I've posted on this Q&A site before when my grandmother just passed away, and some of the answers here really helped me feel a lot better and eased my fear enough for me to go back to my normal life with a better understanding of the teaching, but man it was really short-lived.
Today, during the 49th day of my grandmother's passing, part of the rites we were carrying out involved sitting down and reciting the Ksitigarbha sutra and again, all the talk about all the different kinds of hells really got me feeling so irrationally scared. It took me back to the whole deal where I feel like if I lived like a normal human being, even if I'm not really hurting anyone intentionally, I'm being imperfect and sinful for wanting nice things, cracking dark jokes and just generally living my best life as a city girl. (I explained my fear in depth in my previous post)
There was this one part that jumped out at me particularly this time--I'm not sure if I intepreted it right but it's something along the lines of, I might think something isn't a big deal (maybe something like a white lie or getting angry/annoyed/impatient in the moment), but I will pay for it in the afterlife or something? And immediately my brain just goes to thoughts of all the hells and damnation I've landed myself into for being well...an imperfect human because that's just how the whole cycle works. And again, I'm tossed into this crippling fear of hell and damnation. I feel so worried and scared I can feel everyone around me getting annoyed with me because I always try to slide the topic into conversations in hopes that someone would call me out for being dumb and tell me I'm completely wrong.
If anyone is familiar with the sutra and teachings, could you please enlighten me? I was born into a culturally Chinese Buddhist family. I'd really, really appreciate it.
I'm really spiralling right now as I do more research on my own, like how having a drink (alcohol) and wanting to let my hair down is being mindless and thus will bring suffering and damnation, how desire is the root of all suffering and will also bring damnation and so on. I really, really want to live my life to the fullest and have no regrets. I want to build a nice career, strive for the stars, own a nice (even fancy) house and have a drink and party now and then but it's scaring me so much right now my hands and feet feel cold and I can't think of anything else.
It feels like everything and anything I want to do for myself is considered an unwholesome/bad/selfish and will cause me to go to hell and so on and it's literally terrifying me so much. I'm only 22 and I used to feel so excited and full of life and hungry for the adventure and love and fun life brings but now I have so much of this fear and thoughts I can't seem to be or love myself. It's gotten me feeling that self-love is bad too and I'm just gravely afraid of everything and I feel so crippled and helpless just being myself.
I really feel like I can't be myself without feeling like I'm going to wander to hell after I've lived out my life. I'm so scared and desperate. I used to never want to settle for the ordinary, always wanting to live my life out to the fullest and working for all the pretty and nice things in life (without intentionally hurting other people) and just living a cosy, carefree and happy life as a vibrant, free-spirited girl but now I have so many reservations and I feel so, so scared.
Please be rational and gentle with me, I'd greatly appreciate it.