MASTER SHEN-LONG | Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch: Introduction (Part 2-Explanation of the Three Realms [Trailokya] 三界)
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Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch: Introduction (Part 2-Explanation of the Three Realms [Trailokya] 三界)

Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch: Introduction (Part 2-Explanation of the Three Realms [Trailokya] 三界)

(Excerpt from the Introduction of Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch,expounded by Master Shen-Long)

Explanation of the Three Realms (Trailokya) 三界

The world system according to Buddhist cosmology is comprised of the Desire Realm (欲界), the Form Realm (色界), and the Formless Realm (無色界). It is also known by the alternative designation of the ‘three worlds’ (triloka) . It has a total of 28 Heavens.
1.The Desire Realm (Kamadhatu) 欲界: The realm of desire for sex and food; physical forms similar to but larger than humans. It includes six heavens of desire, the human world and the hells. This is the realm that Mara has the greatest influence over.

(1) Caturmaharajikakayika 四天王天 (Heaven of the Four Great Kings, with a body height of 750 feet and 50 years of human life is equal to one day and a life term of 500 years, so reckoned to be 9,000,000 years. They guard the four quarters of the Earth as the four giant temple guardians.)

(2) Trayastrimsa 忉利天 (Heaven of the Thirty-Three, with a body height of 1,500 feet and 100 years of human life is equal to one day there and a life term of 1,000 years, so reckoned to be 36,000,000 years)

(3) Yama 夜摩天 (Heaven without Fighting, with a body height 2,250 feet and 200 years of human life is equal to one day there and a life term of 2,000 years, so reckoned to be 144,000,000 years)

(4) Tusita 兜率天 (Heaven of Contented Devas, with a body height 3000 feet and 400 years of human life is equal to one day there and a life term of 4,000 years, so reckoned to be 576,000,000 years)

(5) Nirmanarati 化樂天 (Joy-Born Heaven, with a body height of 3,750 feet and 800 years of human life is equal to one day there and a life term of 8000 years, so reckoned to be 2,304,000,000 years)

(6) Parinirmita-vasavartin 他化自在天 (Heaven of Playing Unrestrainedly According to Other’s Pleasure, with a body height of 4,500 feet and 1,600 years of human life is equal to one day there and a life term of 16,000 years, so reckoned to be 9,216,000,000 years)

 2. The Form Realm ( Rupadhatu) 色界– The realm of form, meaning that which is substantial and resistant. It includes the Heavens of Four Meditation Heavens.

(1) First Meditation Heavens (Brahma) 初禪天:

(a) Brahmaparisadya (Brahma People Heaven 梵眾天)

(b) Brahmapurohita (Brahma’s Ministers Heaven 梵輔天)

(c) Mahabrahma (Great Brahma Heaven大梵天— the Lord who rules over these heavens)

(2) Second Meditation Heavens (Abhasvara) 二禪天:

(a) Panttabha (Limited Light Heaven 少光天)

(b) Apramanabha (Limitless Light Heaven 無量光天)

(c) Abhasvara (Possessing Splendor Heaven 極光天)

(3) Third Meditation Heavens (Subhakrtsna) 三禪天:

(a) Panttasubh (Limited Purity Heaven 少淨天)

(b) Apramanasubh (Limitless Purity Heaven 無量淨天)

(c) Subhakrtsna (Pervasive Purity Heaven 遍淨天)

(4) Fourth Meditation Heavens (Bhatphala) 四禪天:

(a) Anabhraka (Cloudless Heaven 無雲天)

(b) Punyaprasava (Offspring of Merit Heaven 福生天)

(c) Brhatphala (Extensive Fruition Heaven 廣果天)

(d) Asannasatta (No Affliction Heaven 無想天)

(e) Avrha (Not Falling Heaven 無煩天) *

(f) Atapa (Untroubled Heaven 無熱天) *

(g) Sudrsa (Beautiful Manifestation Heaven 善見天) *

(h) Sudarsana (Clear-Seeing Heaven 善現天) *

(i) Amanita (Equal in Rank Heaven 色究竟天) *

* (The last 5 levels also named as Suddhavasa) 五淨居天 (或五不還天)

 3. The Formless Realm (Arupyadhatu) 無色界(四空)—The formless realm of pure spirit, where there are no bodies, and matters to which human terms would apply, its extent is indefinable, but it is conceived of four void regions in the immaterial world.

(1) Akasanantyayatana (Infinite or limitless Space Heaven 空無邊處天)

(2) Vijnananantyayatana (Infinite Consciousness Heaven 識無邊處天)

(3) Akimcanyayatana (Nothingness Heaven 無所有處天)

(4)Naivasamjnanasamjnayatana(Neither Perception nor Non-Perception Heaven 非想非非想處天)

 

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