The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Tuṣita (Sanskrit) or Tusita (Pāli) is one of the six Deva-worlds of the Kāmadhātu, located between the Yāma Heaven and the Nirmāṇarati Heaven. Like the other heavens, Tuṣita is said to be reachable through Meditation. It is the Heaven where the Bodhisattva Śvetaketu (Pāli: Setaketu, "White Banner") resided before being reborn on Earth as Gautama, the historical Buddha; it is, likewise, the Heaven where the Bodhisattva Nātha ("Protector") currently resides, who will later be born as the next Buddha, Maitreya.
Like all Heaven realms in Buddhism, the Tuṣita Heaven is the residence of divine beings or devas. According to an excerpt of the Pali Canon, a Theravada Buddhist text, time runs much differently than on Earth:
- “ "That which among men is four hundred years, Visakha, is one night and day of the Tusita devas, their month has thirty of those days, their year twelve of those months; the lifespan of the Tusita devas is four thousand of those heavenly years..." ”
In Mahayana Buddhist Thought, the Tuṣita Heaven is where all Bodhisattvas destined to reach full Enlightenment in their next Life dwell for a time. One such reference can be found in the Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life, a Mahayana text:
- “ Each of these Bodhisattvas, following the virtues of the Mahasattva Samantabhadra, is endowed with the immeasurable practices and vows of the Bodhisattva Path, and firmly dwells in all the meritorious deeds. He freely travels in all the ten quarters and employs skillful means of emancipation. He enters the treasury of the Dharma of the Buddhas, and reaches the Other Shore. Throughout the innumerable worlds he attains Enlightenment.
"Heaven of Satisfaction." In ancient Indian and Buddhist cosmology, the fourth of the six heavens in the world of desire. The beings in this heaven are said to know satisfaction in the pursuit of pleasure, having transcended insatiable desire. They have a life span of four thousand years, each day of which is equal to four hundred years in the human world. It is said that bodhisattvas are reborn in this heaven just before their rebirth in the world where they will attain Buddhahood. Shakyamuni is said to have descended from this heaven and entered the womb of his mother, Maya. Tushita consists of an inner court and an outer court. The inner court is the abode of Bodhisattva Maitreya, who is constantly preaching until his future rebirth in the human world as a Buddha. Belief in Maitreya along with aspiration for rebirth in the Tushita Heaven was popular in China in the fifth century and in Japan in the seventh century.
The Tuṣhita Heaven is therefore closely associated with Maitreya, and many Buddhists vow to be reborn there so that they can hear the teachings of the Bodhisattva and ultimately be reborn with him when he becomes a Buddha. Other Bodhisattvas dwell in this Heaven realm from time to time. Tuṣita is part of the same World-system as Earth, and so is relatively close, whereas the Pure land of Amitabha Buddha is treated as a separate World-system entirely.