The journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step


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Overview of the unfortunate realms 

1. The Hell Realm is the first plane of the Unfortunate realm. It is a place that is devoid of all happiness and comforts. A rebirth in the Hell Realm takes place as a result of a being’s habitual misdeeds. Once in the Hell Realm, the Hell being will suffer the most horrifying pain and suffering through continuous and horrific forms of punishment. The Hell Realm is situated underneath ‘Mount Trigut’. It consists of eight major sites which are the Hell of ‘Mahanarok’, 128 satellite sites which are called the Hell of ‘Ussadanarok’ and 320 minor sites which are called the Hell of ‘Yomalok’.

Once a hell being has gone through all the forms of punishment in the Hell of Mahanarok’, it has to go through additional forms of punishment in the Hells of ‘Ussadanarok’ and ‘Yomalok’ until it has served the full sentence of its previous misdeeds as dictated by the Law of Kamma.

2. The Peta Realm is the second plane of the Unfortunate realm. It is a place that is filled with trouble, severe hunger, and severe thirst. Petas can be categorized into twelve families. They dwell in the gorges of ‘Mount Trigut’ as well as in a plane of existence parallel to earth.A rebirth in the Peta Realm is caused by the unwholesome deeds of parsimony. A rebirth in the Peta Realm occurs via two routes. The first route is after a being has already gone through the forms of punishment in the Hells of ‘Mahanarok’, ‘Ussadanarok’, and ‘Yomalok’. And the second route is immediately after the human existence.

3. The Asurakaya Realm is the third plane of the Unfortunate realm. It is a place that is devoid of joy. Asurakayas and Petas are very similar and it is difficult to differentiate them at times. Asurakayas dwell in the same location as Petas in the gorges of ‘Mount Trigut’. They possess bizarre forms. They may have a pig head with a human body, for example. Their existence is marked by severe hardship not unlike that of Petas. They live in constant thirst and hunger but the thirst is more prominent. A rebirth as an Asurakaya is caused by deeds of greed and covetousness.

4. The Animal Realm is the fourth and last plane of the Unfortunate realm. Animals suffer less than hell beings, Petas, and Asurakayas. They possess a body which parallels the ground, and are not capable of attaining Nibbana. They share the earth with human beings. They may have no feet. They may have two, four or more feet.


Life in Samsara is fraught with danger. Should we be born and raised in an environment that is not conducive to the performance of good deeds, we may make the mistake of committing indecent deeds. When we die, the strength of our bad Kamma will propel us to have a rebirth in the Unfortunate realm. Unfortunate realms are the planes of existence in the Hereafter, which are devoid of happiness and are full of horrifying pain and suffering from the terrible heat of the hellfire, and from the various forms of punishment.

The forms of punishment are innumerable and uniquely different depending on the hell being’s misdeeds. They cause the hell being to Undergo horrific pain and suffering. Individuals in life that have not bothered to perform any decent deed but habitually commit misdeeds, on their deathbed, the sights and sound of their misdeeds would appear to them for their private viewing. These moving images cause their minds to become gloomy and remorseful. After they die, they will journey to the Unfortunate realm as stated by the Lord Buddha in the ‘Palabundit Sutta’

The Sutta teaches how one’s misdeeds committed through one’s physical, verbal, and mental means propels one to journey into the Unfortunate realm. Moreover, there are four more states of unhappy existence as follows: The Unfortunate realms (the State of Loss and Woe) denote the planes of existence where their inhabitants have no opportunity to perform any good deed due to the uncivilized condition of their environment. They are places of condemnation where even the slightest happiness cannot be experienced but there is only suffering, hence un-conducive to the performance of any good deed.

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