world of heavenly beings ［天界］ ( ten-kai): Also, world of heaven, world of rapture, or realm of heavenly beings. The sixth of the Ten Worlds and the highest of the six paths. When viewed as a state of life, the world of heavenly beings is a condition of joy achieved upon the fulfillment of desire or release from suffering. According to the Buddhist scriptures, the world of heavenly beings has twenty-eight subdivisions in the threefold world: six heavens in the world of desire, eighteen (some sources say sixteen or seventeen) in the world of form, and four in the world of formlessness. From a philosophical standpoint, these divisions of the threefold world can be said to represent various kinds of joy. The world of desire symbolizes the desire for existence, instinctive desires, materialistic desires, social desires, etc. When such desires are satisfied, one feels the joy of the world of desire. The joy of the world of form and the joy of the world of formlessness may be equated with the satisfaction of higher desires such as intellectual, artistic, and spiritual desires. Any of the joys of the world of heavenly beings, however, are transient and vulnerable to external circumstances. While those in the world of heaven regard such joys as the ultimate, those in the worlds of the two vehicles (voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones) do not regard even the joy of the world of formlessness as the ultimate but as a process to emancipation.