Six Realms: The Human Realm
Let me tell you a story... There once was a homunculus, a creature brought to life by supernatural means, that lived in the forest. This homunculus, or person made from clay eventually became lonely. The homunculus wanted someone to have and hold, spend time with in the forest and everything in between. Until one day guided by the same supernatural means plus a piece of their own clay fashioned themselves an equal partner.
Now these two homunculi spent day and night together. Enjoying each other and the beauty and bounty of the forest. Until one day they came upon a special plant. This plant had a spell on it like no other green thing in the forest. Even more so the supernatural force, that aided in their creation, threatened them to avoid this very plant, especially the fruit it produced.
Now the homunculus' partner being momentarily separated from each other walking by the plant saw a lizard. This lizard, seeming friendly as any of the other creatures in the forest, began to speak in the most elaborate speech. The lizard seemed special yet looked so ordinary. This lizard possessed wisdom the homunculus had never known. The lizard knew the homunculus's inner desires for the magical food from the cursed plant, and persuade the homunculus to eat. So the homunculus ate the fruit and gave some to their partner. It was at this point both of the homunculi realized they were made of brittle clay. And as much as they loved life nothing in their power could keep them from one day crumbling to dust.
The above story is my personal retelling of the book of Genesis's "Adam & Eve". I deliberately framed this story devoid of loaded gender specifics and casual human terms to illustrate some Buddhist teachings. That of death, impermanence and "The Human Realm". The picture above is not to disparage those that choose to read the "Creation Of Humans" literally but to expound on the universality of the story. The truth here transcends denominations.
You see Adam was, according to medieval scientist also know as alchemist, a homunculus or a Golem. Really the first Golem. A Golem is a statute often made from stone or clay in the likeness of a humanoid creature, though not always. In the biblical/Torah telling Adam is made from dust then the breath of the Creator gives him life. Later on Adam is lonely so the Creator removes one of Adam's ribs and makes a partner for him.
It is a basic tenets of Buddhist & Taoist teaching that nothing lasts forever and things are always changing. In the forest the homunculus' realize through the magical food that they're made of dust and won't last forever. They discovered their own mortality.
In the picture of the Six Realms the Human Realm is the realm of pleasures or desires. Now typically this is the most difficult realm to recognize as dangerous. This is the realm that says it's ok as long as it makes you happy. Wanting more and more is fine as long as that's something that feels good.
The Buddha said that desires lead to suffering. So while we're busy running about finding new and exciting pleasures eventually we'll have to come to grips with our own mortality. If all you're living for is pleasures what happens when those pleasures run out, or it takes more to give you the same high? This is where the human realm becomes the highway to all the other realms. The human realm is also the gateway to addiction. Once the cravings aren't being quenched you can get angry which teleports you to the Hell Realm. Or you feel deprived, off you go to the hungry Ghost Realm. Yet you can say I'm too busy working to enjoy these very things I want so boom you're in the Animal Realm. What about the other two? The Titan and the God Realms we'll chat about them later but when we describe them you'll see how easy they are to find.
Now the human realm is all around us. From cinema to society. Having more and feeling good is an American virtue. Plus the human realm is so much fun. The story of Adam & Eve, or the way I see it, is about the awakening of the human race. Adam was lonely, or bored, or looking to mate. From the way I gather there's really only three categories of Christian sins: eat it, own it, hump it. Or as King James Bible fans would put it "lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life". Eve spoke to a reptile that persuaded her of the very things she, and later Adam wanted. The desire was already within both of them. Adam's desires were to become his sins and so were Eve's. This becomes more obvious in my retelling as it's devoid of blaming all of humanity on a specific gender. Which is just ludicrous! Humans were always going to die. This story is a picture of that awakening.
Now when we're awaken to our mortality we're free to live life more fully! Not hanging onto temporary pleasures but inner joy, compassion, loving kindness and equanimity. We can be free from living only for unquenchable thirsts. Desires can blind you from the present. This is by far the more complicated of realms for me to understand. Yet as we've mentioned earlier being awake to these realms is our first step.
thank you for following this journey,