Existence…This is said to be Existence

5.10 Continuation

With attachment (clinging) as condition: continuation (existence) is said.

What is continuation?

Existence. There are three kinds.

Which three? They are as follows:

– continuation in the sense-sphere,

– continuation in the luminous form-sphere,

– continuation in the formless-sphere.

**Herein, what is continuation in the SENSE-SPHERE existence?

This is the Kamma-world (also known as the realm of desire). The five sensual realms of existence are as follows:

1. Hells (planes of misery),

There are demons here also known as asuras. Their king is Māra, the evil one…the devil.

There are eight hot hells.

Which eight? They are as follows:

  • The reviving (hell),
  • the black-thread (hell),
  • the crushing (hell),
  • the hot (hell),
  • the great hot (hell),
  • the remorseful (hell),
  • the scolding (hell),
  • and avīcī the never-ceasing (hell).

There are eight cold hells.

(Which eight?) They are as follows:

  • The tumurous (hell),
  • the very tumurous (hell),
  • the squealing (hell),
  • the squaking (hell),
  • the screaching (hell),
  • the blue-lotus (hell),
  • the red-lotus (hell),
  • the great red-lotus (hell).

2. Afflicted spirits (misery),

3. Animals (misery),

4. Humans (very rare to be here…has pleasure, pain, and neither painful-nor-pleasant feelings making it the ideal experience for motivation to attain Enlightenment),

5. Devas (of sensual happiness).

The heavenly beings in these sense-sphere desire realms are located in what are known as the six lower heavens. What are the six?

  • The devas with the Four Great Kings (gandhabas in the east, kumbhandas in the south, nagas in the west, and yakkhas in the north)
  • the devas of the Thirty-three Divinities (Sakka lord of the deities resides here),
  • the Yāma devas,
  • the contented devas of Tusita (bodhisattvas reside here),
  • those devas Delighting in Creation,
  • those devas Wielding Power over the Creation of Others.

**Herein, what is continuation in the LUMINOUS FORM-SPHERE existence?

This is the Rupa-world. These higher heavens are as follows:

1st Jhāna:

  • God’s High Divinity retinue,
  • God’s Ministers of High Divinity,
  • (with) God the Great Brahma,

2nd Jhāna:

  • (the High Divinities of) Limited Radiance
  • (the High Divinities of) Unbounded Radiance,
  • (the High Divinities of) Streaming Radiance,

3rd Jhāna:

  • (the High Divinities of) Limited Glory,
  • (the High Divinities of) Unbounded Glory,
  • (the High Divinities of) Refulgent Glory,

4th Jhāna:

  • the High Divinities Born of Merit and Increasing Fruit,
  • (the High Divinities of) Great Fruit,

The Pure Abodes:

  • the Devas not falling away (Aviha High Divinities),
  • the Untroubled (Atappa High Divinities),
  • the Clear-sighted (Sudassa High Divinities),
  • the Beautiful (Sudassī High Divinities)
  • and the Peerless (Akanițțha High Divinities).

**Herein, what is continuation in the FORMLESS-SPHERE existence?

This is the Arupa-world. The formless beings arise in four attainments according to their level of mind-only meditation:

  • The Sphere of Infinite Space,
  • The Sphere of Infinite Consciousness,
  • The Sphere of Nothingness,
  • and The Sphere of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception.

This is said to be the formless element.

These are the three kinds of existence. All this is said to be existence. There are 31 planes if you were to count all subcategories of the three.

(Source: SuttaCentral.net – Arv 5; Iti 73; AN 4.123 – 4.124; AN 9.36; DN 14 and DN 20)


There are three kinds of existence. They are known as The Triple World:

1. Sense-sphere existence (Kamma-world…the desire realms…samsãra…the five realms)

2. Luminous Form-sphere existence (Rupa-world…these are The Jhānas / Higher Heavens, and Pure Abodes. A birth in The Pure Abodes is not shared with wordlings.)

3. Formless-sphere existence (Arupa-world…the four attainments.)

This means the sixth and seventh fetters state not to crave the Jhānas (luminous form) or any of the four attainments (the formless) for continued progress and attain Enlightenment.

If one is on The Path to Enlightenment, they are not going to crave any rebirth in the sense-sphere realms of desire (hell, afflicted spirits, animal, human, devas)….therefore, there is no need to mention these as fetters or have them overlap each other in their description. Conversely, the fetters will mention things one will encounter as they ascend, i.e. the Jhānas and the four attainments. The Path to Enlightenment is a forward motion.

(Source: SuttaCentral.net – SN 45.164 & AN 10.13)

Published by Nicholas Gerace 5D - Upstate New York

Nicholas Gerace is retired Army Officer, Pilot and Commander. Currently, Nicholas is a Professional Life Coach with niche's in Health, Nutrition and Spirituality.

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