The Six Realms of Rebirth

Buddhist teachings speak extensively of the six realms into which sentient beings are reborn (gods, demigods, humans, animals, ghosts, and hell beings). Like all other perceptions, the six realms are internal mental representations, made to arise by the accumulated karma (impressions, experiences, beliefs, and dispositions) of sentient beings. 

The six realms are not truly established, substantial realities, in the sense that they are impermanent and dependent on causes and conditions. And yet, they appear in great detail to those that experience them. They are mental states, distortions of clear View, and nothing more. But just because they are internal mental representations, they are not absolutely non-existent. As long as we lack realization of emptiness, such perceptions appear and are experienced as reality. Although the six realms do not exist in an objective way, sentient beings experience subjective suffering in them. 

Rebirth in the realms is not punitive. It is merely the natural consequence of afflicted emotions and unskillful acts. The hell realms are the farthest removed from enlightenment, in the direction of aversion, just as the god realms are farthest in the direction of attachment. The demigod realm distances us from enlightenment through jealousy, the human realm through desire, the animal realm through stupidity, and the ghost realm through greed.

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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3 Responses to The Six Realms of Rebirth

  1. talesfromthelou says:

    Reblogged this on Talesfromthelou's Blog and commented:
    Modern psychology stole most of its essence from Buddhism. Here’s another example. The realms are figurative.

  2. Amanda Sturman says:

    Is the animal realm animalistic humans with basic tendencies or is it the visible animals that live with us on our planet.

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