animal, Ghost and Hell. One naturally transmigrates to the particular realm associated with one's mind at the time when one dies. For example, in their urge to get rich, some unenlightened people seek the assistance of spirits or deities and pray to them for fortune. If for some reasons they should die while thinking about this, then they are bound to transmigrate to the Ghost Realm and become greedy ghosts. In the same way when people die at the time when they were thinking about doing good deeds then they have invoked transmigration to the Heavenly Realm. It is the same with people who think a lot about animals or pets, they invoke transmigration to the Animal Realm when they cannot take their minds off the animals. With people who cheat others of their money or refuse to return what you owe, they become animals of burden such as a horse or cow to repay their debts. Those who die committing homicide or robbery transmigrate to the Hell Realm immediately. Thus, human beings are constantly transmigrating in the Six Realms in this manner.

To avoid transmigration in the Six Realms, we should eradicate all wild and illusory thoughts from our minds. We need to constantly maintain the non-arising of illusory thoughts, and uphold our brightness and awareness. We should heed the Buddhist teaching 'to do no evil; to perform all good deeds; and to purify the mind', and follow the Bodhisattva path. In this way, we will not transmigrate in the Six Realms but reborn in the Buddha Land.


Copyright 2002.Jen Chen Buddhism Centre