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Abhidhamma Series, no. 19. Rebirth in different planes of existence. (part 2).

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  • Nina van Gorkom
    Dear friends, Rebirth in different planes of existence. (part 2). Rebirth-consciousness does not only arise in sensuous planes of existence, kaama-bhuumi, it
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 17, 2010
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      Dear friends,
      Rebirth in different planes of existence. (part 2).

      Rebirth-consciousness does not only arise in sensuous planes of
      existence, kaama-bhuumi, it can also arise in higher heavenly planes
      which are not sensuous planes of existence. If one is born in one of
      the kaama-bhuumis and one sees the disadvantage of sense impressions,
      one may cultivate jhaana, absorption. Then one can, besides
      kaamaavacara cittas, also have ruupa-jhaanacittas and aruupa-
      jhaanacittas. If one cultivates the eightfold Path one can have
      lokuttara cittas, supramundane cittas which directly experience
      nibbaana.
      There are four planes of citta: kaamaavacara cittas, ruupaavacaara
      cittas which are ruupajhaanacittas, aruupaavacaara cittas which are
      aruupajhaanacittas and lokuttara cittas. Which of these planes of
      citta a particular citta belongs to, depends on the object it
      experiences. Kaamaavacara citta experiences a sense object.
      Ruupaavacaara cittas and aruupaavacaara cittas experience with
      absorption the meditation subjects of ruupa-jhaana and
      aruupajhaana. Lokuttara citta experiences nibbaana. A plane of
      citta is different from a plane of existence which, as we have seen,
      is the place where rebirth-consciousness arises.
      When someone attains jhaana, the kusala kamma he performs is not
      kaamaavacara kusala kamma; at the moment of jhaana there are no sense
      impressions. The kusala kamma which is jhaana does not produce result
      in the same lifespan one attains it, but it can produce result in the
      form of pa.tisandhi-citta, the pa.tisandhi-citta of the next life. In
      that case there are jhaanacittas arising shortly before death and the
      pa.tisandhi-citta of the next life experiences the same object as
      those jhaanacittas.
      The result of ruupaavacara kusala citta (kusala citta which is ruupa-
      jhaanacitta) is birth in a heavenly plane which is not kaama-bhuumi
      but a ruupa-brahma-plane (fine-material world). The result of an
      aruupaavacara kusala citta (kusala citta which is aruupa-jhaanacitta)
      is birth in a heavenly plane which is an aruupa-brahma plane
      (immaterial world). There are different ruupa-brahma-planes and
      aruupa-brahma planes.
      Those who attain ruupa-jhaana can be reborn in ruupa-brahma-planes
      where there are less sense-impressions. There are sixteen ruupa-
      brahma planes in all. One of these is the plane of unconscious
      beings, asa~n~nasatta. Those who cultivate ruupajhaana and see the
      disadvantage of naama may be reborn in a plane where there is only
      ruupa, not naama. Thus, here there is not a rebirth-consciousness,
      only ruupa-pa.tisandhi. Those who see the disadvantages of the
      meditation subjects of ruupa-jhaana which are still bound up with
      materiality, cultivate aruupa-jhaana. If they attain aruupa-jhaana
      they can be reborn in aruupa-brahma planes where there is no ruupa,
      only naama. There are four classes of aruupa-brahma planes.
      There are thirty-one classes of planes of existence in all, namely:

      4 woeful planes |
      1 human plane | 11 sensuous planes
      6 deva planes |

      16 rúpa-brahma planes
      4 arúpa-brahma planes
      Kusala kamma can cause a happy rebirth, but the end of birth is to be
      preferred to any kind of rebirth. If one cultivates the eightfold
      Path and attains arahatship there will be no more rebirth. The dying-
      consciousness (cuti-citta) of the arahat is not succeeded by a
      pa.tisandhi-citta. The Buddha reminded people of the dangers of birth
      and encouraged them to be mindful, in order to attain the
      ``deathless'' which is nibbaana.

      We read in the Mahaa-parinibbaana-sutta (Dialogues of the Buddha II,
      no. 16, chapter II, 1-4):

      ... The Exalted One proceeded with a great company of the monks to
      Kotigåma; and there he stayed in the village itself.
      And at that place the Exalted One addressed the monks, and said: ``It
      is through not understanding and grasping four Ariyan Truths, O
      monks, that we have had to run so long, to wander so long in this
      weary path of rebirth, both you and I!''
      ``And what are these four?''
      ``The Ariyan truth about dukkha; the Ariyan truth about the cause of
      dukkha; the Ariyan truth about the cessation of dukkha; and the
      Ariyan truth about the path that leads to that cessation. But when
      these Ariyan truths are grasped and known the craving for future life
      is rooted out, that which leads to renewed becoming is destroyed, and
      then there is no more birth!''


      ****************

      Nina.






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