In this episode of Bangkok Podcast Metaphysics, Greg interviews our favorite guest, Phra Pandit, about notions of heaven and hell in Thai Buddhism. Phra Pandit begins by explaining the difference between reincarnation and rebirth. In Theravada Buddhism, there is not a belief in a constant, steady soul. Instead, life force, for lack of a better term, passes from one lifetime to another, like a flame from one candle to the next. In general, a person cannot remember his or her past lives, but a few, enlightened individuals can. 

Phra Pandit continues by explaining that a person can be reborn in this world, but may very well be reborn into a layer of heaven or hell, all determined by one’s build up of karmic merit or sin. He outlines what specific behaviors will result in someone moving ‘down’ or moving ‘up’ in the afterlife. Next, he discusses the role of angels or ‘devas’ in the system.

The guys also touch on the topic of enlightenment, and Phra Pandit explains that an ‘Arahant’ is someone who has stepped out of the cycle of rebirth completely and is simply not reborn at all. We all have something to look forward to!

And just for our patrons, the worst selfie ever taken by Greg with Phra Pandit at his temple. Double chins FTW!

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