HELL: All conditions of suffering and despair. In this state, we are utterly devoid of freedom, and undergo extreme and indescribable suffering.
HUNGER: Consumed by desire and a sense of lack, Hunger is a state characterized by an insatiable desire. In this state, a person is tormented by relentless craving and by his inability to satisfy it.
INSTINCT (ANIMALITY): The state of Animality is governed by instinct, and one has no sense of reason or morality. A person in the state of Animality is in fear of the strong, but despises and preys upon those weaker than himself. One is dominated by a selfish ego. A person in this state is compelled by the need to be superior to others in all things, despising others and valuing himself alone.
ANGER: The fourth world is Anger. It’s filled with various aspects of anger, hostility and rage, from whatever motivation and whether directed to others or toward oneself. This world also can involve striving for power and domination.
*These four states are collectively called the four lower worlds.
HUMANITY/TRANQUILIT WORLD: The fifth world is the normal basic state of neutral human experience. In this state, one can pass fair judgment, control one’s instinctive desires with reason, and act in harmony with one’s environment or society.
RAPTURE: The sixth world is Heaven or Rapture. This state indicates the sense of pleasure and ecstasy one feels when desire is fulfilled. However, the joy in this state is temporary and disappears with the passage of time or with even a slight change in circumstances. It is said that the shortest road to Hell (suffering) is from Rapture.
*These six worlds from Hell through Heaven are where the majority of people spend most of their time, moving back and forth among them. In these states, people are governed by reactions to external influences, and therefore they are extremely vulnerable to changing circumstances.
LEARNING: In the seventh world, learning – seeking some lasting truth – pervades. Generally one enters this life condition after pursuing the truth of life through the teachings of others. This life condition is relatively free from avarice, anger, stupidity, arrogance and doubt, as well as from bias or depravity. However, a selfish or arrogant mind, although hidden, is still present to some extent in this life condition.
REALIZATION: In this condition, one seeks some lasting truth through their own observations and effort, and attains a degree of emancipation by perceiving the chain of causation, or by observing the natural order. In other words, one understands cause and effect as the nature of life in the universe. Because this is a life condition reached by discovering the truth in the universe after much effort, the sense of fulfillment felt in this state may be deeper than that gained in the world of learning. *Realization and Learning can often turn into arrogance, because people in these life conditions become stubbornly attached to their own realization with its limited perspective. Learning and Realization are called the two vehicles. The defect of the two vehicles lies in the fact that persons in these states may primarily seek only their own salvation and enlightenment.
COMPASSIONATE ALTRUISM In the ninth world, one aspires to enlightenment, and also devotes oneself to compassionate actions and altruism. Those in this state dwell among common mortals of the Six Paths humbly, while respecting others. They seek to serve and benefit others. This life condition is characterized by the great desire to extend help to those who are suffering.
ENLIGHTENMENT or ACTUALIZATION: The highest life condition is a state of perfect and absolute freedom in which one enjoys boundless wisdom and compassion, and is filled with the courage and power to overcome all hardships. This is the condition underlying the rich, altruistic activities of the Bodhisattva, in which one takes the sufferings of others as his own and defies all obstacles to help others change their destiny. One demonstrates to others how they can call up their own Buddhahood from within themselves