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Old 27-12-2012, 12:23 AM   #310
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Exclamation The 33 Realm

The Four Planes of Existence

The woeful plane
The sensuous blissful plane
The fine-material-sphere plane
The immaterial-sphere plane

The four planes: Though a distinction is made here between the woeful plane and the sensuous blissful plane, both lanes are actually subdivisions of the sense-sphere plane..

Among these, the woeful plane is fourfold, namely:

The animal kingdom
The sphere of petas (ghosts)
The host of asuras

The woeful plane: The word apaya means literally that which is devoid of happiness. This is the collective name for those realms of existence in which pain and misery greatly exceed happiness. They are the realms where evildoers are reborn as a consequence of their evil deeds...

Hell is the lowest plane of existence in the Buddhist cosmos, the place of the most intense suffering. It is said that the beings in hell have to suffer the results of their evil deeds from the beginning of their lives until the end, without a moment’s respite. The commentators state that there are eight great hells, of increasing intensity of torment. They are named Sanjiva, Kallasutta, Sanghata, Roruva, Maha Roruva, Tapana, Maha Tapana, and Avici. Of these, Avici is the lowest and most terrible. Each great hell is surrounded on each of its four sides by five minor hells, bringing the total to 168 hells.

The animal kingdom: Buddhism maintains that the animal realm is a woeful plane into which beings may be reborn as a result of evil kamma. According to the Buddha, human beings who have committed evil may be reborn as animals, and animals may, as a result of some accumulated good kamma, be reborn as human beings or even as gods in a heavenly world. Although the animal realm odes not involve as much misery as the hells, it is included in the woeful planes because the suffering their greatly exceeds the amount of happiness and because it does not provide suitable conditions for the performance of meritorious deeds..

The sphere of petas: The word peta, often translated as “hungry ghosts,” refers to a class of beings who are tormented by intense hunger and thirst as well as other afflictions from which they cannot find relief. The petas have no world of their own. They live in the same world as human beings-in forests, bogs, cemeteries, etc. – though they remain invisible to humans except when they display themselves or are perceived by those with the divine eye.

The host of asuras: The word asura, often translated “titans’” is used to refer to various classes of beings. As a realm within the woeful plane the commentators identify the asuras with a group of tormented spirits similar to the petas. These asuras are to be distinguished from the asuras that combat the gods of the Tavatimsa heaven, who are included among the Tavatimsa gods..

The Realm of the Thirty-three Gods: This heaven, Tavatimsa, is so named because according to legend, a group of thirty-three noble-minded men who dedicated their lives to the welfare of others were reborn here as the presiding deity and his thirty two assistants..The chief of this realm is Sakka, also known as Indra, who resides in the Vejayanta Palace in the realm’s capital city, Sudassana...
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