ACI Course 08: Death and the Realms of Existence (1996, New York)

This Course is based upon the Treasure House of Higher Knowledge (Abhidharma Kosha) by Master Vasubandhu (350 AD), along with its commentary by the First Dalai Lama, as well as sections of the Great Book of the Steps to Buddhahood (Lamrim Chenmo) by Je Tsongkapa (1357-1419).

Topics include: The three main realms of existence; the 17 levels of the form realm; the six types of beings of the desire realm; the four levels of the formless realm; ways of taking birth; all of the different realms of existence and the beings inhabiting them  an explanation of: the intermediate state (bardo), the hells, craving spirits, animals, humans, pleasure beings, and formless beings; the causes to be reborn in each realm; how you move from realm to realm; ways of taking rebirth; how and why rebirth occurs; the conditions needed for human birth; the nature of intermediate state (bardo) beings; how world systems form, evolve and are destroyed; a description of the different types of eons; the four principles of karma; the six sufferings always present; the five degenerations of our age; the problems which result from not being aware of death; the advantages of cultivating an awareness of death; how to meditate on death correctly; and how to see the purity.

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Course Materials

Course Materials


Course Materials


Class One: Introduction to the Desire and Form Realms

Class Two: The Formless Realm and Different Types of Birth

Class Three: The Lives of Craving Spirits and Animals

Class Four: The Lives of Humans and Pleasure Beings

Class Five: The Lives of Intermediate Beings

Class Six: Types of Sustenance and the Physical World

Class Seven: The Lives of Hellbeings

Class Eight: Description of Time, Space and Eons

Class Nine: The Meditation on Death, Part One

Class Ten: The Meditation on Death, Part Two

Class Eleven: Course Review