Gandhabba: Lying in Wait for Appropriate Womb

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    • #37561

      Dear Lal,

      Something you mentioned in one of your posts* with regard to gandhabba and rebirth, that the gandhabba waits for an “appropriate womb” as a step in the rebirth process; has been bugging me for months. I will try my best to word my questions appropriately. I hope that my questions, etc, make sense.

      (*I do not recall which post it was, I have read so many.)

      Question: What do you mean by the phrase “appropriate womb?”

      In contemplating this phrase, I am wondering whether or not the “appropriate womb” refers to the placement (connecting) of the gandhabba in a womb that is concomitant with the kamma of the particular gandhabba. I envision that the gandhabba represents (perhaps in a QM fashion) the (energy) link to a person’s kamma. (If it appears that I am completely misunderstanding the mechanics of gandhabba, please bear with me as I am attempting to work this out in my head.) Therefore, the “appropriate womb” represents a womb (family/circumstance) that is determined by one’s kamma. If this is correct:

      Does one’s kamma pre-determine, in a sense, the family/circumstances that one will be born to?

      If it is true that the substance of one’s kamma predetermines the family/circumstances that one is born into, might this knowledge help to explain those circumstances and events of one’s childhood and the possible reasons why a person is born into the family/circumstances that they are?

      My limited understanding and intuition tells me that this may be the case. And if so, might it not also be possible, upon deep meditation and reflection, to understand the kammic reasons why one is born into the family/circumstances that they are, thus revealing certain kammic elements that effect one’s entire life?

      There is a story behind these questions. But, for now, my own meditation and reflection seem to repeatedly produce a gossamer thread about my past and why I was born into the family that I was. What has lead me to be so deeply immersed into Buddha Dhamma to the degree that my every waking moment is focused on it? I sense that since this intuition keeps reappearing, there might be something to it, perhaps deeper than I am able to describe at present (something non-local).

      It is as though the Buddha Dhamma has some energy or power, a power that persistently insinuates itself into each day effecting my life since encountering the Dhamma. And this, to the extent that, I find it difficult to sometimes bear the world, thus having as little interaction with it as possible. When interacting with the world, I constantly see ignorance, pain, suffering, unhappiness, and confusion. So many people live in a delusional world of their own making. It is difficult at times to see all of the suffering. And yet, seeing suffering with a state of calm, but intense compassion, devoid of emotional histrionics (even if only internal) and so on.

      It may, to some, appear as though that what I describe indicates some psychological pathology, but being conscious of the difference, I can say with conviction that a pathology is not the case. Rather, the separation of truth from delusion, with respect to the truth about the nature of reality, is at the root source of what may well be the process of awakening.

      (Some readings that I am already involved in: “Quantum Mechanics and Dhamma – Introduction,” “Will Quantum Mechanics Be Able to Explain Consciousness?” & “The Observer Effect in Quantum Mechanics,” ““Quantum Entanglement – We Are All Connected.” “The Self-Aware Universe: How Consciousness Creates the Material World” (Gaswami, Amit), “Physics of the Soul” (Goswami, Amit), “The Biology of Belief” (Lipton, Bruce), “Shadows of the Mind” (Penrose, Roger), “The Mind-Brain Continuum” (Linas, Rodolpho & Chruchland, Patricia), “Basic Self-Knowledge” (Benjamin, Harry, Gurdjieff & Krishnamurti), “What is Realism in Quantum Mechanics and How Can it be Non-local” (Wechlser, Sofia), “Non-locality and Entanglement,” Please note: With these readings I am not looking for specific answers, just getting a feel for the various points of view, perhaps looking for similar theoretical threads. Some books/papers I instinctively abandon as they are too far afield or do not go far enough.

      With metta,

    • #37562


      If none of the above is applicable to the circumstances/family that one is born into, then what is applicable? OR is the placement of the gandhabba into an available womb simply random? (“What is Kamma? – Is Everything Determined by Kamma?: 9. Laws of Kamma Are Complex)

    • #37569

      Hello Dipo,

      I don’t see anything wrong with your inquiry into this issue. It is a complex issue.

      1. The approach of Buddha Dhamma and modern science on the mind are the exact opposite approaches. I have tried to emphasize that in answer to a previous question from you.
      – My suggestion is to keep that in mind.
      – Science says that “consciousness” or “mind” emerges from matter. Buddha Dhamma says consciousness can arise ONLY in a hadaya vatthu created by kammic energy.
      – It will NOT be possible to come to an explanation that can satisfy both approaches. If you try to “merge the two,” you will only get more confused.

      2. I just did a search, and that is an easy way to look for relevant posts: “Search Results for: matching womb gandhabba.”

      3. The following is what I mean by a “matching womb” or a “suitable womb.”
      – In general, children of a couple will have gati (character/habits) that are similar to their own. Of course, no two people will have exactly the same gati. But two people get together BECAUSE they have similar gati.
      – The children will have PHYSICAL features from both parents, but in some cases, the child may have features mostly from one parent.
      – MENTAL aspects may turn out to be that way too. But as mentioned above, the parent are likely to have more common mental aspects between them.

      4. Therefore, only those gandhabbas “matching” the MENTAL aspects will be pulled into the mother’s womb.
      – We can see that to be true in general. Children normally have the moral qualities of their parents.
      – But there can be exceptions. If the mother becomes distressed (say, in rape situations), her mental state could affect the type of gandhabba drawn into the womb. Normally, the “descending of a gandhabba into the womb” occurs within a day or two after intercourse.

      5. This “matching of gati” can be seen in many situations. It is a natural process. The saying, “Birds of a feather flock together,” is true, and we can see that all around us.
      – See, “The Law of Attraction, Habits, Character (Gati), and Cravings (Āsava)

      6. After reading the post in #5, you may want to read some of the posts in #2 and ask specific questions (you may be able to locate the post you had in mind there).

    • #37576


      A very elegant way of explaining this. with regard to your reply #1 above, like you (perhaps not at the same level), not for the purpose of satisfying some curiosity to fit Buddha Dhamma into science, but to see where Buddha Dhamma reflects/mirrors what modern science is discovering. I too have the opinion that science is far and away behind the Buddha Dhamma. I find my myself leaning toward the concept that consciousness is elemental and that what human beings believe to be some sort of per-existing material world, is actually a world in which consciousness forms the material world by following certain laws of nature.

      Your reply (#s 2-4) has much meaning for me. There is nothing intrinsically important about my early life that I would seek to protect. Therefore, I will tell you that the reason for my initial question stems from a curiosity about the “why” I was born to the parents that I was. You see, I have a remarkable memory from very early childhood (1-2 years). Before my mother passed away, I wrote her an 80 page letter. Within that letter I described to her the first home we lived in after my birth, and then the second home shortly after my birth. She was astounded that I was able to remember minute details of the interior of these places, the weave of the material on the furniture, the colors on the walls, the placement of the furniture, events that had taken place and so on.

      From the earliest reaches of my life, I have always felt somehow that I was in the wrong place or that I was misplaced; an intense intuition that I was different. My parents were uneducated, neither having even graduated high school. In school, first through third grades, the teachers were frequently beside themselves as to what to do with me. In first grade I could already read far above my level, do math, and was extremely creative, such as playing musical instruments without any knowledge of what I was doing or understanding music. Eventually, the school recommended that I be placed in a school for gifted children, but my parents misunderstood and thought that the school was telling them I was mentally retarded.

      Early in my childhood I began doing strange things. I built a kind of shrine deep in the woods (I lived in a rural area of New England) and would feed the animals. I began writing, but not simple stories. When in school we were tasked with creating a book report, selecting topics from a list made by the teacher, I found the topics to be too simple and uninteresting to me. So, I asked the teacher if I could choose my own topics. The first report I produced for the class was titled: “A Psychoanalytical View of Edgar Allen Poe’s Life and Works.” (I still have it somewhere.) The second report I produced for the class was titled: “Demos Kratos: Comparing the Ideas of Karl Marx with 1620 Plymouth Plantation.” Not only were my teachers befuddled but my parents were completely lost.

      At one point I heard a composition of Rachmaninoff’s 18th Variation on a theme of Paganini, and proceeded to play it on the piano. No lessons nor any knowledge of music composition whatsoever. Around the 7th grade I began to develop a deep interest in Science, in particular Chemistry and Biology. At the 9th grade level, when presented with dissecting animals in Biology, I did not want to do it. So, I asked the teacher if I might conduct my own experiments for class credit. The teacher inquired of me what it was that I wanted to do and I replied that I wanted to prove Mendel’s Laws of Heredity. She gained approval from the Headmaster of the school and so I successfully duplicated Mendel’s processes and came to the same conclusions that he did.

      Please do not take this diatribe to be an aggrandizement of my achievements, rather I expound on these things to clearly set out a pattern.

      My childhood was not happy due to the fact that my father was extremely jealous of my abilities, particularly since he could not read. He was always suspicious of my intentions. Without going into all of the gory details, my relationship with my parents ended when the State authorities stepped in to remove myself and my two sisters from the home due to severe child abuse. I did not wish to live in the Foster care system with people that I did not know. So, at the age of (barely) 16, I set out on my own.

      One very persistent and powerful thread that I have been cognizant of since early age, is my curiosity to know that there must be more to life than what I was experiencing. But, this question/curiosity had less to do with the World in general, but more to do with the existence, and the causes and effects associated with human life. It should be no surprise that my involvement with religion became a major focus in my life, beginning with seeking the priesthood in Catholicism to Protestant Ministry and everything in between. Even reaching as far as learning the language of ancient scriptures such as the Septuagint, Masoretic Text, and others. However, in the end, I was unable to find satisfactory answers to question like; “What is the purpose of life?” “Why do human beings die?” I could not combine what my natural intuition was telling me with what Judaeo-Christianity could provide.

      It was by pure happenstance (or not), that I heard a CD in a Physical Therapist’s office of a Dhamma talk. Almost immediately, my attention was laser-like. I went to book stores and bought everything and anything about Buddhism. This was the beginning of an enormous life-change event leading to presenting myself at a Zen Monastery to become a monk. Circumstances made it impossible for me to fulfill that desire, for reasons that are now not important.

      So, as you can see, with the level of understanding of the Buddha Dhamma that I now have (which you could probably fit into a thimble), it is perhaps only natural that I would ask such a question, “Why I was born into the family and circumstances that I was.” Understanding the “why” certainly helps to examine the possible conditions of my own kamma. Is there some indication in the Sutta where a gandhabba is “misplaced” or “accidentally” falls into the wrong womb? I feel as though I have nothing in common whatsoever with either of my parents other than physical genetic similarities.

      However, I find that in learning such things though, the experiences of my life have a much deeper meaning. Not only in gaining an understanding of the past, but putting it all into perspective for the here and now and for future rebirths. I cannot know, of course, into which realm I will experience the next rebirth, however it is certainly a wondrous thing to know that my understanding and efforts right now, will bear better quality fruit down the road. That, by itself, is liberating! So, I thank you for your post.

      With metta,

    • #37579

      Thanks for sharing a part of your life story, Dipo.

      Yes. Yours seems to be an exception to the general rule that children share parents’ gati.
      – It is inspiring that you have overcome so many obstacles to get to this point. No doubt that you will progress much further.

    • #37582

      Another angle in “matching a suitable womb” for a gandhabba is “paying back debt.”

      I mentioned that briefly in the post: “Kamma, Debt, and Meditation

      As stated in #4 there: “Many relationships that we have in this life arise from “long-term debt” from many lives in the past. For example, people are born in the same family, same community, or same geographical locations, for many, many lives. That is for just paying back debts and for claiming old debts.”

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