Form realm

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Mount Meru surrounded by the continents and subcontinents, with the gods of the Desire and Form Realms above
Form realm (Skt. rūpadhātu; Tib. གཟུགས་ཁམས་, Wyl. gzugs khams) — the second of the three realms, only 'populated' by gods and divided into seventeen heavens. The cause for being reborn in one of these heavens is the favourable karma accumulated through the practice of one of the four dhyanas, each 'causal meditative dhyana' acting as a cause of rebirth in one of the corresponding 'resultant dhyana levels'.


Seventeen Heavens of the Form Realm (Skt. rupadhatuvasiñjati; Tib. གཟུགས་ཁམས་གནས་རི་བཅུ་བདུན་, Wyl. gzugs khams gnas ri bcu bdun)

Five Pure Heavens (Tib. གཙང་གནས་ལྔ་, gtsang gnas lnga)

  1. Unexcelled (Skt. Akanishtha, Tib. འོག་མིན་, Wyl. ‘og min)
  2. Extreme Insight/Great Vision (Skt. Sudarśa; Tib. ཤིན་ཏུ་མཐོང་, shin tu mthong)
  3. Perfect Appearance/The Marvellous (Skt. Sudṛśa; Tib. གྱ་ནོམ་སྣང་བ་, gya nom snang ba)
  4. The Painless/Without Distress (Skt. Atapa; Tib. མི་གདུང་པ་, mi gdung pa)
  5. The Slightest/Not So Great (Skt. Abṛha; Tib. མི་ཆེ་བ་, mi che ba)

Note: the five pure heavens are also a result of the fourth dhyana meditation, but are only accessible to noble beings.

Fourth Dhyana (Tib. བསམ་གཏན་བཞི་པ་, bsam gtan bzhi pa)

Third Dhyana (Tib. བསམ་གཏན་གསུམ་པ་, bsam gtan gsum pa)

Second Dhyana (Tib. བསམ་གཏན་གཉིས་པ་, bsam gtan gnyis pa)

First Dhyana (Tib. བསམ་གཏན་དང་པོ་, bsam gtan dang po)