Planes of Existence - Happy planes

Birth as a human being is a happy rebirth. In the human plane there is opportunity for the cultivation of kusala. One can study Dhamma and learn to develop the way leading to the end of defilements and the end of birth and death. Birth in the human plane is kusala vipāka, but during one's lifespan in this plane there are both kusala vipāka and akusala vipāka. Each person experiences different results in life: there is gain and loss, honour and dishonour, praise and blame, happiness and misery. Each person is born into the family which is the right condition for him to experience the results of his deeds. It is due to one's kamma that one experiences pleasant and unpleasant things through eyes, ears, nose, tongue and body-sense.


Other happy planes, apart from the human plane, are the heavenly planes.

In the heavenly planes there is more kusala vipāka than in the human plane

and less akusala vipāka. There are several heavenly planes and although life

in a heavenly plane lasts a very long time, it is not permanent. The woeful

planes, the human plane and the six heavenly planes which are 'deva

planes', are sensuous planes of existence. Sensuous planes of existence are

planes where there is seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, the experience of

bodily impressions and other kāmāvacara cittas (cittas which are of the

sensuous plane of consciousness). There are eleven classes of sensuous

planes of existence in all.


Those who see the disadvantages of sense-impressions may cultivate jhāna ;

they can be reborn in higher heavenly planes which are not sensuous

planes. Those who attain rūpa-jhāna can be reborn in rūpa-brahma

planes where there are less sense-impressions. There are sixteen rūpa-

brahma planes in all. One of them is the asañña-sattā plane where there

is only rūpa, not nāma. Those who have attained the highest stage of rupa-

jhana and who wish to have no consciousness at all, can be reborn without

citta; for them there is only a body. These beings have seen the

disadvantages of consciousness; even happiness is a disadvantage, since it

does not last.


Those who see the disadvantages of rūpa cultivate arūpa-jhana. Those who

attain arūpa-jhāna can be reborn in arūpa-brahma planes where there

are no rūpas. There are four arūpa-brahma planes. Beings born in these

planes have only nāma, not rūpa. People may wonder how there can be

beings which only have rūpa or beings which only have nāma. If we can

experience different characteristics of nāma-elements and rūpa-elements as

they appear one at a time and if we have realized that they are only elements

which arise because of conditions, not a being or a person, not self, we will

have no doubt that, when there are the appropriate conditions, there can be

rūpa without nama and nāma without rūpa.

Topic 193