1. Religion & Spirituality

The Wheel of Life: The Realm of Asuras

Jealous Gods and Paranoia

By

The Asura (Jealous God) Realm is marked by paranoia.
Realm of Asuras

The Realm of Asuras, also called Jealous Gods or Titans.

MarenYumi / Flickr, Creative Commons License

Asuras are hyper-competitive and paranoid. They are driven by a desire to beat their competition, and everyone is competition. They have power and resources and sometimes accomplish good things with them. But, always, their first priority is getting to the top. I think of powerful politicians or corporate leaders when I think of Asuras.

Chih-i (538-597), a patriarch of the T'ien-t'ai school, described the Asura this way: "Always desiring to be superior to others, having no patience for inferiors and belittling strangers; like a hawk, flying high above and looking down on others, and yet outwardly displaying justice, worship, wisdom, and faith -- this is raising up the lowest order of good and walking the way of the Asuras."

Asuras, who are also called "anti-gods," are perpetually at war with the Devas of the God Realm. Auras think they belong in the God Realm and fight to get in, although here it seems the Asuras have formed a line of defense and are fighting the attacking Devas with bows and arrows. Some depictions of the Wheel of Life combine the Asura and God realms into one.

Sometimes there is a beautiful tree growing between the two realms, with its roots and trunk in the Asura Realm. But its branches and fruit are in the God Realm.

  1. About.com
  2. Religion & Spirituality
  3. Buddhism

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.