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by (1.5k points)
I was recently watching a video from a class about the abidhamma from Bikku Bodhi and he mentioned about the 3 "realms" (unsure if this is the correct term in theravada tradition) Desire/sense realm, form realm, formless realm.

Now from my original mahayana studies I was "told" from sutra that one can only reach nirvana via the desire realm and only as a human.

So my question is from the actual Buddhas teachings, in what realms can we and can we not reach liberation?

I suppose it goes go without saying that hell beings, ghosts and animals in the desire realm of samsara cannot find the mind states needed for liberation, but what about the gods (or demi gods if they are recognised in the theravada)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trailokya

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by (12.8k points)
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A being can attain enlightenment in the human world and above except for the Arupa(immaterial) Brahma realms and also the Asanna(mindless) Brahma realm.

Although it is said that human realm is the best to attain enlightenment because there is somewhat of a balance between pain and pleasure experienced by humans. It is also where all the Buddhas and the monks appear.
by (1.5k points)
Thanks for the reply.

I have heard this before about human beings being the best chance for liberation because we experience dukkha more vividly and for gods etc it is hard for them to experience manifest suffering, like physical pain.

Do you have any sutta sources at all?
by (12.8k points)
It's the balance that makes it a good place. If it's too much suffering one cannot attain enlightenment.  Not sure if there is a sutta reference.
by (1.5k points)
I actually found the answer to my question via bikkhu bodhi and the jhana sutta
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.123.than.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gadxPEAh_fc
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