It is fascinating to read the ongoing discussion at Sutta Central mentioned in the above post.
First, if semen is gandhabba, how do births in Deva and Brahma realms arise? Those are opapatika births without sexual intercourse. Furthermore, how do memories of previous lives (as the Buddha had) propagate through semen?
Some suttas mention “patisandhi vinnana” descending to a womb, and others “gandhabba” descending to a womb.
– But one must understand a given concept depending on the context. A “patisandhi vinnana” is a (kamma)vinnana arising at the moment of cuti-patisandhi; a split second later, a gandhabba with five aggregates arises. Technically, a (kamma)vinnana cannot “descend to a womb” without a rupa made of at least a suddhatthaka.
1. “Patisandhi vinnana” does not belong to the rupa aggregate. It belongs to the vinnana aggregate.
2. At the cuti-patisandhi moment, a “patisandhi vinnana” gets more energy and is converted to a suddhatthaka (with kammic energy), i.e., hadaya vatthu. That hadaya vatthu belongs to the rupa aggregate. That is the “rupa aggregate” of the gandhabba.
3. Thus, technically, it is a rupa (not a vinnana) that descends to a womb. That may happen even years after the birth of the gandhabba at the cuti-patisandhi moment.
Several suttas in SN 22 clearly state “coming and going of (kamma)vinnana, its passing away and reappearing, its growth, increase, and maturity” cannot happen in the absence of other four aggregates (rupa, vedana, sanna,sankhara).
– “Upaya Sutta (SN 22.53)” I have linked to the specific verse.
– Only a gandhabba (with five aggregates) can survive the time between the cuti-patisandhi moment and “descending to a womb.” By the time “descending to a womb,” that kamma vinnana which gave rise to the gandhabba with the five aggregates, is no longer there.
If anyone at this forum has any questions to clarify, please don’t hesitate to ask. These concepts need to be fully clarified and understood.
November 4, 2022: I wrote a post with the same title, critiquing the essay at Sutta Central: “Does Gandhabba Mean “Semen”?“