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Akaniṭṭhā devā

A class of devas, living in the highest of the five Suddhāvasā (Pure Abodes).¹

In the Mahāpadāna Sutta² the Buddha mentions that he visited their abode and conversed with beings who were born there as a result of the holy lives they had lived under various Buddhas.

In the Sakkapañha Sutta ³ Sakka speaks of them as the highest devas, and expresses his satisfaction that he, too, will be born among them in his last life.

Buddhaghosa says they are so called because of their supremacy in virtue and in happiness, and because there are no juniors among them (sabbeh’eva saguṇehi ca bhavasampattiyā ca Jeṭṭha n’atth’ettha kaniṭṭhāti akaniṭṭhā).⁴

In the Visuddhimagga (p.634) their world is spoken of as a Brahma loka where Non-returners (anāgāmī) are born and enter complete nibbāna (p. 710).⁵ The duration of life among these devas is 16,000 world-cycles.⁶ Sometimes Non-returners are born among the Avihā devas and finish their existence, in a subsequent birth, among the Akaniṭṭhās. These are called “Uddhaṃsotā”.

The Akaniṭṭha-bhavana is the upper limit of the rūpvacara-bhūmi;⁸ it is also spoken of as the highest point of the universe, Avīci being the lowest. Thus the quarrel among the Kosambī monks spread even up to the Akaniṭṭhā devā,⁹ as did the shouts of the assembly at the severing of the branch of the Bodhi tree.¹⁰

¹ D.iii.237. ² D.ii.52 f. ³ D.ii.286.

⁴ DA.ii.480. VbhA.521; āyunā ca paññaya ca Akaniṭṭhā Jeṭṭhakā sabba-devehi paṇītatarā devā (DA.iii.739).

⁵ Also ItA.40; DA.iii.740. ⁶ Kvu.207. ⁷ DhA.iii.289 f; see also S.v.201.

⁸ Ps.i.84. ⁹ J.iii.487. ¹⁰ Mbv. 150‑1; see also Mil. 284.

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