(lit: the Radiant Ones; related to Lat. deus):
heavenly beings, deities, celestials, are beings who live in happy worlds,
and who, as a rule, are invisible to the human eye.
They are subject, however, just like all human and other beings, to
ever-repeated rebirth, old age and death, and thus are not freed from the cycle
of existence and from misery. There are many classes of heavenly beings.
I. The 6 classes of heavenly beings of the sensuous sphere
(kāmāvacara or kāma-loka; s. avacara loka), are
Tusita (s. Bodhisatta),
II. The heavenly beings of the fine-material sphere (rūpāvacara
or rūpaloka) are:
- Brahma-pārisajja, Brahma-purohita, Mahā-brahmāno
(s. brahma-kāyika-deva). Amongst these 3 classes will be reborn those
with a weak, medium or full experience of the 1st absorption (jhāna,
- Parittābha, Appamānābha, ābhassara. Here will be reborn those with
experience of the 2nd absorption.
- Paritta-subha, Appamāna-subha, Subha-kinna (or
kinha). Here will be reborn those with experience of the 3rd absorption.
- Vehapphala, Asañña-satta (q.v.), Suddhāvāsa
(q.v.; further s. Anāgāmi). Amongst the first 2 classes will be reborn
those with experience of the 4th absorption, but amongst the 3rd class only
III. The 4 grades of heavenly beings of the immaterial sphere
(arūpāvacara or arūpa-loka) are:
- the heavenly beings of the sphere of unbounded space
- of unbounded consciousness (viññānañcāyatanūpaga-deva),
- of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatanūpaga devā),
- of neither-perception-nor- non-perception
Here will be reborn those with experience of the 4 immaterial spheres
See Gods and the Universe by Francis Story (WHEEL 180/181).