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The Soul World as I Understand It

Updated on June 8, 2013
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Do soul worlds exist? If you believe in an afterlife, i.e. life after death, then you obviously must believe in its existence. However, if you do not believe in an afterlife, then trying to convince you would be a topic in itself and is therefore beyond the scope of this discussion.

Yet, even if we all do agree that soul worlds exist, our idea of what they are like is very likely to differ. This is because different religions have different views as to what the soul world is.

I must admit that my belief in a soul world came rather late in life, i.e. in the early 2000s, when I was around age 50. Earlier on, I had been searching for the meaning of life and in the process, entered the domain of religion, when I studied Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism. My interest in the soul world only happened when I began to actively study Buddhism after my early retirement in 2002. I stayed at various Theravada Buddhist monasteries to practise meditation, but it was only after I read a Mahayana Buddhist text about the afterlife that I was finally convinced as to what shape the soul world is like.

An Inclusive Model of the Soul World

This model of the soul world, largely based on the Mahayana Buddhist model, claims that there are 3 realms in the soul world:

The Soul World
The Soul World
  1. The Desire (Form and Sense) World;
  2. The Form World (without senses); and
  3. The Formless World.

Each of these worlds comprises many sub-levels and as such, we should view the 3 worlds as a continuous spectrum, merging into one another, rather than as an abrupt change from one world to the next.

The Formless World is at the top of the hierarchy and therefore, all formless gods are among the highest souls. There is not just one formless god but many. Souls (gods) in this world live for aeons (a very, very long time), such that as Buddha said, they tend to forget that they are mortal beings that would also eventually die. The God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam belongs to this realm. So also is the Su God of Mahikari.

The Form World (without senses) is an intermediate realm between the Formless World and the Desire (Form and Sense) World. Souls in this world have form but do not have the 5 senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. This is why, when devotees pray to this type of gods, they have a statue but do not offer food. Many Hindu gods fall into this category.

Hungry ghost
Hungry ghost | Source

The Desire (Form and Sense) World is the lowest realm in the soul world hierarchy, and is further divided into 6 sub-realms, according to Buddhism:

  1. Devas (gods or deities): Practically all Chinese gods fall into this category, as can be seen from how the Chinese offer food to their deities;
  2. Humans;
  3. Animals;
  4. Asuras (demons): These are souls that suffer from the poison of hate;
  5. Hungry ghosts: These are souls that are full of greed; and
  6. Hell.

Buddhism believes in instantaneous reincarnation. However, based on what I learned from attending seances that attempt to contact the deceased, there is another sub-realm where the deceased go to. It is sometimes called "Hades". Hades differ from Hell in that Hades is very much like our world, while Hell is the prison. Not surprisingly, the Desire World is the most populated of the 3 Worlds, with the last 4 sub-realms of the Desire World in the above list being the most populated.

Scientific Evidence of Rebirth by Dr Jim Tucker

Where each soul belongs to depends solely on the purity of their heart, irrespective of religion. What is a pure heart? WikiAnswers puts its as "a heart free of possessiveness, a heart able to feel the sorrow of others, a heart that thirsts for what is right, a heart that is not vengeful. We see a pure heart in the face of any saintly person."

In Buddhism, a pure heart is defined as a heart that is free from the 3 poisons of attachment, aversion, and ignorance, sometimes translated in simpler terms, albeit less accurately, as greed, hate, and delusion. Attachment, however, is more than just greed. If you think of having a hotdog for breakfast, it's said that you have an attachment to hotdogs, an earthly object, and thus disqualify you from entering the Form World without senses. Sounds tough, right? That's why it is so hard to reach the higher levels of the soul world. And if your idea of heaven is a land full of honey and wine, then you would, by now, know which of the 3 worlds you would belong to, in the Hereafter, for what is the point of having honey and wine, if you have no sense of taste to enjoy them.

The Six Realms of the Desire World

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Source

My understanding of what religion is all about

I find this all-inclusive view of the spiritual or soul world very appealing because there is room to accommodate all religions, including atheists. The only criterion for elevation in the spiritual world is a pure heart: the purer the heart, the higher a soul will be elevated in the spiritual world.

This view of the soul world also implies that all religions are mere vehicles to spirituality. It admits of the fact that all of us are at various stages in our spiritual development and that there is no such thing as "My religion is better than yours". Many people cannot, for example, visualize a formless god and require something in front of them to focus their attention in order to seek spiritual guidance. Hence, for such people, a god from the lower Form World, that they can mentally associate with, will suit them better. A corollary would be if you want to study a new subject or a new language. If you have zero knowledge to begin with, you start at the lowest level. You don't try to apply to a university, do you? For those who have some knowledge, they can commence at an intermediate level. So let us respect each other's religion because religions are not an end in itself but merely vehicles to spirituality.

Imagine two persons bickering over whose religion is the only one true religion and ending up with hatred. What is their spiritual level? It doesn't require rocket science to know that if elevation in the spiritual world means having a pure heart that is full of love and compassion, and devoid of hatred, those who bicker over religion will sink to the bottom of the soul-world pyramid and will have a lowly existence in the Hereafter. A religious person should be a kind-hearted and harmless person, not an ugly bigot. If he is full of hatred, even if his hatred is only to protect his own religion, then one of the lowest realms is where he rightly belongs. That's it! This concept of the soul world makes more sense to me than those so-called religious followers killing innocent lives in the name of their religion.

Source

Do we need a religion?

Gods and prophets are here to guide us, that's all. Unlike kings, they cannot pardon us because all karmic debts have to be repaid, one way or another. If anyone kills another, he or she goes to Hell. That's it. If it were not the case, it would be unfair to the victim and to others, whether they also kill or otherwise. What one can only do is to do more good deeds to offset their negative deeds. On that note, war can NEVER be sanctioned and cannot be justified, except in self-defense.

That being so, why would we then need a religion? Well, followers of a religion usually form a community where they help one another. The immediate benefit is apparent. Similarly, souls, spiritual guides, and gods from the other world can also help you. Just like friends and strangers, they sometimes help you without your asking. Usually, however, you have to ask because you have the right to live your life the way you see fit... the Christians call it "free-will". As Jesus said, "Ask and it shall be given to you," meaning if you do not ask, God is not going to interfere with your life.

One can also seek help from the dark forces of the other world. This is what black magic is all about. It is my understanding that whether you are a black magician or merely a 'patron', you will have to suffer Hell in the Hereafter for entangling yourself with it. I came to this conclusion after hearing about a friend who contacted her deceased mother through a séance. Her mother told her that she was undergoing great suffering in Hell for using black magic to stop her husband (my friend's father) from philandering.

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    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      I agree with many of your points. Yes we are all on a level of learning. I have been to that other side or within myself and it is wonderful. I don't know which level of Soul I would call it. I wrote about it but have unpublished for the time being as I was getting lots of hate in the comments. I am working on it and will re-publish in a week or so, hmm maybe a bit longer.

      I don't know why I get so much negativity from people. I can't figure out if it is just my name or they think that I am an easy target or that I will commence fighting with them and be their converts. At first I thought that I was bringing it all to me, but then started seeing others being mis treated like I am being too. Teaching love is a very difficult thing and when you have been to that other side or within they do not understand and so will call names and such.

      Thanks for the article and I voted it up, awesome and interesting.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Lady Guinevere, why would you unpublish it, if you believe in what you wrote? I have been thrown mud in the Malaysian forums for my political views, but I couldn't be bothered with them. I state my views and they state theirs.

      Rush Limbaugh says: "The truth does not require a majority to prevail, ladies and gentlemen. The truth is its own power. The truth will out. Never forget that."

      "The minority is sometimes right; the majority always wrong." -- George Bernard Shaw

      (P/S: A Maori psychic once told me that I am an old soul, meaning that I have reincarnated many times. Awwww, is that why money is not enough to drive me? I haven't written a hub with well-researched high-paying keywords yet.)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      LOL. I have been told the same thing about me being an OLD Soul. Interesting.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Lady Guinevere, old souls tend to be less materialistic and more open-minded. That was what the Maori psychic told me. New souls tend to be more ambitious in this world. They are always on the go. All of us are at different stages in our spiritual development and hence, we see things differently. When I read your reply to my question on Christianity, I find that I can relate to you better. That is not to say that the answers from some others are wrong. Their answers is what the Church has ingrained into them. While I don't agree with some of their answers, I know that many believe that theirs is the right answer. So it's good to hear from everybody and make our own decision. The truth does not require a majority to prevail, says Limbaugh.

    • Jen888 profile image

      Jen888 4 years ago

      Interesting!

    • profile image

      EmilyZ 4 years ago

      Another very interesting hub. Your article left me thinking and pondering.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      EmilyZ... thinking and pondering about what? When you write it down, then you won't have to think and ponder. I will do the thinking for you, and probably some other visitors, too.

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Nice to meet you Walter, Very interesting article and I agree, we should never judge someone's religion because whatever the case may be in this life, is what that person needs.

      You mentioned hell a couple times, what is hell to you. I don't believe souls go to a bad place for eternity and are able to raise their level of love. How do they do that? Now, that's a whole other subject . . . hee, Take care, Kathi

    • WalterPoon profile image
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      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Hi Fossillady, thanks for dropping by. Hell is a prison where one undergoes punishment for something bad that he (or she) has done in his lifetime. Once he has served his sentence, he will be freed and will go to Hades to await his next reincarnation. This is a Chinese belief and I believe it, based on the seances that friends and acquaintances have attended, when trying to contact their deceased parents.

      Who goes to Hell? From what I know, people who commit suicide, those who dabble in black magic... more, I do not know because the two examples are based on seances that I have heard. Fortunately, none of my relatives are in Hell, so I have not heard of it personally...

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      I don't believe in the hell that is fire and brimstone or judgement as harsh as it can get. That is here on this earth and each of us does go through it at least once in their lifetimes. That same goes for heaven. Each person's hell and heaven are strictly for their own life and learning process. Nothing it totally bad or evil. It is just misunderstood by others and not self. I have written a hub on my account of the other side. You may read it if you like.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Lady Guinevere, the Chinese does not believe in going to heaven because to them, heaven is for the gods. Incidentally, Chinese gods are at the lowest level in the hierarchy of gods and even then, it's almost impossible for humans to go there, according to Chinese belief.

      I have read your hub, "CROSSING OVER - THE OTHER SIDE OF LIFE". I've never had a near-death experience (NDE) but I had an out-of-body experience once. I don't think you can see or hear everything with an NDE. My neighbor saw very beautiful houses but not a single soul.

      The one who committed suicide by jumping off the building was asked to repeat the act at the exact building that she did so continuously. She complained that she was very tired. The one who did black magic on her husband to prevent him from straying only said that she was suffering in hell but gave no further details.

      I remembered attending a séance to contact my father-in-law. The client before me was contacting her 18-year old son who had died recently in a motorcycle accident. He was crying non-stop during the entire séance, saying that he was serving time in a prison until his natural lifespan was up.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Like I said it is personal as in each person will have an experience for the individual and religion does play a very important role in all of that. When we cross over we are still who we are but with the exception of a physical body. Our senses are limited and that is the reason why most of us what to come back..to experience those senses and the body again and learn what we wish to learn. That is my experience and what I have been taught. yours may be different according to your lesson plan and what you want to do with your education of your SELF.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      QUOTE: "... each person will have an experience for the individual and religion does play a very important role in all of that".

      Can't agree more... I always wonder why Chinese gods look so Chinese and Indian gods look so Indian, LOL.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      I have something very special to share with you. Para Glider used to be an excellent writer for HP but he also has moved on. He wrote an article that is now someplace else and I have the link to it. You cannot comment on it though and that is the way that he set it. It is very good in telling us In The Beginning Was The Word.....: https://sites.google.com/site/rationalexpress/the-...

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Para Glider is a good writer and his explanation will find favor among the followers of the 3 monotheistic religions, but not others. Buddha, for example, believed that the universe always existed. In his article, "Why I Am Not A Christian", Sir Bertrand Russell spoke at length as to why he rejects the Creation Story. The very fact that Para Glider refuses to allow comments speaks volumes... to me, the reason is simple enough. He can't defend what he says.

      Having said that, let's come back to why the old-timers are leaving. These writers had it easy during the pre-Panda days when they could write any damned thing and still gets published. But the launch of Panda in mid-2011 changed all that. HubPages was very badly hit, causing it to lose 72% of its traffic from Google Search. In short, HubPages was facing a big crisis that could potentially wipe it off the face of the internet. Understandably, HubPages CEO, Paul Edmondson, was deeply incensed. But you can't fight Google, can you? What you can only do is to play their game. And that's what HubPages is doing... ensuring that HubPages' contents meet Google's requirements. Even so, as of 2013, it's visibility is still 62% lower than its pre-Panda days. What would you have done, if you were HubPages' CEO?

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Paul sold the company. Para Glider was on HP and hasn't been for a while now. He doesn't allow comments on that venue. He did allow comments when he had that article here on HP and defended his place very much. I have been here 5 years now and I am teetotalling about leaving as well. You talk about the Moderators as some all powerful being and they are not. My experience with them has been less desirable than anything else. I was even asked to be a spy on my fellow hubbers. That is something that I don't do and will never do.

      Google thinks it is all big and bad and yes I think it is a bit bullyish. What comes up must come down. People will start to revolt and they have certainly done so with HP.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Ohhh, I didn't know that Paul sold the company. Seems like he thinks there is no future, then. What is there to spy on fellow hubbers? The business model is very simple. For every cent our hub brings in, we get 60%, while HubPages get 40%. If HubPages is not strict, the whole ship will sink, that's all I know, and I won't want to join a sinking ship. So far, the moderators are kind to me, except for one incident where I placed a link to support my answers in Q&A and they banned me for one day. I think there was a problem with that link, because I saw others doing it without any problem and I've been doing it again lately. As I don't know whether those links are safe, I do it sparingly, after much deliberation.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Hmm there be lots that you don't know....yet. Ask Randy Godwin on that hub link that I gave you what the percentages are and what we really get. he will tell you too. As far as Paul and Ralph selling the company it was before that 2011 panda. There was a hub about it but that has gone missing along with other things too. I do check my links before I post them.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Here's an article by Search Engine Land, entitled, "Google Panda Two Years Later: 5 Questions With HubPages CEO Paul Edmondson", dated February 26, 2013.

      Why would Search Engine Land call Paul as HubPages CEO, if he had left before that 2011 Panda? Do read the article, as it explains how HubPages is handling the Panda crisis and why it is doing what it is doing today.

      The question is: "What do old-timers think would be a better approach to handle the Panda crisis?

      http://searchengineland.com/google-panda-two-years...

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 4 years ago from West By God

      Oh there is an article or forum post about that here on HP. He was not the only owner. Paul Deeds was also the other owner. The new owner now shows up as a VP and not an owner. He showed up as Owner before and I saw it and read his complete bio on HP in the link at the bottom "About". That has completely changed. You were able to see all the moderators there too and their positions and their bio's ...now they are gone.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 4 years ago from Malaysia

      Oh, so there are two Pauls. So confusing, LOL. Bottom line is that this business is some sort of an MLM. When one wins, everyone wins. Conversely, if one loses, everyone loses. It's not a zero-sum game.

    • tamron profile image

      tamron 4 years ago

      What a well written hub and with great details. I really won't comment or press my beliefs on anyone.

      Its not my job to convert anyone to God after all why would he need me or anyone else to prove his existence.

      Great Hub!

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Great article.

      Well written and thought provoking.

      Our beliefs are similar, but not in respect to the severity of the afterlife worlds.

      There is much we cannot know about the afterlife, or rather, that we are not meant to know, in this plane of existence.

      But i sense that we are all connected in the spirit world, (in the telepathic sense).

      Most of the complex scenarios of the after life that man uses in his feeble attempts to explain things there, is way to limited to justify, or adequately make any sense at all of the complexities that are beyond our comprehension level (limited brain power).

      The most intelligent human is still below the level of the intellect of a new computer before any data input, in comparison.

      So, any explanations that any religion gives of what the afterlife is like most likely is nowhere near the reality of it.

      The intelligence of man in comparison to the spirit world is the same as the comparison of an amoeba to man.

      So the very best we can ever do on this planet is to never do harm to another soul while on its journey here.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      D. William, you are right. This is my attempt to depict the soul world, based on my reading of the various religions. It is a general picture.

      Mahayanist Buddhism details the 31 planes of existence, describing how the souls look like, their average life span, etc in each of the planes of existence. What I am interested in is just an overall picture to show that there is no such thing as only one true religion, and why the accounts of various religions seemingly contradict with one another.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 3 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      My comments were not meant as a criticism, just an observation. Your depiction was well presented and it is imperative that we point out the contradictory differences between the religious teachings of the various sects.

      It is sad to see such bickering between religions when such matters are totally unknown and really irrelevant when the inevitable end for all humans is death and uncertainty.

      We (most people) live in fear of death, and fear of a wrathful God that will pass judgment on them as soon as they pass over. I have never believed that to be anywhere near truth. We simply return to the spirit realm from which we came. And hopefully with a greater knowledge, and understanding, of the material world and all its imperfections, along with all the memories of the beauteous wonders here.

    • WalterPoon profile image
      Author

      Poon Poi Ming 3 years ago from Malaysia

      D. William, I'm sorry if I give you the impression that your comments were meant as a criticism. Actually, I never thought it was a criticism when you started off your post with "well written and thought provoking".

    • KenWu profile image

      KenWu 3 years ago from Malaysia

      Interesting! Most people tend to ignore this topic out of disbelief or simply ignorance. Most people believe that there is no other world after death. The world right now is the only world that exists and once everything is done, then is done. In other worlds, you're finished when your time comes.

      In the Buddhism teaching particular in the Pureland Mahayana Buddhism, there is another type of world that exists, known as, well of course, Pureland which this refers to the Amitabha Western Pureland of Ultimate Bliss. This world is not a heaven but rather a world that manifested or belong to a particular Buddha. In Mahayana Buddhism, it is believed that every Buddha has his own pureland where the awakened one resides in until he leaves the 10 Dharma realm.

      Amitabha Pureland is the most famous one in the teaching of Mahayana Buddhism because based on the vows of this Buddha, a deceased person will be able to enter this world to continue dharma cultivation and thus, escaping the suffering of rebirth in the samsara.

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