Refers to the 3 realms recognised in Buddhism;
1) Realms of Senses & Desires (11 levels in total) – these include the 6 Heavens of Desire (the Devas and Asuras), which are inhabited by humans and animals (including insects), and the various hells.
2) Realms of Forms (16 levels in total) – In this heaven, intense forms of desire (such as lust) are absent. Some form of corporeality remains. Beings who have achieve the first 4 jhanas (states of intense concentration) through the sustained practice of meditation, are reborn into these realms.
3) Realms of Formlessness (4 levels in total) – Those who are able to achieve the 5th to 8th jhanas are reborn into these realms. It is a realm where no perceptible forms exist, and beings who inhabit this realm do not manifest in a corporeal form.
Thus these 31 realms of existence make up the Triloka. It is taught that all these realms of existence retain the three marks of existence; Dukkha (Suffering or unsatisfactoriness), Anicca (change or impermanence) and Anatta (substanceless, imterdependence upon various conditions). There is no respite from suffering in these realms, and all beings are still subject to a cycle of death and rebirth. The only way to escape this suffering is to achieve Nibbana.« Back to Glossary Index