The mechanism of gandhabba

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Element » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:20 pm

From SN 31.1:
At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, I will teach you about the devas (gods) of the gandhabba order. Listen to that...."

"And what, bhikkhus, are the devas of the gandhabba order? There are, bhikkhus, devas dwelling in the fragrant roots, devas dwelling in the fragrant heartwood, devas dwelling in the fragrant softwood, devas dwelling in fragrant leaves, devas dwelling in fragrant flowers, devas dwelling in fragrant fruits, devas dwelling in fragrant sap and devas dwelling in fragrant scents."

"These bhikkhus are called the devas of the gandhabba order."

Commentary by Bhikkhu Bodhi:
The gandhabbas are associated with fragrant substances, no doubt because the word is based on the stem gandha, meaning scent.

Image Image Image Jewel Akens - The Birds & The Bees Image
Last edited by Element on Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Element
 

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:20 pm

Element wrote:Regarding the Assalayatana Sutta, where is this from? I have never seen it and cannot locate it.


MN. 93
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
    Uruvela Sutta, A.ii.20

    It were endless to dispute upon everything that is disputable.
    — William Penn Some Fruits of Solitude,
User avatar
Dhammanando
 
Posts: 1363
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Element » Fri Jan 16, 2009 9:42 pm

From SN 31.13, Gandhabbasamyutta:
He has heard: 'The devas who dwell in fragrant roots are long-lived, beautiful and abound in happiness'. He thinks: 'Oh, with the breakup of the body, after death, may I be reborn in the company of the devas who dwell in fragrant roots!'

Image

He gives food, he gives drink, he gives clothing, he gives a vehicle, he gives a garland, he gives a fragrance, he gives an unguent (massage oil), he gives a bed, he gives a dwelling and he gives a lamp.

Image

Then, with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of the devas who dwell in fragrant roots.

Image
Element
 

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Element » Fri Jan 16, 2009 10:07 pm

Dhammanando wrote:MN. 93

Thank you.
[The Buddha] 'Do you good sirs, know, how the descent of an embryo comes about?’

‘Good sir, we know how the descent of an embryo comes about. Here, there is the union of the mother and father and the mother is in season and the gandhabba is present. Thus the descent of an embryo comes about through the union of these three things.'

‘Then good sirs, do you know, whether for sure whether that gandhabba is a noble or a brahmin or a merchant or a worker?'

‘Good one, we do not know for sure , whether whether that gandhabba is a noble or a brahmin or a merchant or a worker.’

‘That being so, sirs, then what are you?'

‘That being so sir, we do not know what we are.'

‘Assalaayana, the seven Brahmin sages, questioned, studied together and asked for reasons on their view about the purity of birth, could not explain. Here you, questioned by me, were studying together and I, asking for reasons about the purity of birth, you could not explain.'

MN 93 (Bhikkhu Bodhi)
Element
 

Re: past life recall

Postby gavesako » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:13 am

Will wrote:Bhante, do you recall if this person said if the deva birth followed immediately after the human one? Did he mention an interval between them? Were these natural memories or dreams or hypnotic regression? Was the person a Theravadin or even a Buddhist?


This person comes from a Muslim background. He had these recollections since he was very young and his parents did not know what he was talking about. They were simply memories of another life. He was not sure how long ago the first life was, but he thought it must have been somewhere in Asia because he was a small boy tending water buffaloes. If there was another life (lives) between that one and the deva life, he also was not sure.
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
User avatar
gavesako
 
Posts: 1416
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:16 pm
Location: England

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:31 am

Element wrote:
[The Buddha] 'Do you good sirs, know, how the descent of an embryo comes about?’

‘Good sir, we know how the descent of an embryo comes about. Here, there is the union of the mother and father and the mother is in season and the gandhabba is present. Thus the descent of an embryo comes about through the union of these three things.'

MN 93 (Bhikkhu Bodhi)


There is the union of mother and father, the mother is in season, meaning that she is ovulating. A viable egg drops from the ovary, is fertilized, and attaches to the uterine wall. Basic mammalian reproduction, folks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVG1hA9a ... re=related
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sat Jan 17, 2009 8:37 am

gavesako wrote:I have recently spoken to a man who can clearly remember two of his past lives. One was in the human realm, the other one in a deva realm where everyone has refined bodies and was radiating metta to others. Then at the end of that existence, he felt himself being pulled back into the human realm, and he recognized it was his attachment that was pulling him there: he could see many couples in sexual union at the moment, and he went towards one of them... which became his mother and father.


Buddha-Dhamma Buddhadasa Archives

[AS 498] Niddesa 10, #44

44. Genuine Pubbenivasanusattinyana or Recollection of Past Dwellings (not-eternalism)

Bhikkhus, any group of Samanas or Brahmins when recollecting pubbenivasa (previous dwellings), naturally recollect such previous dwellings in diverse numbers; in doing so,
all of those Samanas and Brahmins recollect the five upadana-khandhas or any one of the five upadana-khandhas. What are these five? The five are …

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect rupa (form) as "in the distant past we had a rupa like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect vedana (feeling) as "in the distant past we had vedana like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect sanya (recognition, perception) as "in the distant past we had sanya like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect sankhara (concocting, thinking, emotions) as "in the distant past we had sankhara like this."

Bhikkhus, when they recollect, they naturally recollect vinyana as "in the distant past we had a vinyana like this."


Bhikkhus, why do they speak of rupa? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally disintegrates (ruppati, vexed, oppressed), for this reason it is called "rupa." Why does it disintegrate? It disintegrates due to cold, due to heat, due to hunger, due to thirst, and due to the contacts of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and crawling animals. This nature naturally disintegrates, for this reason it is called "rupa."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of vedana? Bhikkhus, this nature is felt (vedayati), for this reason it is called "vedana." What does it feel? It feels pleasure, pain, and neither-pain-nor-pleasure. Bhikkhus, this nature feels, for this reason it is called "vedana."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of sanya? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally recognizes (sanjanati, perceives), for this reason it is called "sanya." What does it recognize? It recognizes green, yellow, red, and white. Bhikkhus, this nature naturally recognizes, for this reason it is called "sanya."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of sankhara? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things (abhisankharonti), for this reason it is called "sankhara." What does it concoct? It concocts rupa as something concocted with "formness," it concocts vedana as something concocted with "feelingness," it concocts sanya as something concocted with "recognition-ness," it concocts sankhara as something concocted with "concoctingness," it concocts vinyana as something concocted with "cognition-ness." Bhikkhus, this nature naturally concocts concocted things, for this reason it is called "sankhara."

Bhikkhus, why do they speak of vinyana? Bhikkhus, this nature naturally cognizes (vijanati), for this reason it is called "vinyana." What does it cognize? It cognizes sourness, bitterness, spiciness, sweetness, astringency, non-astringency, saltiness, and non-saltiness. Bhikkhus, this nature naturally cognizes, for this reason it is called "vinyana."

Bhikkhus, in these five khandha, the well trained noble disciple naturally investigates until seeing clearly that "Right now, I am devoured by rupa (form); even in the past, I was devoured by rupa, just as I am devoured by present rupa right now. If I indulge in future rupa, I will be devoured by rupa even in the distant future, just as I am devoured by present rupa right now." When this noble disciple investigates and clearly sees in this way, she doesn’t dwell on past rupa, doesn’t seek pleasure in future rupa, and practices for disenchantment with, the fading away of, and the quenching of present rupa.

(The Buddha then discussed vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana in exactly the same terms.)

Bhikkhus, how do you consider the following statements? Is rupa permanent or impermanent?

"Impermanent, Venerable Sir."

If something is impermanent, is it dukkha or sukha?

"It’s dukkha, Venerable Sir."

Something that is impermanent, dukkha, and naturally changes all the time, is it fitting to contemplate it as "this is mine," "this is me," or "this is my atta (self)"?

"One shouldn’t think that way, Venerable Sir."

(The Buddha then covered vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana in exactly the same terms.)

Bhikkhus, for these reasons in this matter, any rupa whether past, future, or present; whether internal or external, coarse or refined, crude or subtle, distant or near; all these rupa should be seen with right wisdom according to reality that "this isn’t mine, this isn’t me, this isn’t my self."

(The Buddha then covered vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana in exactly the same terms.)

Bhikkhus, we speak of this noble disciple as "she shrinks and doesn’t build up," as "she throws away and doesn’t cling," as "she scatters and doesn’t pile up," and as "she makes die out and doesn’t make flare up."

This noble disciple shrinks and doesn’t build up what? She shrinks and doesn’t build up rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

This noble disciple throws away and doesn’t cling to what? She throws away and doesn’t cling to rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

This noble disciple scatters and doesn’t pile up what? She scatters and doesn’t pile up rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

This noble disciple makes die out and doesn’t make flare up what? She makes die out and doesn’t make flare up rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana.

Bhikkhus, the well trained noble disciple when seeing in this way, is naturally disenchanted with rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana. When disenchanted, naturally becomes dispassionate. Because of this dispassion, he is liberated. When liberated, he naturally has the insight that liberation has occurred. This noble disciple clearly knows that "birth is ended, the brahmacariya is fulfilled, the duties to be done are completed, and no further duties for the sake of liberation remain."

Bhikkhus, we speak of this bhikkhu as "she doesn’t build up, doesn’t shrink, but having shrunk, dwells there"; as "she doesn’t cling, doesn’t throw away, but having thrown away, dwells there"; as "she doesn’t pile up, doesn’t scatter, but having scattered, dwells there"; and as "she doesn’t make flare up, doesn’t make die out, but having made die out, dwells there."

This noble disciple doesn’t build up, doesn’t shrink, but having shrunk what, dwells there? She doesn’t build up, doesn’t shrink, but having shrunk rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana, dwells there.

This noble disciple doesn’t cling to, doesn’t throw away, but having thrown away what, dwells there? She doesn’t cling to, doesn’t throw away, but having thrown away rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana, dwells there.

This noble doesn’t pile up, doesn’t scatter, but having scattered what, dwells there? She doesn’t pile up, doesn’t scatter, but having scattered rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana, dwells there.

This noble disciple doesn’t make flare up, doesn’t make die out, but having made what die out, dwells there? She doesn’t make flare up, doesn’t make die out, but having made rupa, vedana, sanya, sankhara, and vinyana die out, dwells there.

Bhikkhus, all the devas, together with Indra, Brahma, and Pajapati bow to the bhikkhu who is liberated in this way. Coming from afar they say:

Noble Thoroughbred, Supreme One, we bow in honor of you because there is no way that we can comprehend what you have realized dwelling therein."


[Tan Ajarn's comment: Students should note that this sense of pubbenivasanusattinyana isn’t in conflict with the Great Standards of the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (sutte osaretabbam vinaye sandassetabbam), and has none of the hints of sassataditthi (eternalism) that appear in the usual explanations of the Three Vijja. Please ponder this with especial care.]

http://www.suanmokkh.org/archive/as/n10-45.htm

User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Jechbi » Sat Jan 17, 2009 4:49 pm

Hi Stuka,
stuka wrote:
Element wrote:
[The Buddha] 'Do you good sirs, know, how the descent of an embryo comes about?’

‘Good sir, we know how the descent of an embryo comes about. Here, there is the union of the mother and father and the mother is in season and the gandhabba is present. Thus the descent of an embryo comes about through the union of these three things.'
There is the union of mother and father, the mother is in season, meaning that she is ovulating. A viable egg drops from the ovary, is fertilized, and attaches to the uterine wall. Basic mammalian reproduction, folks.

So are you saying that "gandhabba" is just another word for "viable egg"?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Individual » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:02 pm

Jechbi wrote:So are you saying that "gandhabba" is just another word for "viable egg"?

I hope not.

In AN 4.36, gandabbhas are said to be "in the sky". Neither sperm nor ovum are floating around in the air. In DN 20, of the Four Heavenly Kings, Dhatarattha, King of the East, is identified as "Chief of the Gandhabbas". This means king of the sperm\ovum? In DN 32, an army of various beings, including Gandabbas, surounded and protected the Buddha, and also saluted him. How was the Buddha surrounded by sperm\ovum, protected by it, and saluted by it? How did sperm\ovum sit down, speak to him, or announce their name and lineage? :lol:
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Element » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:37 pm

Individual wrote:
Jechbi wrote:So are you saying that "gandhabba" is just another word for "viable egg"?


At Savatthi. "Bhikkhus, I will teach you about the devas (gods) of the gandhabba order. Listen to that...."

"And what, bhikkhus, are the devas of the gandhabba order? There are, bhikkhus, devas dwelling in the fragrant roots, devas dwelling in the fragrant heartwood, devas dwelling in the fragrant softwood, devas dwelling in fragrant leaves, devas dwelling in fragrant flowers, devas dwelling in fragrant fruits, devas dwelling in fragrant sap and devas dwelling in fragrant scents."

"These bhikkhus are called the devas of the gandhabba order."
Element
 

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:37 am

Jechbi wrote:Hi Stuka,
stuka wrote:There is the union of mother and father, the mother is in season, meaning that she is ovulating. A viable egg drops from the ovary, is fertilized, and attaches to the uterine wall. Basic mammalian reproduction, folks.

So are you saying that "gandhabba" is just another word for "viable egg"?



I am saying that 2500 years ago they didn't have microscopes, scientific methods, modern medicine and research, etc., to be able to observe the process' and this gandhabba business represents the contemporary "best guess", or what we now call the "conventional wisdom", based upon the prevailing assumptions of the time. It is the same as those who attributed eclipses of the sun and moon to "God's wrath" before we as a species figured out that the world wasn't really flat and at the center of the universe.
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:41 am

Individual wrote:
Jechbi wrote:So are you saying that "gandhabba" is just another word for "viable egg"?

I hope not.

In AN 4.36, gandabbhas are said to be "in the sky". Neither sperm nor ovum are floating around in the air. In DN 20, of the Four Heavenly Kings, Dhatarattha, King of the East, is identified as "Chief of the Gandhabbas". This means king of the sperm\ovum? In DN 32, an army of various beings, including Gandabbas, surounded and protected the Buddha, and also saluted him. How was the Buddha surrounded by sperm\ovum, protected by it, and saluted by it? How did sperm\ovum sit down, speak to him, or announce their name and lineage? :lol:



Your response is based upon a Fallacy of Many Questions.
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jan 18, 2009 3:55 am

stuka wrote:
Jechbi wrote:Hi Stuka,
stuka wrote:There is the union of mother and father, the mother is in season, meaning that she is ovulating. A viable egg drops from the ovary, is fertilized, and attaches to the uterine wall. Basic mammalian reproduction, folks.

So are you saying that "gandhabba" is just another word for "viable egg"?
I am saying that 2500 years ago they didn't have microscopes, scientific methods, modern medicine and research, etc., to be able to observe the process' and this gandhabba business represents the contemporary "best guess", or what we now call the "conventional wisdom", based upon the prevailing assumptions of the time. It is the same as those who attributed eclipses of the sun and moon to "God's wrath" before we as a species figured out that the world wasn't really flat and at the center of the universe.

So gandhabba is just superstition then?
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:03 am

Greetings Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:So gandhabba is just superstition then?

My reading of what stuka says is that it's intended to represent the "remaining ingredient". Whether they believed they knew precisely what that "remaining ingredient" was and how it functioned is a different question.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14780
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:11 am

Sorry to be dense, but I'm not following. What is the "remaining ingredient"? I'm not familiar with that term, and I haven't seen it in this discussion until now, unless I missed it. Thanks.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:13 am

Jechbi wrote:
stuka wrote:
stuka wrote:There is the union of mother and father, the mother is in season, meaning that she is ovulating. A viable egg drops from the ovary, is fertilized, and attaches to the uterine wall. Basic mammalian reproduction, folks.



....



So gandhabba is just superstition then?


Did I say "just superstition"?
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:15 am

Hi Stuka,
stuka wrote:Did I say "just superstition"?

No, you didn't. But that's how I understood your meaning when I first read your post, so I'm trying to clarify. If I misunderstood, please have patience with me. Thanks.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:16 am

Greetings Jechbi,

The word 'gandhabba' refers to whatever else is required beyond the other two conditions of the woman being fertile, and the coming together of the woman and man. As has been pointed out previously, there's not a lot known about precisely what the term is referring to.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14780
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:30 am

Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:The word 'gandhabba' refers to whatever else is required beyond the other two conditions of the woman being fertile, and the coming together of the woman and man.
Ok, thanks, that's actually a somewhat more precise definition than I recall seeing earlier in this particular discussion. That means "gandhabba" is basically a fill-in-the-blank placeholder term refering to some not-described condition about which we can only speculate (or set aside as unfit for speculation). Or am I way off base here? I guess I was hoping there was something more with which to fill in the blank, but if not, that's cool.
retrofuturist wrote:As has been pointed out previously, there's not a lot known about precisely what the term is referring to.
Yes, I remember Element said something along those lines early on:
Element wrote:From my limited knowledge, I have gained the impression the gandhabba is a vague word found in a few places which scholars are not in agreement about.
But I had the impression that there may be other insights regarding gandhabba with which Element was not personally familiar. Maybe not.

Thanks,
:smile:
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.
User avatar
Jechbi
 
Posts: 1268
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:35 am

Greetings Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:Hi Retro,
retrofuturist wrote:The word 'gandhabba' refers to whatever else is required beyond the other two conditions of the woman being fertile, and the coming together of the woman and man.
Ok, thanks, that's actually a somewhat more precise definition than I recall seeing earlier in this particular discussion. That means "gandhabba" is basically a fill-in-the-blank placeholder term refering to some not-described condition about which we can only speculate (or set aside as unfit for speculation). Or am I way off base here? I guess I was hoping there was something more with which to fill in the blank, but if not, that's cool.

That seemed to be the thrust of Stuka's earlier post, as I read it.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14780
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 10 guests