31 Realms of Samsara

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31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Will » Sun May 06, 2012 6:23 pm

This has a chart laying out the realms or planes that beings within cyclic existence reside in:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dham ... /loka.html
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun May 06, 2012 6:32 pm

Will wrote:
Lhug-Pa wrote:Are the desire, form, and formless realms all in samsara?

Or is it only the desire realm that is in samsara?

The Deva Loka for example is in the desire realm right? And since the Deva Loka is the highest Loka of samsara, this would put the form and formless realms above samsara. So then why have I also read that the form and formless realms are also in samsara?

There are 5 or 6 deva realms in the kamadhatu, and another 25 or so in the form & formless realms. But all of these 3 realms are samsara.

Here is a chart of the realms of the Three Worlds: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=77&t=8188


Figured it was something like that. :idea:

I need to study more. :reading: :meditate:

Thank you Will. :anjali:
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Wesley1982 » Tue May 08, 2012 11:25 pm

um yes heads up :reading: thank you . .
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Nosta » Wed May 09, 2012 11:11 pm

Remember that the 31 realms dont include Pure Lands, and thats because Pure Lands are not Samsara.
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Bhusuku » Wed May 09, 2012 11:23 pm

Umm... asaññasatta = Only body is present; no mind... what kind of "beings" are those? :thinking:
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Bhusuku » Wed May 09, 2012 11:50 pm

Ok, found it: it seems noone ever believed that these beings really exist, except for the Vibhajyavādins... obviously, they had some pretty strange ideas.
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby plwk » Thu May 10, 2012 2:02 am

Umm... asaññasatta = Only body is present; no mind... what kind of "beings" are those? :thinking:

Sounds like some of the people I know who party from Friday til Monday and turn up for work on Monday stoned... :tongue:

http://www.palikanon.com/english/pali_n ... asatta.htm
Inhabitants of the fifth of the nine abodes of beings (sattāvāsā). These beings are unconscious and experience nothing (A.iv.401). As soon as an idea occurs to them they fall from their state (D.i.28). Brahmin ascetics, having practised continual meditation and attained to the fourth jhāna, seeing the disadvantages attached to thinking, try to do away with it altogether. Dying in this condition, they are reborn among the Asaññasattā, having form only, but neither sensations, ideas, predispositions nor consciousness. They last only as long as their power of jhāna; then an idea occurs to them and they die straightaway (DA.i.118).

The Andhakas held that these devas were really only sometimes conscious, which belief the Theravādins rejected as being absurd (Kvu.262).

The Elder Sobhita was once born among the Asaññasattā and could remember that existence. These devas are long-lived. ThagA.i.291.

Related discussion here
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Bhusuku » Thu May 10, 2012 7:45 am

As soon as an idea occurs to them they fall from their state (D.i.28).

I'm curious how it is explained that a being without mind can ever have any idea at all.

Anyway, I was always wondering why I'm losing my sunglasses all the time, but maybe they're all just asaññasattas and dissapear abruptly because they had an idea and get reborn in another realm. That would explain why I never can find them again...
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Aemilius » Thu May 10, 2012 8:40 am

Nosta wrote:Remember that the 31 realms dont include Pure Lands, and thats because Pure Lands are not Samsara.


Please look again!
Plane 27. named the Pure Realms includes five abodes for those that have attained the paths of non-returners and arahants. Akanittha is same as sanskrit Akanistha, which is mentioned in the mahamudra texts as the abode of Buddha Vajradhara.
Also the plane 9. Tushita, where Bodhisattva Maitreya is presently dwelling.
The difference is not so clear cut.

Here is a Mahayana version of it, planes of existence in Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosa http://abhidharmakosa.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/akb-ch-3-web.pdf scroll down a little.
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Nosta » Thu May 10, 2012 6:58 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Nosta wrote:Remember that the 31 realms dont include Pure Lands, and thats because Pure Lands are not Samsara.


Please look again!
Plane 27. named the Pure Realms includes five abodes for those that have attained the paths of non-returners and arahants. Akanittha is same as sanskrit Akanistha, which is mentioned in the mahamudra texts as the abode of Buddha Vajradhara.
Also the plane 9. Tushita, where Bodhisattva Maitreya is presently dwelling.
The difference is not so clear cut.

Here is a Mahayana version of it, planes of existence in Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosa http://abhidharmakosa.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/akb-ch-3-web.pdf scroll down a little.



Thanks for clarifying.

This is what happens when i read things very fast :D
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Aemilius » Fri May 11, 2012 8:55 am

Abhidharmakosha gives more information of the Deva realms, their extremely long life spans, and the height of their forms. Which is quite interesting, and it raises questions, if a historical buddhist master achieved a state of dhyana, which lasts for example 80 000 years, how can he be reborn again in the present era as a nirmanakaya/tulku?
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Aemilius » Fri May 11, 2012 9:15 am

Nosta wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
Nosta wrote:Remember that the 31 realms dont include Pure Lands, and thats because Pure Lands are not Samsara.


Please look again!
Plane 27. named the Pure Realms includes five abodes for those that have attained the paths of non-returners and arahants. Akanittha is same as sanskrit Akanistha, which is mentioned in the mahamudra texts as the abode of Buddha Vajradhara.
Also the plane 9. Tushita, where Bodhisattva Maitreya is presently dwelling.
The difference is not so clear cut.

Here is a Mahayana version of it, planes of existence in Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosa http://abhidharmakosa.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/akb-ch-3-web.pdf scroll down a little.



Thanks for clarifying.

This is what happens when i read things very fast :D


Actually the realms 23... through 27 are the Five Pure Abodes in this system and the highest of them is the Akanishta.
Some sources say that only anagamins reside there, arhants are beyond form and location in that view.
But then we have all the stream entrants, and once returners, and bodhisattvas, who after their latest human birth reside in some of these worlds too.
Because the life spans of Devas are extremely long they may be living there because of their practice of Dharma under previous Buddhas, long time ago. This means that Dharma and results of Dharma exist in these realms in this sense, outside the Pure Abodes in the realms of Samsara.
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Son » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:21 pm

Here's some knowledge about the devalokas of the kamaloka. The celestial worlds of the devas of the sense-world.

Almost all the kama-devas above the first pleasure sphere (catumaharajika) have castles or "pleasure mansions" of their own, but many of them seem to require residency with other devas, then there are husbands, wives, and "children," along with servants and attendants. But no one is homeless. Sometimes devas who become married merge their castles together. Once you reach the Yama world, Tusita, Nimminarati and Paranimmitavasavatti, the castles can float. Also these worlds aren't shaped like earth, but are like discs, with centers that spread outward.

Life in each pleasure world is much brighter and pleasing than the lower, with grander castles, more refined beauty (in jewels, flowers, decorations), and generally everything is just more enjoyable. In Yama, beings only need to embrace one another to experience sex. Yama is the world of the care-free devas, who don't worry or quarrel as some inferior devas do. In Tusita, they hold hands for sexual bliss. Tusita is the world of the highly contented ones, who are incredibly joyous and their happy lives are filled with gaiety. Everyone here is pious, and kind, and not given to aversion. This is where future Buddhas reside, and there many bodhisattvas dwelling in Tusita. In Nimmin. they just smile at one another, and in Paranimmi the devas avoid looking into one another's eyes because it causes sexual bliss--so if they want to, they just make eye contact, and they have sexual bliss. In the celestial lokas, many of the devas acquire celestial vehicles according to their merit.

In catumaharajika, which is what the world above us is called, things are mostly different. Because of the nature of accumulated merit in this sphere, there are many diverse beings. Birth can occur spontaneously as in all the other kamalokas, but it can also occur in the womb, in the moisture of water, or in eggs--just like lower births. There is also the possibility of being neither male nor female, in this celestial world.

There are four main cities, one for each continent, filled with tall crystal castles and beautiful flower ponds. Outside the cities there is a vast, mythical forest called "Himavanta" in some places. Where Tavatimsa is likened to "Olympus," the forest of catumaharijika is likened to the faery forest of the Faery Kingdom in Western mythology. According to some Buddhist sources, it is thought that long, long ago humans were "closer" to the celestial forest, but in time because of our increasing defilement, we were sundered from it. Really, this supports the mysterious "human origins" story from Abhidharma.

Magikal golden trees with golden lives grow in solitude throughout the celestial forest, growing beautiful flowers which become amazing fruit for short periods--and the devas compete for these fruits. Leaves that fall in the forest disappear and do not accumulate. Many miraculous and magikal animal-beings inhabit the forest, and these are devas. Some of the lower-class devas reside "parallel" to the earth, in other words with us. These devas may reside just sort of wherever, or in trees or in mansion above tree, the earth, or in the air. Some devas look very ugly and displeasing, others do not. Some of them look like frightening or beautiful animals, others look like humans. Experience in this devaloka isn't that great, really. However, mostly they live for a very long time, and the maximum lifespan is over thousands of years.

Beyond Tavatimsa and Yama, in Nimmin. the devas have the ability to create whatever sense-objects they desire. In lower worlds, devas inherit their castle based on merit, but these devas can change their castle however they'd like. In paranimmi tavasavatti, the devas do not even have to create. They can freely behold and possess the other celestial creations, and have hundreds of attendants. Lesser devas do not have to do much, and reap the fruit of their past merit; these highest devas, however, really don't need to do anything at all, they have whatever they need or want simply by wish. That's why there is a being dwelling here who is called "Mara."

As devas experience the end of their lifespan, this is what takes place:
1) the celestial flowers begin to wilt; 2) the celestial apparel appears dingy; 3) perspiration begins to appear in the armpits; 4) the once glowing complexion turns dull; and 5) the feeling of pleasure turns to boredom.


It's important to note that names given to devas are derived from several uses; how they became devas, based on their merits, their human name, the name they are recognized by according to their actions, or names given by humans who worship them. The rulers of each celestial devaloka differ from the inhabitants because of their greater lifespan, greater merit fruits, and greater powers. Each devaloka has one king, except for catumaharajika.
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Lhug-Pa » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:57 pm

Thanks for the descriptions and explanation Son.

Three great books also explain some of this in detail:

Treasury of Philosophical Systems by Longchen Rabjam

The Supreme Source by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (in relation to the Twelve Dzogchen Teachers)

Treasury of Precious Qualities by Jigme Lingpa (an appendix in the English translation of the mostly-Sutra section of this work)
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Wesley1982 » Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:05 pm

Aemilius wrote:If a historical buddhist master achieved a state of dhyana, which lasts for example 80 000 years, how can he be reborn again in the present era as a nirmanakaya/tulku?


I have no idea. Personal wishes?..
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jun 11, 2012 11:19 am

That is the correct answer. What I mean is that I have some doubts about it. It gives spaciousness to the system of Dharma, if some people stay in various dhyana realms for example 80 000, 400 000 or one million years, before coming back.
Somewhere in the Sutta Pitaka Bhagavan Shakyamuni speaks about his practice of meditation in his past lives. He says that in one life he practiced the meditation of friendliness, Maitri Bhavana, and as a result he was born in the highest brahma heaven. He continues that he was there for one whole Mahakalpa, during this time the material universe came into being, existed, detiorated, and became empty, and all the time he knew nothing about it. The length of a Mahakalpa, a Great aeon, can be found in the original post of this thread.
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Son » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:25 am

Wesley1982 wrote:
Aemilius wrote:If a historical buddhist master achieved a state of dhyana, which lasts for example 80 000 years, how can he be reborn again in the present era as a nirmanakaya/tulku?


I have no idea. Personal wishes?..


They do not necessarily live for 80,000 eons (it's not years). The lifespan can endure for a very short period, according to their karma. When their intentions, plans, or latent cravings create an object for the establishment of consciousness elsewhere, their stored KARMA may lead them their, once their cultivated supportive karma runs out. Then their consciousness is thereby established somewhere else. Beings in that dimension do experience neither perception nor non-perception.

However, why would someone who has nearly attained nirvana be reborn in that dimension? To be precise, a non-returner who postponed nirvana. However someone in that dimension cannot attain nirvana. And non-returners are usually born in the pure abodes of the rupaloka... This is a debacling question... He could postpone nirvana in one dimension, and then ascend to the aforesaid dimension for less than 80,000 kappas, and then descend into human existence as a "nirmanakaya." However it's impossible for him to approach nirvana in that dimension, so he was either a nirmanakaya before or after his lifespan there in the arupaloka.
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Re: 31 Realms of Samsara

Postby Son » Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:39 am

Aemilius wrote:That is the correct answer. What I mean is that I have some doubts about it. It gives spaciousness to the system of Dharma, if some people stay in various dhyana realms for example 80 000, 400 000 or one million years, before coming back.
Somewhere in the Sutta Pitaka Bhagavan Shakyamuni speaks about his practice of meditation in his past lives. He says that in one life he practiced the meditation of friendliness, Maitri Bhavana, and as a result he was born in the highest brahma heaven. He continues that he was there for one whole Mahakalpa, during this time the material universe came into being, existed, detiorated, and became empty, and all the time he knew nothing about it. The length of a Mahakalpa, a Great aeon, can be found in the original post of this thread.


In that dimension the maximum lifespan is the relative mahakappa (cycle of a world). The next three dimensions last for 8 mahakappas. The next three for 64 mahakappas whereupon they dissolve through wind. The dimensions of fruitful and unconscious brahmas aren't destroyed, as well as the five pure abode dimensions above them. And of course, the arupaloka dimensions cannot dissolve. The highest possible lifespan is said to be 84,000 mahakappas. This is of course a relative term, but at any rate, the period of 84,000 world-cycles is a very, very long time. It takes a long time for a solar system to undergo the asankya kappas of formation, endurance, dissolution, and voidness. A very long time. That times 84,000 is a long lifespan. However the largest collection of worlds is approximately a general "billion" world-system. Furthermore, the arupaloka encompasses innumerable billionfold world-systems. Therefore there are always worlds to descend into from the arupaloka regardless of individual lifespan.
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