Rupadhatu, aka: Rūpadhātu, Rupa-dhatu; 4 Definition(s)


Rupadhatu 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 form (rupa-dhatu) is one of the two reals above our ordinary world.

Also see: Arupadhatu and Kamadhatu;

(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

General definition (in Buddhism)

Rūpadhātu (रूपधातु) or simply rūpa refers to the “form element” and represents one of the eighteen elements (dhātu) as defined in the Dharma-saṃgraha (section 25). The Dharma-samgraha (Dharmasangraha) is an extensive glossary of Buddhist technical terms in Sanskrit (eg., rūpa-dhātu). The work is attributed to Nagarguna who lived around the 2nd century A.D.

(Source): Wisdom Library: Dharma-samgraha

The world of subtle form; the second of the Three Worlds.

The world of subtle form is the world in which are reborn living beings who, due to meditation, obtain a wonderful form. It consists of:

  1. The level of joy (prīti);
  2. The level of joylessness (aprīti); the spheres of devoid of joy of the Parittaśubhas, Apramāṇaśubhas and Śubhakṛtsnas;
  3. The level of equianimity (upekṣā)

Also see: Three Worlds

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

The Rūpadhātu (Pāli: Rūpaloka; Tib: gzugs kyi khams; Jpn: 色界 Shiki-kai) or "Form realm" is, as the name implies, the first of the physical realms; its inhabitants all have a location and bodies of a sort, though those bodies are composed of a subtle substance which is of itself invisible to the inhabitants of the Kāmadhātu. According to the Janavasabha Sutta, when a brahma (a being from the Brahma-world of the Rūpadhātu) wishes to visit a deva of the Trāyastriṃśa heaven (in the Kāmadhātu), he has to assume a "grosser form" in order to be visible to them. There are 17-22 Rūpadhātu in Buddhism texts, the most common saying is 18.

The beings of the Form realm are not subject to the extremes of pleasure and pain, or governed by desires for things pleasing to the senses, as the beings of the Kamadhatu are. The bodies of Form realm beings do not have sexual distinctions.

Like the beings of the Ārūpyadhātu, the dwellers in the Rūpadhātu have minds corresponding to the dhyānas (Pāli: jhānas). In their case it is the four lower dhyānas or rūpadhyānas. However, although the beings of the Rūpadhātu can be divided into four broad grades corresponding to these four dhyānas, each of them is subdivided into further grades, three for each of the four dhyānas and five for the Śuddhāvāsa devas, for a total of seventeen grades (the Theravāda tradition counts one less grade in the highest dhyāna for a total of sixteen).

The devas of the Rupadhatu have physical forms, but are sexless and passionless. They live in a large number of "heavens" or deva worlds that rise, layer on layer, above the earth. These can be divided into five main groups:

  • The Suddhavasa
  • The Brhatphala
  • The Subhakrtsna
  • The Abhasvara
  • The Brahma

Each of these groups of deva worlds contains different grades of devas, but all of those within a single group are able to interact and communicate with each other. On the other hand, the lower groups have no direct knowledge of even the existence of the higher types of deva at all. For this reason, some of the Brahmas have become proud, imagining themselves as the creators of their own worlds and of all the worlds below them (because they came into existence before those worlds began to exist).

Physically, the Rūpadhātu consists of a series of planes stacked on top of each other, each one in a series of steps half the size of the previous one as one descends. In part, this reflects the fact that the devas are also thought of as physically larger on the higher planes. The highest planes are also broader in extent than the ones lower down, as discussed in the section on Sahasra cosmology. The height of these planes is expressed in yojanas, a measurement of very uncertain length, but sometimes taken to be about 4,000 times the height of a man, and so approximately 4.54 miles (7.31 km).

(Source): WikiPedia: Buddhism

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