Human Rebirth and Population Growth

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    • #47973


      I’m not sure if this question is in the correct place. Anyway here goes: 

      If human birth is so difficult to obtain, why over the last 220+ years has it become (significantly?) more accessible? Since the early 1800’s the population has grown on Earth from 1 billion humans to over 7 billion humans on earth today with further growth continuing. From which pre-existing realm are they being reborn from? 

      Any logical/scriptural answers gratefully received!

      Many thanks in advance


    • #47976


      The answers to your questions are in the post “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm.”

      • Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if something is unclear.
      • #47977

        Many thanks for the link and the reply. I was aware of the suttas you linked. I think what I was trying to get at was why has there been a significant increase in human birth over the last 200 hundred years. The suttas don’t really answer that question.

    • #47978

      Are you aware that animals, Devas, Brahmas, etc. (a living being from any of the other ealms), can be reborn as humans?

      • #47979

        Yes I am. I guess I’m looking for a logical answer to an unanswerable question. Why the sudden increase in human birth?

    • #47980

      I presume that you have not read that many posts on this website. Your above answer clarified that for me.

      1. It is not a sudden increase in humans but an increase in humans with physical bodies. That population has increased mainly because the conditions to support a large human population (with physical bodies) have improved over the past few hundred years.

      • A large pool of humans is in the gandhabba state (i.e., just with the “mental body”); they are waiting to be born. That is the actual population of humans, which is probably in the hundreds of billions. Only 7 billion have been born with physical bodies at the present.
      • That gandhabba population also keeps changing because of transitions among various realms. 

      2. When a Deva or Brahma dies and becomes a human existence, they aren’t reborn with a human body right away at that moment.

      • For example, when a Deva dies and is born a human, only the mental body (gandhabba kaya) appears on Earth. That gandhabba may have to wait several years before being pulled into a “matching womb” and subsequently born with a physical body.
      • As the economic conditions of the countries in the world improve, the human population increases. 

      3. In the example of #2, that human who was born with a “mental body” possibly has a lifetime of many thousands of years. During that time, he/she can be reborn with a human body numerous times. That is why there are so many rebirth accounts from all over the world. Some children can recall their last life born with a physical human body. 

      • Are you familiar with such rebirth accounts?

      4. I want to see how much you know about the above before going into more detail. This is a complex subject that requires some background in Buddha Dhamma. For example, were you aware of the “gandhabba (mental body)”?

      • Let me know your thoughts/questions on the above. We can proceed from there.
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      • #47985

        Thanks Lal. Yes this is all very clear now. I fully understand the ‘gandhabba’ – mental body concept. Just one further question – where on this earth/realm does the mental body ‘reside’? Is it aware in that it’s a non physical human awaiting a human body?

        Also, why is the ‘gandhabba’ concept not more of a major factor in Theravada school despite the fact that there’s scriptural support for it. It seems to be incredibly important to understanding rebirth and the workings of samsara.

        I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your detailed response to my post and for your work and effort put into this website to enable me and others to fully understand the Buddha’s teaching. I will continue to explore the website content to further my knowledge and deepen my faith in the Dhamma. Much merit to you. 


    • #47984

      It is critically important to understand the concept of the “mental body” (gandhabba) before being able to answer many questions about human life.

      • I know that it is an alien concept, especially in Western societies. However, evidence is emerging that it is real. The most relevant confirmations come from the accounts of patients whose “mental body” comes out of the physical body and they could see while being outside the physical body.

      The following video is on one of such accounts by a physician:


      1. In most such cases, the patient recovers brain function after a while, and that would be the end of the story. However, the patient’s gandhabba came out of her body in the above case.
      2. The woman’s gandhabba may have come out of the paralyzed body at some point. It was in the room when Dr. Greyson came and followed him to the other room where her friend was. The gandhabba was watching and listening to the conversation between her friend and Dr. Greyson.
      3. Once medical treatment restored her brain function, she could recall the conversation and tell Dr. Greyson about it in great detail. She not only heard but also saw the full details. That is why she noticed the stain on Dr. Greyson’s tie!
      4. So, she was able to see with her gandhabba body. Can there be any doubts about that?
      5. The gandhabba coming out of the physical body is not a common occurrence.  However, he mentioned (maybe in another video) that about 10% of all people have experienced such an OBE. It is more common when patients undergo heart operations because the hadaya vatthu in the mental body overlaps the heart in the physical body.

      The above is extracted from the post “Distorted Saññā Arises in Every Adult but Not in a Newborn.”

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    • #47988

      Above my last comment, Alfalco asked two questions.

      1. “Just one further question – where on this earth/realm does the mental body ‘reside’?”

      • They are living right beside us. But we cannot see them.
      • Their “bodies” have very little “matter,” less than even an atom in modern science. We cannot see an atom even with a standard microscope. That is how “subtle” or “fine” it is. That is why no one could see that woman’s gandhabba in the above video.

      2. “Also, why is the ‘gandhabba’ concept not more of a major factor in Theravada school despite the fact that there’s scriptural support for it. It seems to be incredibly important to understanding rebirth and the workings of samsara.”

      • Theravada school has also gradually become “ritualistic” (like Mahyana/Tibetan schools) in the sense that logic or reasoning is no longer taken into account these days.
      • If someone logically considers the rebirth accounts and the fact that it is very difficult to get a human life, those two cannot be explained without the concept of gandhabba, i.e., a human can exist without a physical body. In ALL rebirth accounts, there is a gap of a few years between two consecutive births as a human.
      • Those two births have the same gandhabba, i.e., it is the same human that is reborn with a different body only after a few years. That is why another birth with a physical human body is possible within a few years.

      3. Anyone who does not believe in the concept of gandhabba: Please explain how two “human births” are possible within only a few years without the concept of gandhabba.

      • The rarity of human birth is fully explained with many Tipitaka references in “How the Buddha Described the Chance of Rebirth in the Human Realm.”
      • We also know that many babies die within a month or even a few days. Does that mean his/her “human existence” ended only after such a short time? There are so many contradictions!
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    • #48010

      It seem that you view on humanity is limited to earth, compared to cosmos Buddha is clearly right.

    • #48013

      My description applies to any planetary system with living beings. Each has 31 realms associated with it. 

      • Although scientists have not yet found a system outside the solar system, there are countless others in the universe.
      • It is not easy to find life outside the Solar system. The closest “planetary system” is more than four light years away. That means it takes over four years to travel to that system, EVEN IF a spaceship travels at the speed of light. The fastest speed by a spacecraft is 163 km/s, compared to the speed of light of 300000 km/s.
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