Ten States of Life

1. HELL This is a state of suffering and despair, in which we perceive we have no freedom of action. It is characterised by the impulse to destroy ourselves and everything around us.

2. HUNGER This is a state of being controlled by insatiable desire for money, power, status, or whatever. While desires are inherent in any of the ten worlds, in this state we are at the mercy of our cravings and cannot control them.

3. ANIMALITY This is a state where we are ruled by instinct. We exhibit neither reason nor moral sense nor the ability to make judgment. In this state, we operate by the law of the jungle, and we take advantage of the weak while fawning on the strong.

4. ANGER A selfish, greedy, distorted ego that is determined to best others at all costs and seeing everything as a potential threat to oneself.

Hell, Hunger, Animality and Anger are collectively called the four evil paths.

5. HUMANITY A seemingly calm and passive state of life, but vulnerable to the lower four worlds and external influences.

6. HEAVEN A sense of intense joy stemming from the fulfillment of desires, a sense of physical well-being, or inner contentment. Joy experienced is short-lived and vulnerable to external influences.

The above six states are called the six paths or six lower worlds. Their common characteristic is that their emergence or subsidence is governed largely by eternal circumstances.

7. LEARNING This state is where one seeks the truth through the teachings or experience of others.

8. REALIZATION This state is similar to Learning, except that one seeks the truth not through others’ teachings but through one’s own direct perception of the world.

9. BODHISATTVA Bodhisattvas are those who aspire to achieve enlightenment and at the same time are equally determined to enable fellow beings to do the same. People in this state have an awareness of their greater self which encompasses others in their environment.

10. BUDDHAHOOD This is a dynamic state of life condition where one is enlightened to the ultimate truth of life and enjoys a state of spiritual freedom. People in the life state of Buddhahood will possess qualities such as wisdom, compassion and life force.