Three Realms or Worlds (Triloka)


Causes of Rebirth here


Formless Realm (arupaloka) Accessible to those who pass away while meditating in the formless jhanas The inhabitants of these realms are possessed entirely of consciousness. Having no physical body, they are unable to hear Dharma teachings.


 Neither-perception-nor-non-perception (nevasaññanasaññayatanupaga deva

 Fourth formless jhana

Nothingness (akiñcaññayatanupaga deva)

 Third formless jhana

Infinite Consciousness (viññanañcayatanupaga deva)

 Second formless jhana

Infinite Space (akasanañcayatanupaga deva)

 First formless jhana  Form Realm (ripaloka)

Peerless devas (akanittha deva)
Clear-sighted devas (sudassi deva)
Beautiful devas (sudassa deva)
Untroubled devas (atappa deva)
Devas not Falling Away (aviha deva)

 Fourth jhana These are the five Pure Abodes (suddhavasa), which are accessible only to non-returners (anagami) and arhats. Beings who become non-returners in other planes are reborn here, where they attain arhatship.
Among its inhabitants is Brahma Sahampati, who begs the Buddha to teach Dharma to the world.Unconscious beings (asaññasatta) Fourth jhana Only body is present; no mind or consciousness.Very Fruitful devas (vehapphala deva) Fourth jhana

Devas of Refulgent Glory or Pervasive Purity(subhakinna deva)
Devas of Unbounded Glory or Limitless Purity (appamanasubha deva)
Devas of Limited Glory or Lesser Purity(parittasubha deva)

 Third jhana

Devas of Streaming Radiance or Light-Sound Heaven (abhassara deva)
Devas of Unbounded Radiance or Limitless Light (appamanabha deva)
Devas of Limited Radiance or Lesser Light(parittabha deva)

 Second jhana

Great Brahmas (Maha brahma
Ministers of Brahma (brahma-purohita deva)
Retinue or Multitudes of Brahma (brahma-parisajja deva)

 First jhana  Desire Realm (kamaloka)        Six Heavenly Realms within the Desire Realm

Devas Wielding Power over the Creation of Others (paranimmita-vasavatti deva)

 Ten Good Characteristics These devas enjoy sense pleasures created by others for them. Mara, the personification of delusion and desire, lives here.

Devas Delighting in Creation (nimmanarati deva)

 Ten Good Characteristics These devas delight in the sense objects of their own creation.

Contented devas (tusita deva)

 Ten Good Characteristics A realm of pure delight and gaiety. Bodhisattas abide here prior to their final human birth. This is where the Maitreya Bodhisatta, the next Buddha, dwells.

Yama devas-Suyama Heavens (yama deva)

 Ten Good Characteristics These devas live in the air, free of all difficulties.

The Thirty-three Gods (tavatimsa or trayastrimsha deva)

 Ten Good Characteristics Sakra (Indra), a devotee of the Buddha, presides over this realm. Many devas dwelling here live in mansions in the air.

Devas of the Four Great Kings(catumaharajika deva)

 Ten Good Characteristics Home of the gandharvas, the celestial musicians, and theyaksas or tree spirits of varying degrees of ethical purity. The latter are analogous to the goblins, trolls, and fairies of Western fairy tales.   Asuras   The demons — “titans” — that dwell here are engaged in relentless conflict with each other.   Human beings (manussa loka) Ten Good Characteristics     Hungry Shades/Ghosts (peta loka) Ten Unwholesome Actions, lack of virtue, holding to wrong views Ghosts and unhappy spirits wander hopelessly about this realm, searching in vain for sensual fulfillment.   Animals (tiracchana yoni) Ten Unwholesome Actions, lack of virtue, holding to wrong views If one is generous to monks and nuns, however, one may be reborn as an “ornamented” animal (i.e., a bird with bright plumage; a horse with attractive markings, etc. that is fed and treated well.   Hell (niraya Ten Unwholesome Actions, lack of virtue, holding to wrong views.


Cula-suññata Sutta: The Lesser Discourse on Emptiness, MN 121; translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Janussonin Sutta on Offerings to the Dead, AN 10-177; translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Saleyyaka Sutta: The Brahmans of Sala, MN 41; translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera