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Deva realm

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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It is a Heaven for those who are wise and kind as the retribution for their good deed. Their major Desires will be satisfied. In this Path, it is divided into Three Heavenly Realms, namely Desire Heaven Realm, Form (or Rupa) Heaven Realm, Formless (or Arupa) Heaven Realm. In the Desire Heaven Realm, the living beings have strong Desire in material and can be easily and fully satisfied with enjoyment. In the Form Heaven Realm, the living beings are not interested in material. Instead, their bodies and Mind pursue the Spiritual Happiness, such as philosophy, music, Art and Meditation. In the Formless Heaven Realm, the living beings do not attach to the material nor their own bodies. They are free from any hindrances, and they live in a state of Joy, freedom and psychic Power. It is the Wisdom and the Karma of the Deva to determine which Heaven realm they live in.

If ordinary people want to ascend to the heavens, they have to practice the Ten Wholesome Actions. Once they have perfected themselves in the Ten Wholesome Actions, they are qualified to ascend to Heaven.

The Ten Wholesome Actions are:

  1. avoidance of killing, extending to the releasing of captured living creatures, to prevent their slaughter;
  2. avoidance of stealing and adherence to the Generosity of giving;
  3. avoidance of Adultery and adherence to a pure Life;
  4. avoidance of lying and, conversely, (that is, to not stir up gossip among others) and, when possible, to mediate in a quarrel;
  5. avoidance of filthy Language (no dirty or obscene words) and, Dedication to engage in Dharma talk and praise;
  6. avoidance of coarse Language and, instead, to speak in a soft tone and advise wrongdoers to practice goodness;
  7. avoidance of Greed, (towards Fame, Wealth, or lust);
  8. avoidance of Anger (even when one encounters adversity) and, conversely to always have a compassionate Heart;
  9. avoidance of Delusion, that is, to practice the right Buddha Dharma, understand the law of Karma, and avoid devious paths.

What good is there to being born in the heavens? There are many reasons. The gods in the heavens are wearing the best kinds of clothing, clean, fragrant, and dustless. The crowns they are wearing emit infinite Light, and are both colourful and magnificent- one can hardly find such on Earth. Moreover the bodies of the gods are subtle and Light with no impurities and no foul smell. Food and clothing come to them naturally, manifesting whenever the gods Desire them. In short, the gods can have whatever they Desire; the supply is inexhaustible. There is also an inexhaustible supply of good music in the heavenly realm. All gods emit Light from their bodies, and their bathing water dries on its own.

Therefore, the Five desires [arising from the objects of the five senses - things seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or touched are satisfied naturally. Moreover, the eyes of the gods are clear and far reaching. Their spirit is always bright and luminous.

The most important question is, what are the heavens? According to Buddhism, there are Three Heavenly Realms that contain Twenty-Eight Heavens.

Desire Realm

In the Desire Realm, there are:

1) Heavens of the Four Deva-kings,
2) Trayastrimsa,
3) Yama Deva (Dwelling of Yama),
4) Tusita,
5) Nirmanarati,
6) Paranirmitavasavartin (Dwelling of Mara).
Form Realm

In the Form Realm, there are: (a) The First Meditative Heavens which consist of:

7) Brahmakayika [assembly of Brahmadevas],
8) Brahmapurohita [retinue of Brahma),
9) Mahabrahman (Brahman himself]);

(b) The Second Meditative Heavens which consist of:

10) Parittab- has [Minor Light),
11) Apramanabha (Infinite Light),
12) Abhasvara (Light and Sound));

(c) The Third Meditative Heavens which consist of:

13) Parittasubha [Minor Purity),
14) Apramanasubha (Boundless Purity),
15) Subhakrtsna (Universal Purity));

(d) The Fourth Meditative Heavens which consist of:

16) Punyaprasva [Born to Happiness),
17) Happiness in Love,
18) Brhatphala [Fruitful],
19) Asanjnisattva [No Thought),
20) Avhra [No Vexation],
21) Atapas [No Heat],
22) Sudrsa (Beautiful),
23) Sudarsana (Beautiful Appearance]
24) Akanisthas [End of Form).
Formless Realm

In the Formless Realm, there are:

25) Akasanantyayatana (Abode of Infinite Space),
26) Vijnananantyayatana (Limitlessness of Consciousness),
27) Akincanyayatana (Non-Existing),
28) Naivasamjnanasamjnanayatana (Neither Thinking nor Non-Thinking).

These Three Realms - 28 Heavens are all included in the Realms of the Heavens. According to modern scientific theory, there are numerous planets within The Universe; maybe Heaven exists on one of them.


Source

web.singnet.com.sg/~alankhoo