It's said that gods/devas experience more superior sensual pleasures than human beings. Human beings who keep Buddhist five precepts will be able to take rebirth in heavenly realm. Sensual pleasure is associated with greed (lobha), superior sensual pleasure means high level of greed & lust. If one wants to take rebirth in heaven, does it mean one has to practice five precepts and he also has to have high degree of greed & lust? For example, a person who often visits prostitute has both the quality of keeping five precepts and high degree of lust/greed. Does that increase his chance to be reborn as deva?

Suppose, Māgandiya, a householder or a householder’s son was rich, with great wealth and property, and being provided and endowed with the five cords of sensual pleasure, he might enjoy himself with forms cognizable by the eye…with sounds cognizable by the ear…with odours cognizable by the nose…with flavours cognizable by the tongue…with tangibles cognizable by the body that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and likeable, connected with sensual desire and provocative of lust. Having conducted himself well in body, speech and mind, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he might reappear in a happy destination, in the heavenly world in the retinue of the gods of the Thirty-three; and there, surrounded by a group of nymphs in the Nandana Grove, he would enjoy himself, provided and endowed with the five cords of divine sensual pleasure. Suppose he saw a householder or a householder’s son enjoying himself, provided and endowed with the five cords of human sensual pleasure. What do you think, Māgandiya? Would that young god surrounded by the group of nymphs in the Nandana Grove, enjoying himself, provided and endowed with the five cords of divine sensual pleasure, envy the householder or the householder’s son for the five cords of human sensual pleasure or would he be enticed by human sensual pleasures?”

MN 75

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    A strange question coming from someone who does not believe in rebirth. It makes one wonder if answering this is worth the time :) – Sankha Kulathantille Mar 2 '18 at 11:58
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    It's not meant as slander. Just wondering if this is a troll question. If that's the way you define rebirth, this question wouldn't arise:) – Sankha Kulathantille Mar 2 '18 at 12:11
  • I read the question on another forum & thought it to be a very good question for Buddhism SE. – Dhammadhatu Mar 2 '18 at 12:15
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    I'm not sure how much of your question was sarcastic (e.g. "higher virtue leads to sexier") or rhetorical: so I haven't tried to answer it literally? A depiction of Greek nymphs doesn't wholly clarify it for me either. – ChrisW Mar 2 '18 at 22:15
  • i found your question difficult to read, but would add that not all sensual pleasures are "sexy" -- think of a good meal – user2512 Mar 6 '18 at 23:12

The one asked this question misunderstood what is "superior". Superior means finer, inferior coarser (vulgar). For instance, classical ballet is finer, Beyonce & Lady Gaga dances vulgar. All sensual pleasure are born by greed, finer pleasure with lesser greed whilst coarser with stronger greed. Therefore, "superior sensual pleasure means high level of greed & lust" a wrong analogy - from someone who doesn't have a clear mind or logic got his/er thinking entangled by words misleading himself/herself also others.

The Sutras (likely also found in the Pali canon) mention there six Celestial Realms of Desire. The lowest and Trayastriṃśa (Pali: Tāvatiṃsa) get their xxx pleasures like the humans (while humans shared part similar to the Animal Realm); the 3rd by embracing; in Tuṣita only by holding hands. The highest Desire Realm Parinirmita-vaśavartin gets supreme OGSM simply by looking at each other in the eyes, no physical contact at all.

If one doesn't abide in his/er sincerity to understand the Buddhavacana, but leashed to certain bias that pleased him/er, cherry-picking here there, likely s/he unable to interpret the teaching correctly. Vocalizing Anatta doesn't endorse one the realization of Anatta hence there none "Nibanna" to enter - so to speak; likewise one bolted unconsciously onto his/er pride of superiority even to the point fooled his/er very self - equanimity a far cry, how could this person enter any Jhana?

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One who thinks there *sexier heavenly sensual rebirth*, sorry, no Beyonce for Devas, only the Flying Apsaras performance!

I wonder those masters need anyone to provide any answer; for those their minds already full, no room there! However, other readers may be interested. The question has already had the less undesired answer selected, my post merely for those descendants who got the genes for satire and capable of laugh ~ :D

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  • Ballet is as insane as Beyonce. – Dhammadhatu Mar 3 '18 at 22:05
  • yes. despite its sophistication and complexity, body is a "lower" creation, while the "Way" (Dao) going towards purity and simplicity. once i was in Thict Nhat Hanh Village, in lunch break a Bhikkhuni sitting next to me patting a mutilated dog with extraordinary compassion. finding chance for Zen conversation liked in the books :) i said, "having body is suffering." she, "kaskfj bekis zbuu... " (sorry i forgot what she said, but no "Koan" or Zen in her words). i just wondered, the Dharma may have long gone from the Sangha. but, body is primary tool from here to there. – Mishu 米殊 Mar 4 '18 at 15:56

I would suggest looking at some of the narratives found in the Vimānavatthu of the Khuddakanikāya for some elucidation on this point. There the heavenly rewards granted to laypersons for positive ethical conduct are outlined. Laypersons who provide for the sangha with material requisites and observe the precepts are reborn in heavenly realms where they enjoy various sensual pleasures. These include, for example, having an exquisite golden complexions, dwelling in resplendent mansions, enjoying sweet scents, and hearing divine music, etc. These would all be reckoned as "deva-like sensual pleasures".

Note, however, how in these narratives sexual pleasure is entirely lacking. There are many "nymphs" spoken of in these narratives, but their contribution in affording sensual pleasure to heaven-dwellers is primarily through the use of song, dance, etc., not through sexual intercourse.

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According to MN 75, it is the "having conducted himself well" that results in "a happy destination".

  • sensuality + misconduct => unhappy destination
  • sensuality + good conduct => happy destination

Maybe see also What is effluent?

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I am still baffled by your confusion of pleasure with sexy pleasure! Not all forms are sex, and if they were, then one would be in a pickle! Sometimes even good things can be pleasurable, such as cooking a good meal for someone else.

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Until one reaches Awakening, there is a pull towards the specific realm that one has achieved in one's culivation.

Each realm has a gradient of corresponding rebirths. Desire realms have increasingly subtle forms of pleasure until one pops out into the Form Realm.

Formless Realm Form Realm Desire Realm (devas, humans, ghosts, animals, etc.)

Most importantly: each realm has a downward pull.

These and more rules of Buddhist cosmological rebirth are explained in the brilliant Buddhist summary: "The Mind Experiment" by professor Bavo Lievens.

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The problem with this question is the assumption that sensuality by itself always leads to bad outcomes. That's not entirely true. It leads to suffering, but suffering has both good and bad outcomes, which are temporary.

Sensuality combined with good conduct or virtue (sila) leads to good outcomes. This can be seen in AN5.43:

Long life, beauty, status, honor, heaven, high birth: To those who delight in aspiring for these things in great measure, continuously, the wise praise heedfulness in making merit.

The wise person, heedful, acquires a two-fold welfare: welfare in this life & welfare in the next. By breaking through to his welfare he's called prudent, wise.

This theme is continued in DN31:

The wise endowed with virtue shine forth like a burning fire, Gathering wealth as bees do honey And heaping it up like an ant hill. Once wealth is accumulated, Family and household life may follow. By dividing wealth into four parts, True friendships are bound; One part should be enjoyed; Two parts invested in business; And the fourth set aside Against future misfortunes."

Enjoyment of wealth, beauty, status etc. are all sensual experiences that can be positive, if one pursues a meritorious and virtuous life. But of course, nothing is permanent. Suffering continues. All wealth, beauty, status, heavan etc. are not permanent.

After all, sensual desires (kāmachanda), one of the ten fetters, still applies to stream winners and once-returners. So it's not bad in itself.

We can say that sensuality (kāmachanda) combined with virtues (sila) is part of the middle way. To say all sensuality is bad, falls into over-asceticism, away from the middle way.

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    Sensuality (kāmachanda) combined with virtues (sila) certainly does not seem to be part of the Middle Way taught in the 1st sermon. Please do not defile the Noble Eightfold Path like this. The Middle-Way is the way that avoids sensuality & over-asceticism. The teachings quoted in this answer are obviously worldly dhamma for worldlings & unrelated to the Middle Way. – Dhammadhatu Mar 3 '18 at 10:33

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