Tavatimsa, aka: Tāvatiṃsa; 3 Definition(s)


Tavatimsa means something in Buddhism, Pali. 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 Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

The second of the six deva worlds, the first being the Catummaharajika world. Tavatimsa stands at the top of Mount Sineru (or Sudassana). Sakka is king of both worlds, but lives in Tavatimsa. Originally it was the abode of the Asuras; but when Magha was born as Sakka and dwelt with his companions in Tavatimsa he disliked the idea of sharing his realm with the Asuras, and, having made them intoxicated, he hurled them down to the foot of Sineru, where the Asurabhavana was later established.

The chief difference between these two worlds seems to have been that the Paricchattaka tree grew in Tavatimsa, and the Cittapatali tree in Asurabhavana. In order that the Asuras should not enter Tavatimsa, Sakka had five walls built around it, and these were guarded by Nagas, Supannas, Kumbhandas, Yakkhas and Catummaharajika devas (J.i.201ff; also DhA.i.272f). The entrance to Tavatimsa was by way of the Cittakutadvarakotthaka, on either side of which statues of Indra (Indapatima) kept guard (J.vi.97). The whole kingdom was ten thousand leagues in extent (DhA.i.273), and contained more than one thousand pasadas (J.vi.279). The chief features of Tavatimsa were its parks - the Pharusaka, Cittalata, Missaka and Nandana - the Vejayantapasada, the Paricchatta tree, the elephant king Eravana and the Assembly hall Sudhamma (J.vi.278; MA.i.183; cp. Mtu.i.32). Mention is also made of a park called Nanda (J.i.204). Besides the Paricchataka (or Parijata) flower, which is described as a Kovilara (A.iv.117), the divine Kakkaru flower also grew in Tavatimsa (J.iii.87). In the Cittalatavana grows the Asavati creeper, which blossoms once in a thousand years (J.iii.250f).

It is the custom of all Buddhas to spend the vassa following the performance of the Yamakapatihariya, in Tavatimsa. Gotama Buddha went there to preach the Abhidhamma to his mother, born there as a devaputta. The distance of sixty eight thousand leagues from the earth to Tavatimsa he covered in three strides, placing his foot once on Yugandhara and again on Sineru.

The Buddha spent three months in Tavatimsa, preaching all the time, seated on Sakkas throne, the Pandukambalasilasana, at the foot of the Paricchattaka tree. Eighty crores of devas attained to a knowledge of the truth. This was in the seventh year after his Enlightenment (J.iv.265; DhA.iii.216f; BuA. p.3). It seems to have been the frequent custom of ascetics, possessed of iddhi power, to spend the afternoon in Tavatimsa (E.g., Narada, J.vi.392; and Kaladevala, J.i.54).

Moggallana paid numerous visits to Tavatimsa, where he learnt from those dwelling there stories of their past deeds, that he might repeat them to men on earth for their edification (VvA. p.4).

The Jataka Commentary mentions several human beings who were invited by Sakka,

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

'the Thirty-three (Gods)', a class of heavenly beings in the sensuous sphere; s. deva (I).

(Source): Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines
context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).


tāvatiṃsa : (m.) name of a heavenly abode.

(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.

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