Reply To: Evolution and Gandhabba


I watched the video and the evidence is compelling.

Daniel wrote: “Since we know from the Buddha’s Agañña Sutta, that the human gandhabba (or human bhava) is existing for much longer than a million years, because Brahmas and Devas are reborn in human bhava before being reborn as animals in the cycle of the solar system, I was wondering about an explanation of how homo sapiens sapiens came to be.

I had the following sketch:
In times, when there are extraordinary events affecting the planet, like solar flares or natural disasters, they could kill a big amount of species or embodied life, animals but also humans. Humans, over the millions of years, could also have had different forms of bodies, depending on the situation at that time. When such an event takes place, many beings will be living in the Gandhabba, because the nuclear radiations/solar flares/ floods have destroyed their bodies.”

That is a reasonable explanation.
– Another possibility for ‘mass extinction” over large geographical areas is the following. It is possible for even a whole continent to “flip”, just like a coconut floating in water can flip. This was briefly mentioned in one of Waharaka Thero’s desanas. The life would need to “re-emerge” in a fashion that SEEMS TO BE compatible with Darwin’s evolutionary theory.
– We know that most archeological studies have been done in Africa. If that whole continent flipped a billion years ago, it is possible that life gradually emerged starting with microbes, plants, etc. Of course, that is not really evolution, but more in line with Daniel’s rough sketch outlined there.
– That means gandhabbas of lower animals would be reborn with corresponding physical animal bodies first as CONDITIONS become right (meaning enough vegetation present, etc.). Then larger animals can be born higher-up in the food chain, etc.

Another point is that there are 4 modes of production of physical bodies of humans and animals.
These are described in the “Mahāsīhanāda Sutta (MN 12)

English translation there:The Greater Discourse on the Lion’s Roar
Four Kinds of Generation
“Sāriputta, there are these four kinds of generation. What are the four? Egg-born generation, womb-born generation, moisture-born generation, and spontaneous generation.

“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 porridge, 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.”

Even though humans are normally born via “womb-born generation” the other modes can be active especially in a situation like above. Here it is mostly the spontaneous generation.
– Same for animals.

One last point about “moisture-born generation.” This is when the correct chemical composition, like a zygote (which normally takes place in a womb) forms so that a gandhabba can start a physical body, can happen under the conditions given above, i.e., rotten meat, etc.
– That is in effect how ‘test-tube babies” (or Dolly the sheep) are born outside a womb.

I think I discussed some of these in the first few posts in the series on “Origin of Life

Finally, I think there should be more archeological studies in India and Sri Lanka. It is unlikely that such a calamity happened in that region. We know, according to the Tipitaka, that teachings of Buddha Kassapa were transmitted (in a distorted form) via Vedic teachings. So, there seems to be an unbroken human timeline from Buddha Kassapa to Buddha Gotama.

Again, I don’t want to spend too much time researching these ideas. But my feeling is that such things could be uncovered by more archeological studies.

P.S. The relevant part in Pali in the above sutta:
Catasso kho imā, sāriputta, yoniyo. Katamā catasso? Aṇḍajā yoni, jalābujā yoni, saṁsedajā yoni, opapātikā yoni.

Katamā ca, sāriputta, aṇḍajā yoni? Ye kho te, sāriputta, sattā aṇḍakosaṁ abhinibbhijja jāyanti—ayaṁ vuccati, sāriputta, aṇḍajā yoni. Katamā ca, sāriputta, jalābujā yoni? Ye kho te, sāriputta, sattā vatthikosaṁ abhinibbhijja jāyanti—ayaṁ vuccati, sāriputta, jalābujā yoni. Katamā ca, sāriputta, saṁsedajā yoni? Ye kho te, sāriputta, sattā pūtimacche vā jāyanti pūtikuṇape vā pūtikummāse vā candanikāye vā oḷigalle vā jāyanti—ayaṁ vuccati, sāriputta, saṁsedajā yoni. Katamā ca, sāriputta, opapātikā yoni? Devā, nerayikā, ekacce ca manussā, ekacce ca vinipātikā—ayaṁ vuccati, sāriputta, opapātikā yoni. Imā kho, sāriputta, catasso yoniyo.”