(lit: the Radiant Ones; related to Lat. deus): heavenly beings, deities, celestials, are beings who live in happy worlds, and who, as a rule, are invisible to the human eye. They are subject, however, just like all human and other beings, to ever-repeated rebirth, old age and death, and thus are not freed from the cycle of existence and from misery. There are many classes of heavenly beings.
I. The 6 classes of heavenly beings of the sensuous sphere (ka^ma^vacara or ka^ma-loka; s. avacara loka), are Ca^tumaha^ra^jika-deva, Ta^vatimsa, Ya^ma, Tusita (s. Bodhisatta), Nimma^na-rati, Paranimmita-vasavatti. Cf. anussati. (6).
II. The heavenly beings of the fine-material sphere (rúpa^vacara or rúpaloka) are:
1. Brahma-pa^risajja, Brahma-purohita, Maha^-brahma^no (s. brahma-ka^yika-deva). Amongst these 3 classes will be reborn those with a weak, medium or full experience of the 1st absorption (jha^na, q.v.).
2. Paritta^bha, Appama^na^bha, a^bhassara. Here will be reborn those with experience of the 2nd absorption.
3. Paritta-subha, Appama^na-subha, Subha-kinna (or kinha). Here will be reborn those with experience of the 3rd absorption.
4. Vehapphala, Asan~n~a-satta (q.v.), Suddha^va^sa (q.v.; further s. Ana^ga^mi). Amongst the first 2 classes will be reborn those with experience of the 4th absorption, but amongst the 3rd class only Ana^ga^mis (q.v.).
III. The 4 grades of heavenly beings of the immaterial sphere (arúpa^vacara or arúpa-loka) are: the heavenly beings of the sphere of unbounded space (a^ka^sa^nan~ca^yatanúpaga-deva^), of unbounded consciousness (vin~n~a^nan~ca^yatanúpaga-deva), of nothingness (a^kin~can~n~a^yatanúpaga deva^), of neither-perception-nor- non-perception (nevasan~n~a^-na^san~n~a^yatanúpaga-deva^). Here will be reborn those with experience of the 4 immaterial spheres (arúpa^yatana; s. jha^na 5-8).
See Gods and the Universe by Francis Story (WHEEL 180/181).