Arupa

Definition - What does Arupa mean?

Arupa is a Sanskrit word meaning “formless.” It can refer to non-material subjects or objects in Buddhism, Hinduism and yogic philosophy. For example, in Buddhism, arupajhanas (also called arupa dhyanas) are the formless jhanas, or levels of meditation on non-material objects. Arupajhana is similar to the state of samadhi in Hinduism and yoga.

Arupa is the opposite of rupa, meaning “form,” which refers to the appearance of physical objects and their tangible nature.

Yogapedia explains Arupa

Arupadhatu and arupa-loka are the terms used in Buddhism to refer to the highest sphere of existence where desires and sensations have disappeared, rebirth takes place and pure spirits live. Arupadhatu is the final stage before the state of pure bliss known as nirvana.

The arupajhanas consist of four levels of meditation on the non-material and they succeed the lower rupajhanas, or levels of meditation on material objects. The four arupajhanas from lowest to highest are:

  • Akasanancayatana jhana – meditation on infinite space
  • Vinnanancayatana jhana – meditation on infinite consciousness
  • Akincannayatana jhana – meditation on infinite nothingness
  • Nevasannanasannayatana jhana – a meditative state of neither perception nor non-perception

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