Gandhabba memory capabilities

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    • #29463
      oetb
      Participant

      Hi,
      Is a gandhabba able to recall memories?
      If yes, to what extent?
      Just the previous life, or many lives in the same bhava?
      Also its existence between its lives?

    • #29466
      Lal
      Keymaster

      Hello oetb.

      “Is a gandhabba able to recall memories?”
      – Yes. Gandhabba is simply our mental body. It is inside the physical body. The physical body (or the brain) cannot think.
      – Thus when we say we recall our memories, it is actually our gandhabba that is recalling memories.

      The best way to realize this is to look at the out-of-body experiences (OBE) of people who have had that experience during heart operations. During some heart operations, the mental boy or the gandhabba comes out of the physical body. That mental body can see its physical body from the above. The book “Consciousness Beyond Life” by Pim van Lommel (2010) gives detailed accounts of case studies of OBE experienced by people undergoing heart operations.
      – Also see, “Gandhabba Sensing the World – With and Without a Physical Body” , “Mental Body Versus the Physical Body” and “Mental Body (Gandhabba) – Personal Accounts

      Regarding your other questions, also see, “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein

    • #29475
      oetb
      Participant

      Hello,
      I’m referring more specifically when a gandhabba dwells in para loka. I mean, lots OBE reports talk about people that could see and hear from out of the body while maintaining its identity, i.e., knowing who they are, who are its relatives, etc. That is, having access to its life memories.
      But why they do not have other life memories? Because they were attentive to the actual (present) critical situation, or because they were still alive?

      And the main questions: What about the gandhabba that has lost his body (died): can remember only its immediate previous life, or all the lives it had had in its bhava?
      For example, someone who is in its 4th life of a human bhava dies and then wanders through para loka. Suppose that in total he has spent 300 years living as human, and 400 years as a gandhabba in para loka. After leaving its last body (that of its 4th life), will he be capable of remembering all the 700 years spent during his actual bhava, or just the more recent years?

      Thanks

    • #29483
      Lal
      Keymaster

      You wrote: “I’m referring more specifically when a gandhabba dwells in para loka. I mean, lots OBE reports talk about people that could see and hear from out of the body while maintaining its identity, i.e., knowing who they are, who are its relatives, etc..”

      I don’t think you understood what I was trying to say. Let me try to say it in a different way.
      – There is a gandhabba inside of you. In fact, that gandhabba is YOU.
      – Our physical body is just a “shell.”
      – It is the gandhabba doing the thinking etc.

      So, what happens to some who undergo heart operations is that the gandhabba is kind of “pushed out” of the physical body. When the gandhabba comes out, it can see and hear without having eyes and ears.

      If you really want to understand, you need to spend some time and read the posts I recommended.

      Please feel to ask questions if you have a problem with certain parts of a post. That is why the bullet numbers are there. Please refer to the post and the bullet numbers.

      That applies to your other questions too.

      P.S. The gandhabba does not die until the lifetime for the human bhava is spent.
      – If the human bhava in your example is 1000 years, it is the same gandhabba that lives 1000 years. But his gati may change, of course.
      – When one physical body dies, the gandhabba just separates from the dead body (just like what happens to some people during heart operations). Then the gandhabba waits until it is pulled into a another womb. Then it lives inside that physical body, and so on.

      The gandhabba may not remember previous lives in different physical bodies.

    • #29487
      oetb
      Participant

      Hi Lal,
      When I say “the gandhabba that has lost his body (died)”, I am referring that the physical body died, not the gandhabba.
      I know the gandhabba is who sees, hears, etc. with the pasada rupa of each sense hitting the hadaya vatthu, and citta vithi arising from hadaya vatthu as a response. The body is, as you say, just a shell controlled by the gandhabba. The brain computes and sends the sense inputs to the corresponding pasada rupa, hits the hadaya vatthu, from hadaya vatthu arises a citta vithi containing javana citta, and those will be interpreted and executed by the brain.

      I know that the gandhabba, freed from a dense body (human/animal body), has more capabilities for seeing and hearing, including seen without light, earing without air, and at large distances, but is not able to touch and smell. 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.

      Now, the doubt was the following. If the gandhabba, out of the body, has more capabilities (except for touching, savoring, and smelling), is his memory also more potent than inside the body?
      Your last statement is “The gandhabba may not remember previous lives in different physical bodies.” I am not sure if you mean that the gandhabba may no remember previous lives while inside in different physical bodies, or even free from a physical body it may not remember previous lives it had in previous physical bodies.

      I know that inside a body a normal gandhabba is not capable of remembering things beyond its physical life. But once the physical body dies, will the gandhabba, now free from the physical body, be capable of remembering things of all its actual bhava, not only its last physical life?

    • #29489
      Lal
      Keymaster

      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?

    • #29496
      oetb
      Participant

      Thanks for your time Lal! I hope it will be helpful to others too.

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