Gandhabba Timespan

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• #33895
me1
Participant

What is the maximum timespan of the Gandhabba state? I know someone who could see ghosts (gandhabbas) and this person saw ghosts from the Renaissance era while in vacation to Venice, Italy. One ghost they saw was of a girl who was near her own portrait in a palace/museum they visited.

I don’t remember the details because this happened more than 15 years ago. The person developed this power to see ghosts during this trip to Venice. They did not like this newfound ability so they told me they learned to ignore the sightings and have suppressed the ability to see.

• #33896
Lal
Keymaster

The “maximum timespan of the Gandhabba state” is the duration of the human existence for a given lifestream.
– In Brahma and Deva realms, that Brahma or Deva is born just one time for the duration of that existence.
– But in human and animal realms, the “mental body” (or the “gandhabba body”) lasts for the whole duration of the human or animal existence. That time is NOT a fixed time period. It could be many hundreds of years to many thousands of years. During that time, one may be born with a human body many times. In between those births with physical bodies, one is in the “gandhabba state.”

So, the answer is that the “maximum timespan of the Gandhabba state” can be many thousands of years.
– That is why “this person saw ghosts from the Renaissance era while in a vacation to Venice” is possible. That is not a ghost, but just the “mental body” or gandhabba. It is human without a physical human body.

If you type “gandhabba” in the search box and it will show many relevant posts:
Search Results for: gandhabba

• #33897
cubibobi
Participant

In the following post

Interpretation of the Tipitaka – Gandhabba Example

… under #3 we have:

“…the manomaya kāya (gandhabba) may live for thousands of years in the human bhava”

I’m assuming that a gandhabba can stay in the gandhabba form for thousands of year straight, without birth (jati) as a human with a physical body.

I found the following thing you said interesting:

“One ghost they saw was of a girl who was near her own portrait in a palace/museum they visited.”

Is this an example of attachment (tanha)? i.e. attachment to the previous physical human existence?

Best,
Lang

• #33898
Lal
Keymaster

Lang asked: “I’m assuming that a gandhabba can stay in the gandhabba form for thousands of year straight, without birth (jati) as a human with a physical body.”

– Yes. It is possible that a suitable human womb may not be available for thousands of years!

Lang asked: “One ghost they saw was of a girl who was near her own portrait in a palace/museum they visited.”

Is this an example of attachment (tanha)? i.e. attachment to the previous physical human existence?”

– Yes. The mental body or the gandhabba, in some cases, can stay close to the last birth with a human body. Yes. That happens because of the attachment to that existence with that physical body.
– This is why there are reports of people saying that they saw the “ghost of their deceased relative.”

• #35548
raj
Participant

Since there is a possibility that a gandhabba may have to wait a long time to get a suitable body,
I am wondering if it will be forced get degraded due to being involved in vaci sankhara or does it
have to ability to hear dhamma discourses and progress while in waiting or hang around near monasteries and be influenced by the spiritual nature of the place?

• #35550
Lal
Keymaster

Gandhabba can certainly generate vaci sankhara.

A gandhabba, in general, can hear.
– But there is no mention in the Tipitaka about a gandhabba being able to attain a magga phala.

Thus, it could be either that a gandhabba would not listen to Dhamma.
– Another possibility: A deeper point is that since a gandhabba does not have a physical body and a brain, citta can just flow “without control”.
– The brain needs time to process sensory data, and thus slows down the whole process. That gives us (those with brains) to take a bit of time and contemplate the consequences.
See, “Brain – Interface between Mind and Body

• #35551
cubibobi
Participant

“A deeper point is that since a gandhabba does not have a physical body and a brain, citta can just flow “without control”.

So the brain helps the mind rest: since the brain slows down the processing of sense input, the mind can fall back to the bhavanga state in between the times the brain sends signals to it. Also, in deep sleep the mind can rest in its bhavanga state.

In the gadhabba state, there is probably no chance to be in the bhavanga state, and no such thing as “sleep”?

On the other hand, the gandhabba must still retain the gati of the human who died. If the human had the gati of listening to Dhamma then the gandhabba may seek out opportunities for listening to desana.

Lang

• #35552
Lal
Keymaster

“In the gadhabba state, there is probably no chance to be in the bhavanga state, and no such thing as “sleep”?”

A gandhabba very likely does not sleep. There is no need to sleep since there is no physical body that needs to “reset and recover” from the physical activities during the day.
– But the mind could be in bhavanga state if there is no arammana (thought object).

Another thing to think about: A gandhabba inside a physical body is the same as a gandhabba outside.
– The only difference is that a gandhabba inside a body would not get a sensory input if the body is asleep.
– A gandhabba outside a physical body gets sensory inputs (only visual and auditory) without such a restriction.

• #35553
raj
Participant

Is there such a state as being possessed or is it just a disturbed state of mind of an individual who is reaping the results of past actions?
If it is true then when someone is possessed, does that mean that a gandhabba has has forcibly entered the body and is coexisting with the original gandhabba of the possessed person?

• #35554
DanielSt
Participant

I can also imagine that some Gandhabba, if inclined to Dhamma, will seek out appropriate places for listening to Dhamma.

From my understanding, yes, there should be possessions possible. I watched some videos about a Christian exorcist, he reported about several “demons” even taking possession of a woman. I think they must coexist in some way with the original owner of the body/Gandhabba.

In my view, these phenomena are well explained with Gandhabba as well.

(In another forum discussion, we discussed the case of baby-bodys, whose “ownership” can change -one Gandhabb leaving and another entering/being pulled inside (and using the body for the rest of his life)This also is explained well.)

• #35556
Lal
Keymaster

It is rare that another gandhabba can take over a living human body (possession).
– The person “being possessed” must have a weak mind and must willingly “hand over” the body to another gandhabba. Usually, that other gandhabba is a deceased person who had authority while living.
– For example, someone with a weak mind could be possessed by the gandhabba of a deceased relative. In Sri Lanka, there have been a few credible accounts.

On the other hand, it is of the more common occurrence of the case Daniel mentioned at the end. It is possible for a gandhabba who had taken possession of a zygote to leave and for another gandhabba to take possession of that zygote.
– That may happen within several days or weeks of pregnancy.

To learn about the zygote and gandhabba, see “Buddhist Explanations of Conception, Abortion, and Contraception