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As per Buddhist teaching there are six realms in universe. Buddha,gods,demi gods,humans,animals,hell beings.Did Buddha explains extraterrestrial life or these are states of mind? Why did Buddha kept humans and animals separate?

  • Both interpretations are valid in different traditions of Buddhism – Hugh Mar 21 '17 at 16:00
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The body we get as we leave one I based on the good deeds we have done & our state of mind. The gods etc. are other (extra terrestrial) life forms with a more developed mind than ours. The animals are considered seperate from humans because of the higher state of mind the humans posses in compared to animals.

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You can get to know about the states of mind or extraterrestrial life in the Kuddhaka Nikaya 2 - Vimana Pretha Vattu (or check out two recent publications on Stories of the Mansions & Stories of the Departed by the Mahamevnawa Monastery in Sri Lanka) In reading these stories you will learn about the gods that live in the highest heavens in the brahma realms. In other suttas too of states of mind or extraterrestrial life. For example, you will get to know of how arrogant gods became disciples of the Buddha. They are in the Brahma Samyutta found in the Samyutta Nikaya.

We humans cannot see the results of our good and bad deeds. Because of this, we doubt the benefit of doing the skillful and the danger of doing unskillful deeds. In Vimana Vattu, you will learn about gods and goddesses who did wholesome actions in their previous human lives. You will be able to understand how powerful the results of doing good things can be.

We get to see our fellow humans in the human realm and those born in the animal realm. But it is not so, when it comes to the ghost realm. Buddha saw these beings as well as the action that led to the suffering that they experience. In Pretha Vattu, Stories of Ghosts, we learn about many kinds of ghosts and their actions that led to be reborn in the ghost world.

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They are states of mind.

  • The word 'human' ('manussa') means 'high minded' & refers to moral reflective people.
  • A 'god' is an extraordinary state of love or power (both spiritual & worldly).
  • A 'demi-god' is one that wants to rule the world with fear (e.g. Stalin; refer to SN 11.5)
  • 'Animal' is living without morals; based on instinctual desires & reactions
  • 'Hungry ghost' is a state of addiction to craving.
  • 'Hell' is a state of suffering.

As SN 56.47 states, the 'animal realm' is where: "there is no conduct guided by the Dhamma, no righteous conduct, no wholesome activity, no meritorious activity; there prevails mutual devouring, the devouring of the weak".

Bhikkhus, a god, a human or any other good state would not be evident from actions born of greed, hate and delusion. Yet, bhikkhus, from actions born of greed, hate and delusion a hellish being, an animal birth a ghostly birth or some other bad state would be evident. AN 6.39


I have seen, bhikkhus, the hell named ‘Contact’s Sixfold Base.’ There whatever form one sees with the eye is undesirable, never desirable; unlovely, never lovely; disagreeable, never agreeable. Whatever sound one hears with the ear … Whatever odour one smells with the nose … Whatever taste one savours with the tongue … Whatever tactile object one feels with the body … Whatever mental phenomenon one cognizes with the mind is undesirable, never desirable; unlovely, never lovely; disagreeable, never agreeable.

I have seen, bhikkhus, the heaven named ‘Contact’s Sixfold Base.’ There whatever form one sees with the eye is desirable, never undesirable; lovely, never unlovely; agreeable, never disagreeable. Whatever sound one hears with the ear … Whatever odour one smells with the nose … Whatever taste one savours with the tongue … Whatever tactile object one feels with the body … Whatever mental phenomenon one cognizes with the mind is desirable, never undesirable; lovely, never unlovely; agreeable, never disagreeable.

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn35.135


Kathañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu devappatto hoti?

How has a monk attained/arrived at the state of a god?... A monk enters & dwells is the first...second...third...fourth jhana...

Kathañca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu brahmappatto hoti

How has a monk attained/arrived at the state of a brahma?... A monk pervades the entire world with loving-kindness... compassion... appreciative joy... equinimity...

AN 4.190


Living with Brahma are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. Living with the early devas (gods) are those families where, within the home, mother and father are respected by their children. For what reason? Because mother and father are very helpful to their children, they take care of them and bring them up and teach them about the world. Mother and father are called "Brahma," "early teachers" And "worthy of veneration," Being compassionate towards Their family of children. Iti 109


Bhikkhus, suppose a man would throw a yoke with a single hole into the great ocean, and there was a blind turtle which would come to the surface once every hundred years. What do you think, bhikkhus, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole? If it would ever do so, venerable sir, it would be only after a very long time. Sooner, I say, would that blind turtle, coming to the surface once every hundred years, insert its neck into that yoke with a single hole than the fool who has gone once to the nether world would regain the human state. For what reason? Because here, bhikkhus, there is no conduct guided by the Dhamma, no righteous conduct, no wholesome activity, no meritorious activity. Here there prevails mutual devouring, the devouring of the weak. For what reason? Because, bhikkhus, they have not seen the Four Noble Truths. What four? The noble truth of suffering … the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. SN 56.47


Now on that occasion the wanderers of other persuasions had come together in a gathering and were sitting, discussing many kinds of bestial (animal) topics, making a great noise and racket. AN 10.93


Bhikkhus, these two bright principles protect the world. What are the two? Shame and fear of wrongdoing. If, bhikkhus, these two bright principles did not protect the world, there would not be discerned respect for mother or maternal aunt or maternal uncle’s wife or a teacher’s wife or the wives of other honored persons and the world would have fallen into promiscuity, as with goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs & jackals. But as these two bright principles protect the world, there is discerned respect for mother… & the wives of other honored persons. AN 2.9


Beings (sattā) are few who, when they pass away from the animal realm (tiracchānayoniyā) appear (paccājāyanti) among humans (manussesu)… those beings are more numerous that reappear in hell…. For what reason? They have not realised the Four Noble Truths. SN 56.102 to 131


Householders, there are these four ways of living together. What four? A wretch lives together with a wretch; a wretch lives together with a female deva (god); a deva (god) lives together with a wretch; a deva (god) lives together with a female deva (god). When both are immoral, miserly and abusive, husband and wife live together as wretches. The husband is immoral, miserly and abusive, but his wife is virtuous, charitable, generous. She is a female deva living with a wretched husband. The husband is virtuous, charitable, generous, but his wife is immoral, miserly and abusive. She is a wretch living with a deva husband. Both husband and wife are endowed with faith, charitable and self-controlled, living their lives righteously, addressing each other with pleasant words. Then many benefits accrue to them and they dwell at ease. Their enemies are saddened when both are the same in virtue. Having practiced the Dhamma here, the same in virtuous behavior and observances, delighting in a deva world, they rejoice, enjoying sensual pleasures. AN 4.53

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