Literal? Yes. With the divine eye you can see the sphere above the earth in which bodies made of mind soar in light feeding on joy. If you had the divine eye, if you had simple clairvoyance, this would be obvious to you. Then the question would be settled and you would see that it is quite literally not important to the practice of Buddhism. Why? Because you have no idea where you are heading. Good people wind up with Bad Fates. Bad people wind up with Good Fates. And Bad people have bad fates, while good people have good ones. All of these possibilities exist and since no one understands how karma fully operates, you're best off simply trying to improve the way you live in the here and the now. This is the criteria for living which Buddhists practice; whether a world exist for us after death or not, the question of living right
remains unchanged. But to be clear, there are many things to be seen with the divine eye. A heaven above us and many more in different places. There is one particular heaven that is quite interesting. The occupants are made like solid bricks. Their forms are white and radiant. There are no more than 20 or 30 of them. There are males and females. They remain still and they have no burdens. It is a rare event for anyone to be reborn in this place and it is also rare event for anyone of these Beings to meet their death in this place. The heaven they live in is cold. A quick silver light circumscribes the plane. They live in the center of a whirlpool of consciousness. They are emblent. They are pure white. They are thick solid. Immovable. Thoroughly benevolent but able to crush a man into pile of dust with a single impulse. They are strong and beautiful. The divine eye is not craziness. The divine eye is the extension that we make to the infinite nature of consciousness. Simply because consciousness is infinite we who have the power, ability, and insight can view whatever we wish, when ever we choose. If I choose to view the gas station down the road from my house I view it in my consciousness. I am able to do so because I am attached to the infinite field of consciousness. That consciousness has a proximity to the gas station and I have a natural ability to take up a point of reference in side that proximity. Thus I can look at gas stations, the back of my own head, anything I want, and the heaven that lies above. With age the power diminishes, as so too does the vitality of the heart from which all things spring. I haven't read specific details about the 31 planes of existence, but if I looked it up such that each plane was given a description I could easily go there in my mind. So, for me it is not even a question. But why would you even care what I think? The monks say, "keep meditating". You're not happy with the answer, most likely because you don't understand their intent. Develop the divine eye, then observe whatever plane it is you wish to observe. This still will not tell you whether you will exist or not after death. It will also fail to tell you if you will reappear on any of these planes. It sounds stupid, but assume your heading straight for "the bad destination" and practice living well as if your immortal soul depended on it, because if the assumption is true, it does.