The Gandhabba Between Lives

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The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by LauraJ on Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:28 am

In Theravada there is some evidence to support the idea of a between-lives state with the "gandhabba" being described as a subtle body. The link provided below gives greater detail, and will take you to a book called "The Selfless Mind-Personality, Consciousness, and Nirvana In Early Buddhism."

The Life Principle and the Between-Lives State

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Re: The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by sherab zangpo on Sat Jan 31, 2009 2:32 am

Gabbhassâvakkanti ( a being to be born ).
To be born would imply some period of waiting no?

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Re: The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by LauraJ on Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:20 am

From what I've read at the link I posted, the following are some qualities of this "spirit:"

Gandhabba has a subtle body that moves through the air
Eats odors (such as scent of leaves and trees)
It rests for a week on a broken tree branch before entering womb

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Re: The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by Karma Dondrup Tashi on Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:02 pm

I heard somewhere in TB hungry ghosts also eat smells. Connection?

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Re: The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by LauraJ on Fri Mar 06, 2009 3:09 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:I heard somewhere in TB hungry ghosts also eat smells. Connection?

I have never heard that before; it's very interesting. I'd like to learn much more about the beings that inhabit the six realms.

:namaste:

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Re: The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by clw_uk on Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:37 am

Greetings

I would like to address this from two perspectives

The Classical Theravada view , as you know does deny any kind of "bardo" in relation to the teaching of post-mortem rebirth. In relation to the term "Gandhabba", the commentaries state that it simply means the state of mind just before the rebirth-linking (this is paraphrased)

However there is a modern perspective that takes the term as just meaning sperm (i think Ajahn Buddhadasa took this view)

There is another Sutta in the Canon that states there is some kind of "state of seeking birth" which i feel is similar to the issues being discussed here

I dont know the Classical View of this sutta but the modern one (expounded by Ajahn Buddhadasa) is this

State of Seeking Birth” in Everyday Language and the Dhamma Language
The difference of the Dhamma language and everyday language can also be found in interpreting the “state of seeking birth” (sambhavesi). In performing the Buddhist rite for dedication, we recite a portion of the sutta for dedication: “to grant all sentient beings - those that have been born or in the state of seeking birth - happiness.” This refers to two kinds of sentient beings: one that has already been born (bhuta), and one that is seeking birth. This is the interpretation of ordinary people in Thailand and other countries. The sentient beings that have been born are living now, like you and me. As for those who are still in the “state of seeking birth,” there is a consciousness that is without a physical shell moving around seeking birth. This is an interpretation entirely in everyday language, and not according to the Buddha Dhamma.
Buddhism does not advocate a consciousness or entity that moves around seeking birth [or rebirth, as is usually believed]; it is a belief held by people who embrace the concept of a continuing existence. In Buddhism, consciousness emerges and expires in an instant according to the law of dependent arising. This is my opinion, Buddhism's “state of seeking birth” is interpreted in the Dhamma language; it is different from that of everyday language. Buddhism’s “state of seeking birth” refers to a state that, in the case of ordinary people, is still without vexation; a state where there is still the absence of Craving, Clinging, or holding on to self.
It is normal for Craving, Clinging, and the holding on to ego and ego possessiveness to exist in everyday life, but they are inactive most of the times. For instance, those of you sitting there listening are without the ego because you do not crave or cling to anything. You do not have the illusion of an ego. You are just sitting there, listening naturally, and you are in a normal and blank state. When strong Craving and Clinging emerge, however, intense suffering follows. Ordinary people thus live in two states: where one is “born” because there is Craving, Clinging, and a suffering self, and where one is in a “state of seeking birth.” They are the objects of the Buddhist rite for dedication: those that are “born” and foolish and those that are in a “state of seeking birth” and oblivious of what is happening.
The “state of seeking birth” awaits the birth of the ego and ego possessiveness. It is a sorry state because the ego and ego possessiveness are ready to emerge at any time. When one loses Right Mindfulness, and the ego and ego possessiveness develop out of contact between Ignorance and the surrounding, there is “birth.” This “birth” of the ego and ego possessiveness, caused by greed or anger, is, however, short lived. Once greed or anger disappears, the “born” [birth of the ego] expires and returns to a “state of seeking birth.” Then again, from the “state of seeking birth” comes the “birth” of the ego and ego possessiveness because of craving, anger, hatred, or fear. The process of dependent arising is thus repeated. In each process of dependent arising, “birth” is realized because of causal conditions. When these causal conditions disappear, the “born” expires and returns to a “state of seeking birth.”
This interpretation of the “state of seeking birth” is useful in cultivation because the practitioner can take advantage of and benefit from it; unlike with ordinary people’s interpretation, where the consciousness leaves the body and moves around seeking birth after death. I do not believe the “state of seeking birth” should be interpreted according to everyday language. It is irrelevant to the doctrine of dependent origination, and not beneficial to us. Worse, it embraces the concept of a continuing existence.
My unorthodox belief can be proven using the Pali suttas. They are found in the record of the material food (kabalinkarahara), contact food (phassahara), thought food (manosancetanahara), and consciousness food (vinnanahara) in the Samyutta-nikaya. The Buddha said the Four Foods [cattaro ahara] enable the “born” to live, and they nourish the “state of seeking birth.”
In explaining the Four Foods, the Buddha also used analogy of the Four Foods in everyday events. We are sentient beings that are “born” and in a “state of seeking birth” at any day. The function of the Four Foods is to continue nourishing the “state of seeking birth,” but their special effect is continually sustaining those that are already “born” (sentient beings that are born).
This example allows everyone to understand that there are two interpretations of the “born” according to everyday language and the Dhamma language. The important thing is for everyone to know which interpretation directly benefits the cultivation of the Buddha Dharma. Only the interpretation according to the Dhamma language can benefit one's cultivation.
We must stop all “births” and “states of seeking birth” by properly cultivating according to the doctrine of dependent origination, and by disallowing the emergence of the ego and “state of seeking birth.” To stop “birth” or the “state of seeking birth,” the Four Foods must be totally eliminated. The Four Foods must not be allowed to become significant and initiate volitional action. With this kind of understanding, our cultivation can benefit from the doctrine of dependent origination.

http://www.what-buddha-taught.net/Books6/Bhikkhu_Buddhadasa_Paticcasamuppada.htm

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Re: The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by sherab zangpo on Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:53 am

Hello cl_UK

The word is interesting in another way, from its geographical origins and spreading, its sphere of influence on thought and cultural social norms. From that, I think we can understand more of the brinkmanship and undertone involved in its "interpretation" rather than its factual relationship with what the Buddha taught.

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Re: The Gandhabba Between Lives

Post by sherab zangpo on Sat Apr 18, 2009 12:58 am

From your post

"In Buddhism, consciousness emerges and expires in an instant according to the law of dependent arising".

Where does consciousness arise and where would it expire? A bardo (period) can even be a snap of a finger.

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