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Gautama Buddha's explanation on 'World' or 'Loka'

A very significant word that comes in Gautama Buddha's Sutta discourses is the "Loka" or "Loke" that is commonly regarded today as the "World". One needs to have a proper understanding of what Gautama Buddha considered as the "World" or "Loka " since Buddha is "Lokavidu" , one of the nine qualities Gautama Buddha had been ascribed to. The meaning of the word" Lokavidu" is "knowledge of entire worlds" or "loka".

To gain knowledge on "loka" or "World" as Gautama Buddha has meant, one can refer some important Suttas of Gautama Buddha where there is ample explanations on "Loka". They are Maha Sathipattana Sutta, Rohitassa Sutta, Lokakamaguna Sutta, Palokadamma Sutta etc.

In Rohitassa Sutta, the God Son Rohitassa approaches Gautama Buddha and asks about the "end of the world" where there isn't birth, decay, death, decease and rebirth . Here the god Rohitassa has considered the world as we commonly used to call the universe. Gautama Buddha explains that one cannot find the end of the "world" with no birth, decay, death, decease and rebirth that way but to find the end of the "world" with no birth, decay, death,decease and rebirth from this fathom long very body that with perception (sanna) and mind (chitta). In other words, Gautama Buddha tells the God that the "world" with no birth, decay, death, decease and rebirth can be attended by this very life as done by an arhat who has known the end of the world.

In Maha-Satipatthana Sutta, Gautama Buddha mentions "loke" that is pertaining to a person's inner and outer sense bases. Following Pali text will show the factors connected to "world" that is mentioned in Maha-Satipatthana Sutta.


Cakkhuü loke, Sotaü loke , Ghànaü loke , Jivhà loke ,Kàyo loke , Mano loke ,

Råpà loke, Saddà loke, Gandhà loke, Rasà loke, Phoññhabbà loke, Dhammà loke,

Cakkhuvi¤¤àõaü loke ,Sotavi¤¤àõaü loke , Ghànavi¤¤àõaü loke , Jivhàvi¤¤àõaü loke , Kàyavi¤¤àõaü loke , Manovi¤¤àõaü loke

Cakkhusamphasso loke , Sotasamphasso loke , Ghànasamphasso loke , Jivhàsamphasso loke , Kàyasamphasso loke , Manosamphasso loke

Cakkhusamphassajà vedanà loke , Sotasamphassajà vedanà loke, Ghànasamphassajà vedanà loke , Jivhàsamphassajà vedanà loke , Kàyasamphassajà vedanà loke , Manosamphassajà vedanà loke ,

Råpasa¤¤à loke , Saddasa¤¤à loke ,Gandhasa¤¤à loke , Rasasa¤¤à loke, Phoññhabbasa¤¤à loke , Dhammasa¤¤à loke ,

Råpasa¤cetanà loke , Saddasa¤cetanà loke, Gandhasa¤cetanà loke , Rasasa¤cetanà loke, Phoññhabbasa¤cetanà loke , Dhammasa¤cetanà loke

Råpataõhà loke, Saddataõhà loke , Gandhataõhà loke , Rasataõhà loke , Phoññhabbataõhà loke , Dhammataõhà loke ,

Råpavitakko loke , Saddavitakko loke, Gandhavitakko loke , Rasavitakko loke , Phoññhabbavitakko loke , Dhammavitakko loke

Råpavicàro loke , Saddavicàro loke , Gandhavicàro loke , Rasavicàro loke, Phoññhabbavicàro loke , Dhammavicàro loke


In Maha-Satipatthana Sutta, Gautama Buddha mentions "loke" that is pertained to the inner and outer sense bases (ayatana) and the resultants due to contact. Due to these sense bases consiousness (vinnana), contact (samphasso), samphassaja, perception (sanna), mental formations (sancetana), craving (tanha),directed thought (vitakko), evaluation (vicaro) takes place.

So a very important idea can be formed from the above details. Each of us are making an "individual world" through our sense bases. This concept is valid to any being having what sort of sense base we know of or do not know of. They can be Brahma, Deva, any other celestial beings, human beings, asura, peta, animal (tiracchana yoni),or hell (niraya).

The world of a (living) being can be regarded as the 'total knowledge' (gained through inner and outer sense bases and considered as 'experience') one had gathered and can be regarded and recalled at 'that moment' of question.

The reason of the 'time' factor here is, even a being with 'experience' as a 'unique world of his own' may ever be changing. For instant if one becomes ( for ex. a human) unconsciosness, the 'world' he had known would not be there any more for that person. Taking this concept further, a being in his death, forgo the 'world' he had 'acquired' in the inherited 'Nama Rupa' condition and starts up 'another world ' from the begining in a new 'Nama Rupa" condition according to his Kamma until one attains "Nibbana". This cycle of repeating events is called 'Samsara'.

Gautama Buddha having the quality of "Lokavidu" thus had the knowledge to know 'any world' of 'any being' in whatever 'realm', which only a Buddha could acquire.