Definition - What does Arupadhatu mean?

Arupadhatu is a Sanskrit word that means “formless space.” It is a term used mainly in Buddhism to refer to the highest sphere of existence and the one in which rebirth may take place. It is also referred to as arupa-loka, or “formless world.”

In arupadhatu, desires and sensations have disappeared and it is in this realm, or plane, that the pure spirits live. Arupadhatu is the final stage before the state of pure bliss known as nirvana.

Yogapedia explains Arupadhatu

Arupadhatu is equated with the state of samadhi in Hinduism and yoga. As the highest realm, arupadhatu is preceded in the spiritual journey by rupadhatu (the material world) and kamadhatu (the sensory plane). In the highest plane, beings exist without physical bodies and have transcended physical sensations.

The arupadhatu consists of four sub-realms, which are associated with four levels of meditation on the non-material world:

  • 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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