Devas, Asuras, Brahmas, Nagas and so on inside and outside of early Buddhism

Maybe here we can develop a discussion about these beings.
For example angels and demons as devas and asuras, or the psychedelic beings encountered in dmt trips as the two highest realms in the sensual world. (I am not for drug use, it just fits the theme) Maybe Connection to Out of Body Experiences, Near Death experiences, Astral Projection and so on. Conspiracy Theories. Aliens. Fairies and so on. What the suttas say. Your own experiences. Your thoughts.

Even the six mind states above the human level require morality for entry, not to mention the right concentration of the jhana levels, so random experiences are unlikely to result in such fortunate entry:

“So, householders, it is by reason of conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of righteous conduct, that some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world.”—MN 41


Thanks for your reply, but I don’t quite understand it, and the connection to the topic. Can you explain maybe?

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Here the concern is with developing Buddhist practice a difficult undertaking, so there is no interest in topics off the Buddhist path which reinforce wrong thought. In developing this practice a line must be drawn between what is moral and the profitable mind states consequently arising, which are synonymous with beings of the higher planes, and anything outside that. The OP question indicates that no such line of division exists in that conception, and my answer is an attempt to lay the groundwork for the establishment of productive practice.

Why do you think a light hearted discussion about beings in other realms reinforce wrong thought? And if I understand you correctly you are even saying it’s immoral for me to want to discuss these things? I often think about if my actions are wholesome or unwholesome but I don’t quite understand what’s wrong with that topic, after all the Buddha talked about these beings as far as I know, so why should we not discuss these things? I am a bit confused about whats the problem here to be honest.

Edit: I have read your answer now a couple of times trying to understand.( and also with the help of Gabriel_L, thanks )
Do you mean that only buddhists can have good morality, so anyone who doesn’t follow the path cannot have the morality to see other realms so that discussion is inherently wrong? As I understand it non-buddhists can have very good morality even to the point of being reborn in heaven. So moral people can have near death experiences and so on. Have I understood you correctly?

I understood that in @paul1 's view, without a good level of development of the factors of the eightfold path, it is unlikely that use of substances like LSD would allow someone to “have a peek” at those higher states / realms.

While I cannot take that as true what I understand of EBTs support that hypothesis. But we are all free to sustain whatever hypothesis or points of views on anything including this topic.

Furthermore, possibly in the same direction of @paul1’s responses, I suspect these drug-induced experiences are closer to what a deluded vivid dream would be than a real direct experience of any possible alternative and higher realm existence.

Unfortunately, I don’t we have enough in EBTs to make a hard case either way. As far as I understand, the sort of intoxicants people around the Buddha were making use were mostly based on alcohol.

And the Buddha in the EBTs was clearly warning his lay and monastic disciples that there is no room for a delusion of using these substances to any benefit towards the goal of understanding suffering, letting go of its causes, achieving the end of suffering nor developing the path toward that achievement.

Hence, in response to the OP, I would say that it is likely that any out of body experience induced by substance, if real, would be so much embedded in delusion and confusion that could be barely of any use in the performance of the four enobling tasks associated with the four Noble truths. And most likely, not even a real out of body experience, but indeed a intoxicated sort of dream…



Of course I am not trying to promote drug use here as I said in the first post. I just found out that the beings people are describing fit the description of the beings in that realm.
It was an example for the kind of topics that could be discussed here. My personal view is that it could be possible to see other realms when using drugs when you have enough morality and kamma to do so, but it is not worth it because what you see can negatively affect your views and leads to the opposite of samvega.

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I don’t know about drugs or NDEs, but somewhat connected to this: the parallels between descriptions of heavenly beings, hell beings and ghosts in various religions is interesting.

There’s a theory that religions like Christianity have come to be when a human being remembers bits from a life in a brahma realm.
Its discussed here (around the 11:00 mark)

It’s also interesting that ghosts are described in very similar ways across different cultures, Buddhist or not. They’re always longing for something, or troubled over unfinished business.


Thanks for the post. I had the strange theory once, that jesus was the son of Brahma, and because Brahma was enlightened because of the buddha, he sent his “son” down to earth so people practice the brahmaviharas and then get reborn there and enlightened in his realm. I don’t believe that’s really the case, it was just a strange theory I came up with when I was staying at a christian meditation centre, because I wished that they would follow the buddhas path.

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While curiosity is natural, I wonder about the value of such discussion. What would be the aim?

The Buddha was very clear that he taught suffering and the end of suffering. He often would not answer questions about cosmology and regarding psychic powers he told his disciples to be careful about even showing these to lay people.

It seems to me that the Buddha mentioned devas, hell and heaven realms, psychic powers, etc, even in the context of ethics and rebirth i.e. for the benefit of elucidating the path to freedom.

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It can strenghten faith, when we find out what the buddha said is true.