Tuesday, June 16, 2015

THE SIX REALMS OF SAMSARIC EXISTENCE


           

Some of my Dharma friends asked me to present to them a more detailed description of the six realms of samsaric existence. So, I tried my best to do this in the six articles listed below.

But before reading them, I strongly advise you to carefully study my article, Some Buddhist Explanations on the Origin and Existence of the Universe as well as the articles, There is no Creator God in the Buddha Dharma and Two Questions on Buddha-nature and Samsara.

There is also another very important reason for which I wrote these explanations of the six planes of existence. It is the same reason why Master Genshin or Bodhisattva Vasubandhu took great pains to describe them - to help true disciples to become aware of the painful reality of the samsaric existence and to make them wish to escape from it:

"Leaving the Unclean World means to abhor and to depart from this impure world. It means to depart not only from this human world but also from the entire Six Realms. These all taken together constitute what is called the Three Worlds.
There is no peace in the Three Realms. The Buddha explained them by comparing them with a burning house and by saying that it is like living in a house which is on fire.. It is a thing above all others from which to separate oneself with a feeling of disgust".

Thus, I urge my Dharma friends and readers to carefully meditate on the various pains of these realms, and quickly turn their minds toward Amida Buddha, entrust their karmic destiny to Him and wish to be reborn in His Pure Land after death. As Master Genshin stated:

"Truly this world is a prison-house and the Pure Land is our true country. We should therefore make haste to dislike and escape from this prison-house and turn to our true country of the Pure Land".[1]

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            As I already explained in the article Some Buddhist Explanations on the Origin and Existence of the Universe, every single world in the category of a small, medium or large universe, ours included, consists of three general planes of existence:

  1. the world of desire (kamadhatu)
  2. the world of form (rupadhatu)
  3. the world of non-form (arupyadhatu)
These planes of existence are inhabited by various beings, each living in six different realms, depending on their karma[2] and level of spiritual development.
The world of desire (kamadhatu)is the lowest of the three planes of existence, and it contains (from the bottom to the top) the realm of hells (naraka), the realm of hungry ghosts (preta), the realm of animals (tiryanc), the realm of humans (manusya), the realm of fighting spirits[3] (asuras) and some realms of the gods (devas).
The world of form (rupadhatu) and the world of non-form (arupyadhatu) contain only the realms of superior gods.

Click on each of the articles bellow to read about every realm of existence:




4. HUMANS

5. ASURAS

6. GODS


Note: all the above six articles are under constant revision and improvement





[1] Chapter seven of his Ojoyoshu.
[2] Simply stated, karma is any action by thought, deed and word which one day (in this life or future lives) will produce an effect. All that we think, speak or do will affect our personal history. What we are now represents the result of what we thought, said or did in the past, in another lifetime or in the present life; and what we think, speak and do in the present will create us in the future. Shakyamuni said: „Not in the heaven, not in the middle of the ocean, not in the mountain caves: there is no place in this world where you can hide from the consequences of your deeds”.  
[3] They are sometimes called, „demigods”.

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