The more good kamma one has, the more likely one is to be reborn as a deva, and not a human, right? This article says the following about devas:

So in spite of their excellent concentration and present opulence, they are even at a disadvantage compared to human beings, who are driven by pain and frustration to seek the path to deliverance.

Later on, it says that devas actually aspire to be humans, in order to comprehend impermanence, suffering, and non-self. Does it mean that generating too much good kamma is an obstacle for following the path towards enlightenment?

  • I've also been wondering this. I feel too many good fruits may lead to complacency.
    – user14119
    Jul 22, 2019 at 13:31

4 Answers 4


First of all some information in the question needs enplaning before going any further.

  • About devas aspiring to be humans

This is the full story...

Just like any other being the karma of devas run out.Then something amazing start to appear.The flowers they ware start to loose their beauty and die (Like our flowers in the evening),their body's start to sweat for the first time,They loose the appeal for the comforts in deva realm.

When others see this they come to these friends who are about to leave them and say this "Focus on the Human realm,you can continue your path there.You can even come back to us."

Then they follow as advised and come for a birth here.

The common misunderstanding

Do this before believing what i am about to say.

Go to "Youtube" and watch few executions by terrorists,If you watch anymore than half a dozen you will need some help to sleep today.

So what's the point of doing that?

This is why,

That was only few videos Devas are not bunch of playboys having a good time without a care in the world.As to "Suttas/Sutras" they are given territories to look after,Some come down to earth to help the people in need (After all we are their children,parents,relatives),Some travel between realms to teach other the path to nirvana.

Unlike us they do not look away,You only experienced few tragedies and cruelty.They see it million times bigger all over the globe everyday.Not to mention the other realms with life.What is our pain they do see the pain in hell (the naraka / apaya).pain in those realms are nonparallel with any other,it is that high. They are not covered from reality of life.

  • One day a monk who genuinely tried his best to reach nirvana died before reaching nirvana.Now he opens his eyes as if he just woke up.He is terrorized by what he sees,"The deva realm." A lot of devas were gathering to greet him knowing that he was a good monk.They were beautiful and kind but our ex-monk deva saw them as if they were ugly ghosts.With immense pain he came to see lord Buddha and told what happened to him.Lord Buddha kindly advised him and asked him to continue his practice.He went back to his realm and told his many female devas (who were born for him) "I am continuing my practice and i consider you all my sisters."

This is only one story,Let me present the details directly from lord Buddha..

Lord Buddha said that what happens there is more like what happens here.Just like in our world people who look away from pain and go get lost in joy exist there.The people who want an understanding search for truth,They get help from others and they even have discussion sessions with "Brahmas (Beings from the highest realms)".

If you think having anything on demand is going to harm concentration or the path to nirvana itself do this.

Look at yourself,now you are on the internet.Whatever you wish to have is on demand, you can entertain all of your six senses,go after any temptation for free!

Let me remind you...

Instead of reading about Buddhism you can do anything else right now.I mean what's wrong with us?, reading texts on some page about Buddhism!

This is the difference between common people and people like us.It's the fire that keeps burning leading us to try to find more meaning to life.This my friend is the spark that burns in any wise being in higher realms!

Also let me tell you some less known fact!

I hope you know about "Albert Einstein's - Relativity" because it will help you to understand this easily.

"Lord Buddha said beings in Deva realm have very long lives".The relativity comes in to action making us live in different speeds of time.

I know it was a bit hard to understand.Let me tell you a story mentioned in Buddhism that would do the trick.

One day a female in deva realm went to a garden with her husband and their friends.While spending time there she died because of her birth karma expiring.She was born among humans,she remembered her last life so she became a follower of lord Buddha and did many good things in hope of seeing her husband again.she lived a full human life and lied.She was born back at her place like she wanted.S she rushed to that garden of her last life they were still there and they asked an amazing question "Where were you in the morning we searched everywhere" she replied saying i was born among humans and lived a whole life time there.They were very sad and said "Oh how short is a human life!"

Get ready for the surprise of your life!

As to calculations given in Buddhism to deva Realms it has been only five days from Lord Buddhas leaving (death).There are still arahants there who offer doubtless advice to the ones who practice the path.

Looking at the Extra long life,A mind that is way faster and better than ours,Being in the company of arahants it is way better than being human! Here in my country (Sri Lanka) where there is a Theravada practice we are often advised to focus on Deva realms because of the growing evilness of the world.Most of us plan to leave here,honestly i advice you the same if you do not reach nirvana in this life.The future world is not for us,it is for "kill or be killed" people.

About too much of good karma

There is no such thing,Lord Buddha said that any good karma is good no matter the size.

This is Lord Buddhas words.....

"There is only one friend to the beings who wander in sansara,it is nothing else but their own karma"

May triple gems bless you!

Please comment if you have any questions.

  • I hope readers completely read my answer because it has a lot explained in it and could complicate someones understanding of the matter if not completely read.
    – Theravada
    Nov 1, 2015 at 20:55

Living in the obsession of good karma is obstacle. It will make you a egoistic. Enlightenment is, you are not fascinated with any type of karma. Wish to be an enlightened person is also a karma. So, leave your all type of karma or wishes and do your any type of work consciously. because you are already enlightened. The only difference is you are unaware with this truth.

  • Hi Jordan and welcome to Buddhism SE. We have a Guide and a Resource tab for new users that you might like.
    – user2424
    Nov 4, 2015 at 15:20

Good Karma is needed to create the needed environment to practice towards Nibbana hence needed. Also it has it's down side. If you have a lot of wealth and comforts what ever the realm you are born in, for a average person attachment is imminent. This can be a stumbling block. Also there is not motivation to seek the end of suffering.

If you read the Upanisa Sutta (Bikkhu Bodhi's related work: Transcendental Dependent Arising A Translation and Exposition of the Upanisa Sutta) says Suffering is the forerunner that motivated you to take the path.

So in Deva realms and even among the rich and famous hedonistic practices become prevalent and the Dhamma forgotten or put on the back burner during prosperous time.


Householder Michau, interested,

Is too much of good kamma an obstacle for enlightenment?

No, never, the path is pattern with good actions (kamma). There is no way to access and walk the path without kusala actions. If doing skilful without really having accessed the path it will lead to better states, better existences. If skillful on the path, it will lead to fruits, paths and liberation.

Even doing merits when actually leading the holy life, the Buddha told his monks not to fear such. One having gained stream would have another seven resistances. Would one spend them in possible lowest or highest birth?

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So no. Good actions by body word and speech can never be an obstacle.

The more good kamma one has, the more likely one is to be reborn as a deva, and not a human, right?

Your current outwardly situation and kind of body is for the most a matter of past existences or great efforts in this life. Of course great situations are often an obstacle as one easy sees no reason why to put further effort into, thinking things are for sure. But where ever one might be for now, what done right here matters. That best or most worse situations are not determining ones success is good shown in the Darkness Sutta. That counts similar for Devas as well. Some are wise, have accumulated needed merits, some, even rich, waste such off. But once firm faith in the Tripple Gems there is less to fear to fall of again, yet right view need effort to adopt.

Later on, it says that devas actually aspire to be humans, in order to comprehend impermanence, suffering, and non-self.

My person doesn't thinks so, since if one is already aware of the Dhamma, why stepping back? And if not, enjoying lighter existences, who would desire for lower? Yet sure, most Devas have not gained right wisdom, might just be on "holiday" and could even fall into bad reams after the exhausting of their merits. As for what Devas wish each other, when one dies away, they actually ask for soon comeback:

"When a deva is about to pass away from the company of devas, five omens appear: his garlands wither, his clothes get soiled, sweat comes out of his armpits, a dullness descends on his body, he no longer delights in his own deva-seat. The devas, knowing from this that 'This deva-son is about to pass away,' encourage him with three sayings: 'Go from here, honorable sir, to a good destination. Having gone to a good destination, gain the gain that is good to gain. Having gained the gain that is good to gain, become well-established.'"

When this was said, a certain monk said to the Blessed One, "What, lord, is the devas' reckoning of going to a good destination? What is their reckoning of the gain that is good to gain? What is their reckoning of becoming well-established?"

"The human state, monks, is the devas' reckoning of going to a good destination. Having become a human being, acquiring conviction in the Dhamma-&-Vinaya taught by the Tathagata: this is the devas' reckoning of the gain that is good to gain. When that conviction is settled within one — rooted, established, & strong, not to be destroyed by any brahman or contemplative; deva, Mara, or Brahma; or anyone else in the world: this is the devas' reckoning of becoming well-established."

When a deva passes away from the company of devas through his life-span's ending, three sounds sound forth — the devas' encouragement.

'Go from here, honorable sir, to a good destination, to companionship with human beings. On becoming a human being, acquire a conviction unsurpassed in True Dhamma. That conviction of yours in True Dhamma, well-taught, should be settled, rooted, established, — undestroyed as long as you live. Having abandoned bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct, and whatever else is flawed; having done with the body what's skillful, and much that is skillful with speech, having done what's skillful with a heart without limit, with no acquisitions, then — having made much of that basis of merit through giving — establish other mortals in True Dhamma & the holy life.'

With this sympathy, the devas — when they know a deva is passing away — encourage him: 'Come back, deva, again & again.'

It's like coming here, this here is a fine-material realm as well. There are many who fall of back into normal human existences but less for them for practice sake, simply out of merits. And less are able to come back, once fallen off from a higher place. So who would not wish them to be able to come back and take a step even further now?


Others than the most think is, that the investment into meditaion without doing much merits aside that, without learing to develop right view, will cause them such Deva existances where they are caught for a long, not able to penetrate Dhamma and then, for the most, fall straight down into hell.

So the wise way is the same as in business. If working constant, virtuous and step by step by ones own effort, how ever less will stick with one, get not fast lost. There are many ways to make fast huge businesses but the ways and the debt cause them all to fall down as fast as the business has been grown. Not good and in-honest work will not bear long fruits.

May all those who have fallen of, being playful or corrupt, soon reappear where the Dhamma can be heard, read, and may those who have not been touched by such be informed by the Devas to join the merits.

(Note that this is not given for trade, exchange, stacks, entertainment and akusala deeds, but as a share of merits and continue such for release)

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