Spontaneous generation?

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Spontaneous generation?

Postby Reductor » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:58 am

MN 12 wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.012.ntbb.html
33. "What is egg-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out of the shell of an egg; this is called egg-born generation. What is womb-born generation? There are these beings born by breaking out from the caul; this is called womb-born generation. What is moisture-born generation? There are these beings born in a rotten fish, in a rotten corpse, in rotten dough, in a cesspit, or in a sewer; this is called moisture-born generation. What is spontaneous generation? There are gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds; this is called spontaneous generation. These are the four kinds of generation.


Just curious if anyone has come across references like that above in the rest of the cannon. Sounds
a little spooky :lol: Forgive me if this is not the right forum for this. I am interested in this.

Thanks.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jan 02, 2010 6:34 am

Hi, Reductor,
I saw the title of your thread and thought of 'spontaneous generation' as understood in the West before the microscope was invented and Pasteur came along. In fact, that is much the same theory as this sutta's 'moisture-born generation': 'these beings born in a rotten fish, in a rotten corpse, in rotten dough, in a cesspit, or in a sewer; this is called moisture-born generation'.
In both cases, a rational-enough theory based on naked-eye observation but replaceable by a better one when better observing instruments were available.

But spontaneous generation of 'gods and denizens of hell and certain human beings and some beings in the lower worlds' is quite different, and new to me.

Kim
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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:21 am

The term Spontaneous Rebirth Opapātika) appears in many places in the Pāli Canon. There is no such weapon as the Pāli Cannon. :)

Belief in spontaneous rebirth is one of the ten elements of mundane right view, which is a stock phrase repeated many times in the Dīghanikāya.
  1. That giving alms is wholesome kamma.
  2. That making offerings is wholesome kamma.
  3. That giving even trifling gifts and presents is wholesome kamma.
  4. That there are definite and appropriate results from wholesome and unwholesome actions.
  5. That there is wholesome kamma in looking after one’s mother, and unwholesome kamma in treating her badly.
  6. That there is wholesome kamma in looking after one’s father, and unwholesome kamma in treating him badly.
  7. That there is this human world.
  8. That there are also other worlds such as the hell realms and the celestial worlds of devas and brahmās.
  9. That there are beings born spontaneously.
  10. That there are recluses and brahmins in the world with genuine attainments through right practice, who, having realized through direct knowledge the truth regarding this world and the other worlds, make it known to others.
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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby Reductor » Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:35 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The term Spontaneous Rebirth Opapātika) appears in many places in the Pāli Canon. There is no such weapon as the Pāli Cannon. :)

Belief in spontaneous rebirth is one of the ten elements of mundane right view, which is a stock phrase repeated many times in the Dīghanikāya.
  1. That there are beings born spontaneously.


I am most interested in the part about "certain human beings". The notion of spontaneous generation is familiar enough, but I became curious with reference to humans just a week or two ago. Any info on that, or instances in the cannon of humans who were generated this way?
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Jan 02, 2010 5:59 pm

thereductor wrote:I am most interested in the part about "certain human beings". The notion of spontaneous generation is familiar enough, but I became curious with reference to humans just a week or two ago.

I presume that this refers to human forms created by psychic powers, e.g. by Cūlapanthaka
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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby AdvaitaJ » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:36 pm

Thereductor,

I just checked my hardcopy for footnotes and there are none pertaining to this section. Much of the sutta is related to expounding what skills the Tathagata possesses that sets him apart but there is no clear connection to that argument in this section...at least as far as I can tell.

On my list of things to investigate is the question of the term rebirth being applied in a moment-to-moment context. I.e., we are all constantly being reborn from one moment of existence to the next. I recently listened to a talk where the speaker made the assertion that there is significantly more material in the canon for rebirth in this context than in the one-lifetime-to-the-next context. This presumes, of course, that "spontaneous generation" is synonymous with rebirth in this context.

Regards: AdvaitaJ
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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby Reductor » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:45 pm

AdvaitaJ wrote:Thereductor,

I just checked my hardcopy for footnotes and there are none pertaining to this section. Much of the sutta is related to expounding what skills the Tathagata possesses that sets him apart but there is no clear connection to that argument in this section...at least as far as I can tell.

On my list of things to investigate is the question of the term rebirth being applied in a moment-to-moment context. I.e., we are all constantly being reborn from one moment of existence to the next. I recently listened to a talk where the speaker made the assertion that there is significantly more material in the canon for rebirth in this context than in the one-lifetime-to-the-next context. This presumes, of course, that "spontaneous generation" is synonymous with rebirth in this context.

Regards: AdvaitaJ


I haven't paid much attention to that debate. Are people positing that one view is right to the exclusion of the other? ie, rebirth teachings are about moment-to-moment and not life-to-life.

It seems to me that the two are not mutually exclusive.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby Reductor » Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:50 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
thereductor wrote:I am most interested in the part about "certain human beings". The notion of spontaneous generation is familiar enough, but I became curious with reference to humans just a week or two ago.

I presume that this refers to human forms created by psychic powers, e.g. by Cūlapanthaka


Thanks for that story. Perhaps that is the meaning.
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72

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Re: Spontaneous generation?

Postby pt1 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:44 am

thereductor wrote:I am most interested in the part about "certain human beings". The notion of spontaneous generation is familiar enough, but I became curious with reference to humans just a week or two ago. Any info on that, or instances in the cannon of humans who were generated this way?

Hi, I vaguely recall reading somewhere that spontaneous generation refers to humans only at certain times in an eon - there are times when human lifespan is a lot longer (like several hundred thousand years) and at some of these times it's possible. Sorry I can't remember the actual source or the exact details.

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