The mechanism of gandhabba

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:48 am

Hi Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote: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.


In conventional truth a gandhabba is a being who has just passed away with ignorance and craving unextinguished, and who is propelled by kamma to the ovum as it's being fertilized. In ultimate/abhidhammic truth the gandhabba is the relinking consciousness that constitutes a new citta-santati in the citta-santāna, and which is conditioned by the death consciousnes of the previous citta-santati.

Citta-santāna = mental continuum stretching back into an unlimited past and forward into an unlimited future unless stopped by Nibbāna.

Citta-santati = the mental continuum of a single life-time.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Jechbi » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:25 am

Thank you, Bhante, for this clear elucidation. :namaste:

This seems to align with the way in which Bikkhu Bodhi uses the term "gandhabba" as referenced in the OP, namely, as relinking consciousness. And I believe you get right to the heart of the matter by highlighting both the conventional use of the term as well as the ultimate use. It's so easy (for me any way) to blend the two together and arrive at an imprecise understanding.

With regard to the conventional truth, if gandhabba is a being, then does that constitute an intermediate state? And would that introduce the notion of a mechanism to help arrive at a conventional understanding of how gandhabba can accomplish contact with the embryo from vast distances away? Or would this be going down the road of speculation?

Metta
: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 stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:53 am

Dhammanando wrote: In ultimate/abhidhammic truth


Good thing you qualified that as "abhidhammic", Bhante. Alayavinnana was Asangha's eisegeisis, in something like 4 BCE, according to Walpola Rahula, no...?

In the Yogacara (Vijnanavada) School of Buddhism, alayavijnana is one of the most important doctrines developed by Asanga (fourth century A.C.).

http://mail.saigon.com/~anson/ebud/ebdha195.htm



The Buddha did not teach patisandhivinnana either, did he...?
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 8:03 am

The Buddha, Maha Tanhasankaya Sutta, MN 38, wrote:"Foolish man, to whom do you know me having taught the Dhamma like this. Haven’t I taught, in various ways that consciousness is dependently arisen. Without a cause, there is no arising of consciousness. Yet you, foolish man, on account of your wrong view, you misrepresent me, as well as destroy yourself and accumulate much demerit, for which you will suffer for a long time."

...

In various ways I have taught that consciousness arises dependently. Without a cause, there is no arising of consciousness. Yet, this bhikkhu Sati, son of a fisherman, by holding to this wrong view, misrepresents us and destroys himself and accumulates much demerit, and it will be for his suffering for a long time.

"Bhikkhus, consciousness is reckoned by the condition dependent upon which it arises. If consciousness arises on account of eye and forms, it is reckoned as eye consciousness. If on account of ear and sounds it arises, it is reckoned as ear consciousness. If on account of nose and smells it arises, it is reckoned as nose consciousness. If on account of tongue and tastes it arises, it is reckoned as tongue consciousness. If on account of body and touch it arises, it is reckoned as body consciousness. If on account of mind and mind-objects it arises, it is reckoned as mind consciousness. Bhikkhus, just as a fire is reckoned based on whatever that fire burns - fire ablaze on sticks is a stick fire, fire ablaze on twigs is a twig fire, fire ablaze on grass is a grass fire, fire ablaze on cowdung is a cowdung fire, fire ablaze on grain thrash is a grain thrash fire, fire ablaze on rubbish is a rubbish fire - so too is consciousness reckoned by the condition dependent upon which it arises. In the same manner consciousness arisen on account of eye and forms is eye consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of ear and sounds is ear consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of nose and smells is nose consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of tongue and tastes is taste consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of body and touch is body consciousness. Consciousness arisen on account of mind and mind-objects is mind consciousness.

"Bhikkhus, do you see, This has arisen?" "Yes, venerable sir". "Do you see it arises supported by That?" "Yes, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, Do you see if the support ceases, the arising too ceases?" "Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, when you are not sure whether something has arisen do doubts arise?" "Yes, venerable sir." "When you are not sure why something has arisen, do doubts arise?" "Yes, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, when you are not sure that with ceasing of a certain support, that the arisen too would cease, do doubts arise?" "Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, do your doubts fade when you see with right wisdom, that something has arisen?" "Yes, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, do your doubts fade when you see with right wisdom, that something arises with a support?" "Yes, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, do your doubts fade when you sees with right wisdom that with the cessation of its supports, the arisen also ceases?" "Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, This has arisen - are your doubts dispelled about that?" "Yes, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, This has arisen with That as support - are your doubts dispelled about that?" "Yes, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, when that support ceases, the arising too ceases - are your doubts dispelled about that?" "Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkhus, do you clearly see, as it really is, with right wisdom, this is arising?." "Yes,venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, do you clearly see, with right wisdom, that this arises supported?" "Yes, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, do you clearly see, with right wisdom, that when the support ceases the arising too ceases?" "Yes, venerable sir."

"Bhikkkhus, as purified and bright as this view is, if you covet, cherish, treasure and take pride in it, do you understand this Dhamma as comparable to a raft, taught for the purpose of giving up [i.e. crossing over] and not for the purpose of grasping?" "No, venerable sir." "Bhikkhus, as purified and bright as this view is, if you do not covet, cherish, treasure and take pride in it, would you then know this Dhamma as comparable to a raft, taught for the purpose of giving up [i.e. crossing over] and not for the purpose of grasping?" "Yes, venerable sir."


[Edited out excessively large font sizes. For the second time, Stuka, please refrain from this. It is discourteous to readers. There is nobody here who's so stupid that he'll miss your point if you don't use the font size of a nursery school reading primer. – Dhammanando]
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:08 am

Hi Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:With regard to the conventional truth, if gandhabba is a being, then does that constitute an intermediate state?



No. In non-Theravadin schools that teach an intermediate state, the gandhabba will be conceived as a subtle being — a sort of spook that waits about or floats about or creeps about for days or weeks, remaining in a limbo until it can meet with an opportunity to be reborn (e.g., an encounter with a copulating couple). But the Theravada rejected the idea of an intermediate state at the Council of Patali. In Theravadin accounts of rebirth, no matter whether we describe the gandhabba according to conventional or ultimate truth, either way we're talking about something that exists for only a brief moment.

And would that introduce the notion of a mechanism to help arrive at a conventional understanding of how gandhabba can accomplish contact with the embryo from vast distances away?


The distance between the deceased being and the reborn one is simply not viewed as something that needs accounting for. Both the death consciousness and the relinking one are wholly immaterial and have wholly immaterial causes and so there's nothing travelling through space from one place to another. From the Milindapañha:

    The King said: “Revered Nāgasena, if one person died here and was reborn in the Brahma-world, and if another person died here and was reborn in Kashmir, which of them would be the shorter, which the longer, in getting reborn?”
    “They would be equal, sire.”
    “Make a simile.”
    Where is the town, sire, where you were born?”
    “There is a village called Kalasi, revered sir. I was born there.”
    “How far, sire, is the village of Kalasi from here?”
    “The distance is two hundred leagues, revered sir.”
    “How far is Kashmir from here, sire?”
    “Twelve leagues, revered sir.”
    “Please now, sire, think of the village of Kalasi.”
    “I have thought of it, revered sir.”
    “Now sire, please think of Kashmir.”
    “I have thought of it, revered sir.”
    “Now, which thought was the shorter, sire, which the longer?”
    “They were equal, revered sir.”
    “Even so, sire, he who has died here and uprisen in the Brahma-world and he who has died here and uprisen in Kashmir arise exactly simultaneously.”

Or would this be going down the road of speculation?


I would say that conventional speech is not really adequate for describing the mechanism of rebirth, beyond the bare suttaic account of mum, dad and gandhabba. For more detail than that we need to frame the question and answer in abhidhammic terms. So rather than, "How did the late Jones of Shropshire end up as a guppy in a Glasgow aquarium?" the question would be "What conditions were required for the death consciousness that terminated the former santati to generate the relinking consciousness and the first material octad of the new santati?"

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:20 am

Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:Good thing you qualified that as "abhidhammic", Bhante. Alayavinnana was Asangha's eisegeisis, in something like 4 BCE, according to Walpola Rahula, no...?


The Yogācārin conception of the ālayavijñāna is of no relevance to this thread or this forum.

The Buddha did not teach patisandhivinnana either, did he...?


In the commentarial understanding it is to this that the term 'gandhabba' refers. You may or may not agree with that, but inasmuch as it is the ancient understanding of the Theravada school, it surely is as deserving of a mention as your conjecture about egg-drops.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 10:36 am

Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:"The Buddha, Maha Tanhasankaya Sutta, MN 38,"]


As there is nothing about the gandhabba in this sutta passage it would be helpful if you could add some words of your own to clarify its relevance to the thread.

In the meantime, my best guess is that you wish to reiterate your view that the classical Theravada teaching on rebirth falls into the same error as Sāti. But no amount of reiterating it will make it so. I did in fact address the claim a few days ago, but to refresh your memory:

Sāti’s view:

    tadevidaṃ viññāṇaṃ sandhāvati saṃsarati anaññaṃ

    “It is this very same consciousness that continues and wanders on, not another.”

Classical Theravāda:

  • This present consciousness is dependently arisen, and so is the one after it, and so is the one after that...etc. etc.
  • There is no single consciousness that persists through time, but rather, each consciousness is discreet and to be reckoned in accordance with the sense-base and sense-object upon which it depends (“just as fire is reckoned by the particular condition dependent on which it burns – when fire bums dependent on logs, it is reckoned as a log fire...etc.”).
  • There is, however, a continuity of consciousnesses (in the present life at least, this is evident, for how else could any sense of personal identity be sustained?).
  • For beings who die with ignorance and craving still intact, the continuity of consciousnesses will outlast the present body.

Sāti’s view:

    katamaṃ taṃ, sāti, viññāṇan ti?

    yvāyaṃ, bhante, vado vedeyyo tatra tatra kalyāṇapāpakānaṃ kammānaṃ vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvedetī ti.

    “What is this consciousness, Sāti?”

    “It is this, bhante, that speaks, that feels, that experiences now here, now there, the ripening of kammas that are virtuous or vicious.”

So, in Sāti's view not only does a single consciousness persist, but while persisting it also performs diverse functions. It speaks and it feels; it experiences both pleasures (the ripening of virtuous kammas) and pains (the ripening of vicious ones).

Classical Theravāda:

  • An arisen eye-consciousness performs the function of seeing, an arisen ear-consciousness the function of hearing etc. No consciousness performs more than one function, and (as mentioned already) each consciousness is discreet and different from those that came before it and those which come after.
  • No single consciousness can experience both pleasure and pain.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:00 am

Dhammanando wrote: Edited out excessively large font sizes. For the second time, Stuka, please refrain from this. It is discourteous to readers.


Bhante, If you think that this font is somehow excessively large -- which it is not even close on the the monitor I am using here , as I previously told you -- then you might consider either scaling down the range of available font sizes, or personally acquiring something with a larger screen size than a Commode 64.

You admit that you are not exactly an internet power user. You might want to make sure you know what you are talking about before you start blindly shooting from the hip.

Dhammanando wrote:There is nobody here who's so stupid that he'll miss your point if you don't use the font size of a nursery school reading primer. – Dhammanando]


You might think so, but that assertion remains perhaps yet to be seen. It seems that your anger is getting the best of you, Bhante.
Last edited by stuka on Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:19 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:15 am

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:Good thing you qualified that as "abhidhammic", Bhante. Alayavinnana was Asangha's eisegeisis, in something like 4 BCE, according to Walpola Rahula, no...?


The Yogācārin conception of the ālayavijñāna is of no relevance to this thread or this forum.


Of course it is, given its side-by-side relationship to the equally conjectural notion of "re-linking consciousness".

The Buddha did not teach patisandhivinnana either, did he...?


In the commentarial understanding it is to this that the term 'gandhabba' refers. You may or may not agree with that, but inasmuch as it is the ancient understanding of the Theravada school, it surely is as deserving of a mention as your conjecture about egg-drops.


I did not ask what the commentators conjectured, Bhante, I asked you what the Buddha taught. Would you kindly teach a devoted follower of the Buddha, if you are at all able, what the Buddha actually taught, please?

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


Forgive me, Bhante, but let us please not be false with each other. Somehow I do not perceive that you have my best wishes in mind.
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:39 am

Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:
Dhammanando wrote: Edited out excessively large font sizes. For the second time, Stuka, please refrain from this. It is discourteous to readers.


Bhante, If you think that this font is somehow excessively large -- which it is not even close on the the monitor I am using here , as I previously told you -- then you might consider either scaling down the range of available font sizes, or personally acquiring something with a larger screen size than a Commode 64.


You were using 150-size font to emphasize words in the body of the text. There is no need for this: emphasis may be indicated by means of bold, italic, underlined or coloured text. Larger font sizes should be reserved for headings.

Dhammanando wrote:There is nobody here who's so stupid that he'll miss your point if you don't use the font size of a nursery school reading primer. – Dhammanando]


You might think so, but that assertion remains perhaps yet to be seen.


It does not "remain to be seen." In polite circles it is something that must be assumed, as a necessary condition for mutually respectful communication.

Well, that's enough on this subject here. If you would like to discuss the matter further kindly do so in the Suggestions Forum or by pm.

:focus:

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:58 am

Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:Good thing you qualified that as "abhidhammic", Bhante. Alayavinnana was Asangha's eisegeisis, in something like 4 BCE, according to Walpola Rahula, no...?


The Yogācārin conception of the ālayavijñāna is of no relevance to this thread or this forum.


Of course it is, given its side-by-side relationship to the equally conjectural notion of "re-linking consciousness".


Even if the paṭisandhi-viññāṇa were a conjectural notion (which I don't concede) it still wouldn't justify muddying the discussion by introducing extra-Theravadin ideas that were not asked about in the OP. If the ālayavijñāna interests you, by all means start a new thread on it.

I did not ask what the commentators conjectured, Bhante, I asked you what the Buddha taught. Would you kindly teach a devoted follower of the Buddha, if you are at all able, what the Buddha actually taught, please?


There's a diversity of competing claims as to what the Buddha actually taught, i.e., as to which sources may be treated as trustworthy. So naturally each poster will write according to which of these claims s/he finds most compelling. In my case it means taking the entire Pali Tipitaka as authoritative and the Atthakathā as generally reliable. As my position in this regard is fairly well known to most readers I don't need to spell it out in every post.

Forgive me, Bhante, but let us please not be false with each other. Somehow I do not perceive that you have my best wishes in mind.


You'd be surprised. But you'll have to develop the four jhānas and cetopariyaya-ñāṇa first.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby stuka » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:26 pm

Dhammanando wrote:Hi Stuka,

stuka wrote:
Dhammanando wrote: Edited out excessively large font sizes. For the second time, Stuka, please refrain from this. It is discourteous to readers.


Bhante, If you think that this font is somehow excessively large -- which it is not even close on the the monitor I am using here , as I previously told you -- then you might consider either scaling down the range of available font sizes, or personally acquiring something with a larger screen size than a Commode 64.


You were using 150-size font to emphasize words in the body of the text. There is no need for this: emphasis may be indicated by means of bold, italic, underlined or coloured text. Larger font sizes should be reserved for headings.


Bhante,

150-size what? 150 microns, millimeters, points, picas, inches, kilometers, miles, light-years...?

Lets please gather up a sense of perspective here?





Dhammanando wrote:
stuka wrote:
Dhammanando wrote:There is nobody here who's so stupid that he'll miss your point if you don't use the font size of a nursery school reading primer. – Dhammanando]


You might think so, but that assertion remains perhaps yet to be seen.


It does not "remain to be seen." In polite circles it is something that must be assumed, as a necessary condition for mutually respectful communication.

Well, that's enough on this subject here. If you would like to discuss the matter further kindly do so in the Suggestions Forum or by pm.

:focus:

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu


That might indeed be the case, in "polite circles". Unfortunately, it is yet to be shown, whether we are truly in polite company or not.
User avatar
stuka
 
Posts: 171
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:37 am

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Individual » Sun Jan 18, 2009 5:31 pm

stuka wrote:Bhante,

150-size what? 150 microns, millimeters, points, picas, inches, kilometers, miles, light-years...?

Lets please gather up a sense of perspective here?

I don't see the relevance of having to convert this into a bunch of different measurements. The box says "large". This is above "normal" but smaller than "huge".

stuka wrote:That might indeed be the case, in "polite circles". Unfortunately, it is yet to be shown, whether we are truly in polite company or not.

If you are skeptical of the good intentions of the people here and don't trust that this is polite company, you are free to leave, Stuka. :)

Dhammapada 5

If, as the disciple fares along, he meets no companion who is better or equal, let him firmly pursue his solitary career. There is no fellowship with the foolish.
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 Jechbi » Sun Jan 18, 2009 6:59 pm

Dear Bhante,
Thank you so much for your response. It's so obvious, but sometimes I just need to hear it straight and simple from someone who knows. I regard my main question as fully answered. :namaste:

One follow-up to this:
Dhammanando wrote:... either way we're talking about something that exists for only a brief moment.

If gandhabba exists for only a brief moment, why is it not regarded as an intermediate state (albeit a very short-lived one)? Is it because of the absense of some aggregates?

Metta
: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 Individual » Sun Jan 18, 2009 7:03 pm

Jechbi wrote:If gandhabba exists for only a brief moment, why is it not regarded as an intermediate state (albeit a very short-lived one)? Is it because of the absense of some aggregates?

I had this same question and sent it to Dhammanando by PM, still awaiting his reply.

I think it could be regarded as an intermediate state, but Theravadins and most Mahayana Buddhists don't regard it that way (just Tibetan Buddhists with their "bardos"), for whatever reason. Even if it is regarded this way, it's simply "reification," a means of explaining the immaterial in terms of material descriptions, yet while being fully clear that it isn't describing anything tangible, physical, or material.

If it's "immaterial," it wouldn't be the absence of all aggregates, just the material ones. It's not clear to me why a deva moving about is reified, but the gandabbha state is not. In the suttas at least, the gandabbha is occasionally reified as an actual being, like a deva, floating around, talking, acting, etc.. Why not also reify the gandhabba's perceived environment, as an intermediary state between life and death?
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 » Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:01 pm

stuka wrote:Forgive me, Bhante, but let us please not be false with each other. Somehow I do not perceive that you have my best wishes in mind.


Forgive me, Stuka, but you talk as one who already 'knows'. Thus, regardless of another's best wishes, it appears another could not help you anyway. You sound like one of unshakeable faith. :lol:
Element
 

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:21 am

Hi Jechbi,

Jechbi wrote:If gandhabba exists for only a brief moment, why is it not regarded as an intermediate state (albeit a very short-lived one)?


Because it is not a state in between the new life and the old one. Rather, it is what constitutes the first point of the new life.

Is it because of the absense of some aggregates?


No. In fact in the schools that teach the intermediate state, the being in this state is said to have all the aggregates. According to Vasubandhu, if he's destined for the Brahma world he'll even have a nice set of karmically generated clothes to wear.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Jechbi » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:46 am

Thank you, Bhante. :namaste:
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 kc2dpt » Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:26 am

Dhammanando wrote:In non-Theravadin schools that teach an intermediate state, the gandhabba will be conceived as a subtle being — a sort of spook that waits about or floats about or creeps about for days or weeks, remaining in a limbo until it can meet with an opportunity to be reborn (e.g., an encounter with a copulating couple).


I find it interesting how this is often consistent with many past-life memories that include the rebirth.

But the Theravada rejected the idea of an intermediate state at the Council of Patali.


Is there a brief way to sum up the rejection? Or alternatively, is there somewhere I can read about it? I'm curious.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.
User avatar
kc2dpt
 
Posts: 956
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: The mechanism of gandhabba

Postby Dhammanando » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:15 am

Hi Peter,

Peter wrote:I find it interesting how this is often consistent with many past-life memories that include the rebirth.


Yes, that's true, but it could be that what is being recalled is just a brief life as a peta. Burmese meditation masters who claim to have recalled former lives describe the rebirth as having happened in an instant. Personally I tend to trust their accounts more than those of most other claimants to this power.

Is there a brief way to sum up the rejection? Or alternatively, is there somewhere I can read about it? I'm curious.


You can read the full debate in Points of Controversy, B.C. Law's translation of the Kathavatthu. It's not the most enthralling of the debates in this text. Most of the refutations have the Theravadin presenting the heretic with sets of categories that are treated in the suttas as all-encompassing (e.g. the three states of becoming, seven stations of consciousness, five destinations etc.) and then demanding of him: "So which of these is your supposed intermediate state?" The heretic replies that it's none of them, but something else all together. By doing so, in effect, he admits that he's just made something up that the Suttas don't support.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
    ...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: 1265
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Wat Pa Mieng Khun Pang, Chiang Mai

PreviousNext

Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

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