Kamadhatu, aka: Kāmadhātu; 4 Definition(s)


Kamadhatu means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Āstika (orthodox philosophy)

The realm of desire (kama-dhatu)lies below our ordinary world. It contains six domains (gatis):

  1. Devas or gods.
  2. Asuras or titans (or jealous gods, or demigods),
  3. Manusyas or humans.
  4. Tiryaks or animals.
  5. Pretas or hungry ghosts.
  6. Narakas or demons (hell beings)

Also see: Rupadhatu and Arupadhatu;

(Source): Wisdom Library: Indian Philosophy
context information

The term āstika refers to six mainstream schools of Hindu philosophy, accepting the Vedas as authorative. They are: Nyāyá (logic), Vaiśeṣika (atomism), Sāṃkhya (enumeration), Yoga (Patañjali’s school), Mimāṃsā (Vedic exegesis) and Vedanta (Upaniṣadic tradition). Together they also go by the name ṣaḍdarśana (‘six systems’).

In Buddhism


kāmadhātu : (f.) the world of desire.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

General definition (in Buddhism)

The world of desire; the first of the Three Worlds.

Because sensual desire (kāma) dwells there and because sensual desire is maintained there, it is called the world of desire; it consists of five destinies, namely:

1. Mankind (manuṣya)

2. The gods of the world of desire (kāmadeva) who are gods who arouse sensual desire (yu sheng t’ien) with goddesses (apsarā); this distinguishes them from the gods who have abandoned sensual desire (li yu t’ien, vītarāgadeva)

3. The bad desitinies (durgati) are places where there is more suffering than joy. Beings in those destinies always tend towards the Bad. They are considered as afflicted and.

3a. The hells are places where one cannot be happy. There are many of them.

3b. Animals (tiryak) are all the species which are born as animals because of various criminal actions.

3c. Hungry ghosts (preta) are living beings reborn in a particularly wretched condition in fruition of the their bad actions.

Also see: Three Worlds

(Source): Google Books: the literature of the personalists of early buddhism

The beings born in the Kāmadhātu (Pāli: Kāmaloka; Tib: 'dod pa'i khams; Jpn: 欲界 Yoku-kai) differ in degree of happiness, but they are all, other than Anāgāmi, Arhat and Buddhas, under the domination of Māra and are bound by sensual desire, which causes them suffering.

The devas of the Kamadhatu have physical forms similar to, but larger than, those of humans. They lead the same sort of lives that humans do, though they are longer lived and generally more content; indeed sometimes they are immersed in pleasures. This is the realm that Mara has greatest influence over. The higher devas of the Kamadhatu live in four heavens that float in the air, leaving them free from contact with the strife of the lower world.

They are:

  • The Parinirmita vasavartin devas, luxurious devas to whom Mara belongs;
  • The Nirmanarati devas;
  • The Tusita devas, among whom the future Maitreya lives;
  • The Yama devas.

The lower devas of the Kamadhatu live on different parts of the mountain at the center of the world, Sumeru. They are even more passionate than the higher devas, and do not simply enjoy themselves but also engage in strife and fighting.

They are:

  • The Trayastrimsa devas, who live on the peak of Sumeru and are something like the Olympian gods. Their ruler is Sakra.
  • The Caturmaharajikakayika devas, who include the martial kings who guard the four quarters of the Earth. The chief of these kings is Vaisravana, but all are ultimately accountable to Sakra. They also include four types of earthly demigod or nature spirit: Kumbhandas, Gandharvas, Nagas and Yaksas, and probably also the Garudas.

Sometimes included among the devas, and sometimes placed in a different category, are the Asuras, the opponents of the preceding two groups of devas, whose nature is to be continually engaged in war.

Humans are said to have originally had many of the powers of the devas: not requiring food, the ability to fly through the air, and shining by their own light. Over time they began to eat solid foods, their bodies became coarser and their powers disappeared.

(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

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