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Triloka (P. tiloka; T. 'jig rten gsum; C. sanjie) is commonly translated as the "three realms" or "three worlds." According to Buswell, this term can refer to either:[1]

Alternate Sanskrit names for the three realms

There are different names for each of the three realms within Buddhst texts.

When referred to as triloka, the three realms are called:

  • kāmaloka (desire realm)
  • rūpaloka (form realm)
  • arūpaloka (formless realm)

When referred to as traidhātuka, tridhātu, etc., the three realms are called:

  • kāmadhātu (desire realm)
  • rūpadhātu (form realm)
  • arūpadhātu (formless realm)

Alternate English translations for triloka

Triloka has been translated as:

  • "three worlds,"[2][3][4]
  • "three spheres,"[4]
  • "three planes of existence,"[5]
  • "three realms"[5] and
  • "three regions."[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. triloka[dhātu].
  2. Monier-Williams (1899), p. 460, col. 1, entry for "[Tri-]loka" (retrieved at and p. 462, col. 2, entry for "Trailoya" (retrieved at
  3. Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 301, entry for "Ti-" (retrieved at Here, tiloka is compared with tebhūmaka ("three planes").
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fischer-Schreiber et al. (1991), p. 230, entry for "Triloka." Here, synonyms for triloka include trailokya and traidhātuka.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Berzin (2008) renders khams-gsum (Wylie; Tibetan) and tridhatu (Sanskrit) as "three planes of existence" and states that it is "[s]ometimes called 'the three realms.'" Tridhatu is a synonym of triloka where dhatu may be rendered as "dimension" or "realm" and loka as "world" or even "planet."


  • Fischer-Schreiber, Ingrid, Franz-Karl Ehrhard, Michael S. Diener and Michael H. Kohn (trans.) (1991). The Shambhala Dictionary of Buddhism and Zen. Boston: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 0-87773-520-4.

External links