six realms of rebirth

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(Skt., ṣaḍ-gati). The six levels that make up the possible range of existence within saṃsāra. These are the realms of the gods (deva), the demi-gods (asura), humans (manuṣa), animals (tiryak), hungry ghosts (preta) and hell denizens (naraka). Generally Buddhism tends to teach that these levels are real modes of existence although some forms of Buddhism, especially within Mahāyāna.emphasize that they are rather more like symbolic of states of mind or modes of experience. According to Mahāyāna teachings, rebirth in each of these modes of existence is brought about by a predominance of a particular spiritual defilement (kleśa): as a god through pride, a demi-god through jealousy, human through lust, animal through stupidity, hungry ghost through greed and hell-denizen through hatred. These six levels are depicted in the popular Tibetan Wheel of Life (bhavacakra) paintings.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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