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Planes of Existence and the Corresponding Meditative States

Posted by Tiki on April 18, 2009 at 5:06 PM

Liberation from the rounds of rebirth require more than just meditative attainments . It is necessary to apply Yoniso Manasikara after emerging from Samma Samadhi ( 1st to 4th Jhana) in order to arrive at a breakthrough by wisdom. 



Arupa-Loka (Formless Realms)


The immaterial or formless sphere (arupa loka) includes four planes into which beings are born as a result of attaining the Four Formless Jhana . The inhabitants of these realms are possessed entirely of mind. Having no physical form or location, they are unable to hear Dhamma teachings. They achieve this by attaining the formless jhana levels in a previous life, and now enjoys the fruits of the good karma of that accomplishment for a period of time before rebirth in a lower plane again. They do not interact with the rest of the universe.   


*  Sphere of Neither Perception Nor Non Perception (nevasannanasannayatanupaga deva)-   The beings in this plane only have mind and no physical body. They are unable to hear Dhamma . In this sphere the formless beings do not engage in "perception".

* Sphere of Nothingness (akincannayatanupaga deva) - Rebirth in this plane is a result of attaining the third formless jhana in a previous life.  This is considered a form of perception, though a very subtle one. 


* The Sphere of Infinite Consciousness (vinnanancayatanupaga deva) - Rebirth in this plane is a result of attaining the second formless jhana. 


* Sphere of Infinite Space (akasanancayatanupaga deva)- Rebirth in this plane is a result of attaining the first formless jhana.



Rupa-Loka (Fine-Material World )


The fine material sphere (rupa-loka) consists of sixteen planes. Beings take rebirth into these planes as a result of attaining the form jhanas. They have bodies made of fine matter. The sixteen planes correspond to the attainment of the four jhanas.   The bodies of Form realm beings do not have sexual distinctions. Like the beings of the Arupa-loka, the dwellers in the Rupa-loka have minds corresponding to the Jhanas.  In their case it is the first four jhanas .


Related Sutta : Jhana Sutta



Pure Abodes(Suddhavasa )


The Pure Abodes, are distinct from the other worlds of the Rupa-loka in that they do not house beings who have been born there through ordinary merit or meditative attainments. Birth in these five realms are a result of attaining the fruit of non-returning or, the third level of enlightenment. These Pure Abodes are accessible only to those who have destroyed the lower five fetters consist of self-view, doubt, clinging to rites and ceremonies, sense desires, and ill-will. They will destroy their remaining fetters of craving for fine material existence, craving for immaterial existence,conceit, restlessness and ignorance  during their existence in the Pure Abodes. Those who take rebirth here are called "non-returners" because they do not return from that world, but attain final nibbana there without coming back.They guard and protect Buddhism on earth, and will pass into enlightenment as Arhats when they pass away from the Suddhavasa worlds. According to the Ayacana Sutta of the Samyutta Nikaya, among its inhabitants is Brahma Sahampati who begs the Buddha to teach Dhamma to the world.


The five Pure Abodes :


Bṛhatphala Planes- These two realms are a result of  attaining the fourth jhana. They  remain in the tranquil state attained in the 4th Jhana, and is characterized by equanimity. One of them is the realm of mindless beings who have only bodies without consciousness.

Śubhakṛtsna Planes- These three realms are a result of attaining the third jhana. The mental state of the devas of these worlds corresponds to the third jhana, and is characterized by a quiet joy (sukha).  These devas have bodies that radiate a steady light.


Ābhāsvara Planes- These three are a result of attaining the second jhana. The mental state of the devas of this worlds corresponds to the second jhana, and is characterized by piti as well as sukkha.


Brahmā Planes- The mental state of the devas of the Brahmā worlds corresponds to the first jhana.


Categories: Various Meditative States and Corresponding Planes

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