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cause of birth of new humans - Dhamma Wheel

cause of birth of new humans

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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salty-J
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cause of birth of new humans

Postby salty-J » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:51 am

Buddhaghosa explains in his Visuddhimagga (Path of Purification):
Whosoever has no clear idea about death and does not know that death consists in the dissolution
of the five groups of existence (i.e. form, feeling, perception, mental formations, & consciousness),
he thinks that it is a person, or being, that dies and transmigrates to a new body in a new place.
And whosoever has no clear idea about rebirth, and does not know that rebirth consists in the
arising of the five groups of existence, he thinks that it is a person, or being, that is reborn, or
that the person reappears in a new body. And whosoever has no clear idea about Samsara, the
round of rebirths, he thinks that a real person wanders from this world to another world, comes
from that world to this world, etc. And whosoever has no clear idea about the phenomena of
existence, he thinks that the phenomena are his ego or something appertaining to the ego, or
something permanent, joyful, or pleasant. And whosoever has no clear idea about the conditional
arising of the phenomena of existence, and about the arising of kammic volitions conditioned
through ignorance, he thinks that it is the ego that understands or fails to understand, that acts
or causes to act, that enters into a new existence at rebirth. Or he thinks that the atoms or the
Creator, etc., with the help of the embryonic process, shape the body, provide it with various
faculties; that it is the ego that receives the sensuous impression, that feels, that desires, that
becomes attached, that enters into existence again in another world. Or he thinks that all beings
come to life through fate or chance. A mere phenomenon it is, a conditioned thing, that rises in the
following existence. But not from a previous life does it transmigrate there, and yet it cannot arise
without a previous cause. When this conditionally arisen bodily-mental phenomenon (the fetus) arises,
one says that it has entered into a next existence. However, no being (satta), or life-principle (jiva),
has transmigrated from the previous existence into this existence, and yet this embryo could not
have come into existence without a previous cause. Source: Visuddhimagga (Chap. XVII)
Why is the sperm fertilizing the egg not a sufficent set of causes and conditions? Why would there have to be kamma involved? Isn't the male and female creatures having sex all the cause necessary, due to the details of reality?
"It is what it is." -foreman infamous for throwing wrenches in fits of rage

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 5:31 am


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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:31 am

Because Buddhism is not a materialist system, it does not posit that physical causes alone are sufficient for a "living being". Rather, although the sperm and ovum provide the physical basis, what is required is the mental stream of another being (whose former physical body has recently "deceased"), in order to form a "living being". The connection between the mental stream and the particular father and mother, rather than being random, is one of karma. The "living being" who has just deceased has particular habits and forces, ie. their karmic force, and this directs them towards particular parents, whose condition and circumstances most closely reflect the objects of desire (karma) of that deceased being.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby cooran » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:38 am

Hello Salty-J, all,

Not only Buddhaghosa but, indeed, the Buddha said:
"Bhikkhus, the descent of the embryo takes place through the union of three things.
Here, there is the union of the mother and father, but the mother is not in season, and the gandhabba note 411 is not present - in this case no descent of an embryo takes place.
Here, there is the union of the mother and father, and the mother is in season, but the gandhabba is not present - in this case too no descent of the embryo takes place.
But when there is the union of the mother and father, and the mother is in season, and the gandhabba is present, through the union of these three things the descent of the embryo takes place."

Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta Majjhima Nikaya 38

Note 411: MA: The gandhabba is the being arriving there. It is not someone (i.e. a disembodied spirit) standing nearby watching the future parents having intercourse, but a being driven on by the mechanism of kamma, due to be reborn on that occasion.

The exact import of the word gandhabba in relation to the rebirth process is not explained in the Nikayas, and the word in this sense occurs only here and at 93.18.
Digha Nikaya 15/ii.63 speaks of consciousness as "descending into the mother's womb," this being a condition for rebirth to take place.

Thus we might identify the gandhabba here as the stream of consciousness, conceived more animistically as coming over from the previous exdistence and bringing along its total accumulation of kammic tendencies and personality traits. The fullest study of the concept of the gandhabba is Wijesekera, "Vedic Gandharva and Pali Gandhabba," in Buddhist and Vedic Studies, pp. 191-202.



Hope this helps.

with metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:42 am

And one may also wish to notice the proximity of the term in relation to the various terms for various stages of development of a newly conceived being, ie. embryo, fetus, etc. and the term for the womb itself, P: gabbha; S: garbha.
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Shonin » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:27 am


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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:31 am

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:49 am


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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:03 am

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Shonin » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:52 am


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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:04 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Paññāsikhara » Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:19 am

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby clw_uk » Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:38 am

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby m0rl0ck » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:28 pm

“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Shonin » Wed Jun 02, 2010 1:35 pm


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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby acinteyyo » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:44 pm

Thag 1.20. Ajita - I do not fear death; nor do I long for life. I’ll lay down this body, aware and mindful.

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Shonin » Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:41 pm


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cooran
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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby cooran » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:27 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Shonin
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:11 am

Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby Shonin » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:38 pm

Here's a little thought-experiment:

If (somehow) we entered a global age of enlightenment and people were ending the cycle of rebirth left, right and centre, so that the number of streams of kamma got smaller and smaller until there were only a handful left in the universe. What would happen if an egg and sperm met when there was no kamma available to meet it at that time? Would it be infertile? Surely all the physical factors are present? Or would it result in some sort of mindless automaton? Or what?

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Re: cause of birth of new humans

Postby PeterB » Wed Jun 02, 2010 7:48 pm



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