Reply To: Gandhabba memory capabilities


Hello oetb,

OK. I see that you have a fairly good idea about gandhabba.

Regarding: “Being joined with a dense body, I am not sure why (I’ll ask in another thread), the gandhabba has his capabilities inhibited, not being now able to see and hear at distance, and now depends on the physical body sense inputs and the brain.”

The following crude analogy may be helpful.
Suppose someone puts you in a small solid box (like an old phone booth) that is sound-proof and has no windows.
– You will not be able to see and hear (This analogy does not work for smell, taste, and touch).

Gandhabba inside a physical solid body is like that. It cannot see and hear without such inputs coming through a window in that solid box.

BUt the gandhabba inside the physical body also needs the help of the brain to process those two visual and sound inputs. That cannot be put in that analogy.
– So, even if the physical body has perfectly good eyes and ears if the brain cannot process those signals, the gandhabba still will not be able to see or hear.

We can take this to another level now. Inside the box, you will be able to think.
– But the gandhabba cannot even think without the help of another “window” to the outside. That is called ‘mana indriya.” Our memories are in the “nama plane” and need to come into the physical body through that mana indriya in the brain, just like a visual need to come in through the eyes.

Furthermore, those memories coming through the mana indriya must be first processed by the brain, just the signal from the eyes must be processed.
– I discussed the latter process briefly in the new post, “Arising of Five Aggregates Based on an Ārammaṇa” I have discussed that in a couple of prior posts too, but I do not remember which ones.

– Anyway, I will be discussing that more in upcoming posts on this new series of posts.

The bottom line is that if the brain does not function well, then the gandhabba becomes totally helpless inside that body, not being able to even THINK.
– That is why a “brain-dead” person is totally inert.
P.S. But if the gandhabba can somehow come out of that body, he/she will be able to see, hear, and think perfectly.

So, I hope you can see that the gandhabba is the same whether staying inside or outside the body. His capabilities may be limited by the level of brain function (and also the functioning of the eyes, ears, tongue, etc).

You know that SOME little children can remember their previous life (just one, in most cases.)
– That ability is lost when the child grows up because the brain will too many things to do as one grows up. Too many attractive things to “process.” These are also called pancanivarana.
– So, the gandhabba outside the physical body MAY BE able to recall a bit more, but I am not sure.
– Anyway, there in no need to “push” these things to their limits. We just need to get a basic idea about the sensory experience. That will help us realize that ULTIMATELY there is no “me” and all these things that we do to “enjoy life’ will keep us trapped in this suffering-filled rebirth process. But we need to get there step-by-step. It is foolish to start off saying that “there is no “self”.

Also, see, “Is It Necessary for a Buddhist to Eliminate Sensual Desires?