gandhabba as explained elsewhere

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    • #25215


      I’ve been reading about the 31 realms in a few other sources, such as:

      The Thirty-one Planes of Existence

      … and see the term gandhabba explained differently. Here, gandhabbas are translated as celestial musicians in the catumaharajika deva realm.

      Some Dhamma talks on Youtube describe gandhabbas this way as well.

      Is this gandhabba the same word used in a different context? Or is it just mistranslated into “musician”.

      Thank you,

    • #25216

      From the Concise Pali-English Dictionary by A.P. Buddhadatta Mahathera there are two meanings for gandhabba:
      gandhabba :[m.] 1. a musician; a heavenly musician belonging to the demigods; 2. a being ready to take a new existence.

    • #25217

      Lang asked, “Is this gandhabba the same word used in a different context? Or is it just mistranslated into “musician”.”

      It is definitely not correct to say a gandhabba is a musician.

      But as Seng Kiat points out, such descriptions are in dictionaries and in other texts.

      As we have discussed, there can be human and animal gandhabbas. Both kinds have subtle “bodies” (more like “energy bodies”), that can get a bit denser by taking in the aroma (smells) of various kinds. Even then we cannot see them.

      There are also some (lower level) devas called gandhabbas. In fact, there is a Tipitaka account of such a “deva gandhabba” who was a musician. I don’t remember the name of the sutta, but one time the King of the devas (Sakka) came to see the Buddha, accompanied by a deva gandhabba who was a musician (in deva loka). He played some kind of a musical instrument to get Buddha’s attention in that case.
      – That could be how that definition got into the dictionary!

    • #25225

      Hi All,

      Samyutta Nikāya 31 is called gandhabba-samyutta.

      It deals with ‘deva’s of the gandhabba order‘. About them it is said in the first sutta of this part of the Nikāya:

      “And what, bhikkhus, are the devas of the gandhabba order?
      There are, bhikkhus, devas dwelling in fragrant roots, devas dwelling in fragrant heartwood, devas dwelling in fragrant softwood, devas dwelling in fragrant bark, devas dwelling in fragrant shoots, devas dwelling in fragrant leaves, devas dweliing in fragrant flowers, devas dwelling in fragrant fruits, devas dwelling in fragrant sap, and devas dwelling in fragrant scents. “These, bhikkhus, are called the devas of the gandhabba order.”

      They seem to be connected to plants/trees, and seem to be connected to scent.

      kind regards,

    • #25228
      y not

      dn21 “Sakka­pañha­ Sutta” 1. Pañcasikha’s Song, and the introductory chapter.

      English translation there: “The Questions of Sakka.”

      It is this one who is the ‘musician'( gandhabbadevaputto). It is one of my favourite suttas, bookmarked in fact, so it took me no time at all to provide the reference.

    • #25229

      Thanks, Siebe and y not.

      Very useful information. Much merits to you both.

      I have added the links to y not’s post. It is a good idea to read the English translation.

    • #25260

      Thank you all! Very informative.

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.