Anusaya, Gati, Bhava – Connection to Manomaya Kāya (Gandhabba)

August 21, 2022; September 12, 2002 (#6)

The concepts of anusaya, gati, and bhava are associated with a mind, i.e., manomaya kāya/gandhabba of a lifestream.

Kammic Energy Creates Hadaya Vatthu (Seat of Consciousness)

1. Our views and perceptions about this world are highly influenced by modern science, which has made significant progress within the past hundred years. However, that progress is limited to studying the inert (lifeless) matter.

  • Modern science’s materialistic worldview cannot explain the origin of consciousness. Some scientists have proposed that consciousness arises in the brain, but there is no proof for that claim. And there will NEVER be such proof.
  • Consciousness arises in hadaya vatthu created by kammic energy. Kammic energy creates hadaya vatthu, the “seat of consciousness” where consciousness or citta arises.
  • The Buddha declared that the “mind is at the forefront of everything in this world” or “Manōpubbangamā Dhammā..”
What Creates Kammic Energy?

2. Conversely, hadaya vatthu creates kammic energy! A specific type of cittā, javana cittā (that arises in hadaya vatthu,) creates kammic energy.

  • It is a cyclical process: Kammic energy creates hadaya vatthu, and hadaya vatthu creates kammic energy! That cycle is broken only at Nibbana.
  • That is why there is no beginning to life per the Buddha. Citta creates kammic energy, which, in turn, creates future hadaya vatthu where cittās arise.
  • I have a detailed analysis of it in the “Origin of Life” series.
Cyclical Process of Rebirth – Saṁsāra

3. Let us do a quick summary. A hadaya vatthu created by kammic energy has a finite lifetime, that of a given existence (uppatti bhava.) Before that hadaya vatthu dies, it creates kammic energies (kamma bhava) that can power up more hadaya vatthus, corresponding to different types of bhava in the future.

  • For example, a human has a hadaya vatthu (part of manomaya kāya) that will die after many thousands of years. But within that time, that human will generate kammic energy to “power up” many more hadaya vatthus corresponding to different realms. Unfortunately, most of them correspond to the four lowest realms. That is why only a few humans will get another human or higher bhava.
  • Paṭicca Samuppāda explains the creation of a manomaya kāya/gandhabba (with a hadaya vatthu) via the “bhava paccaya jati” step in a process that starts with “avijja paccaya sankhara.”
  • Read the two posts “Bhava and Jāti – States of Existence and Births Therein” and “Cuti and Marana – Related to Bhava and Jāti” before reading the rest of this post.
No “Soul” – Concept of a Lifestream

4. The concept of a “lifestream” explains the difference between “a soul/ātman moving from life to life” and the Buddhist explanation of a life arising due to previous causes via Paṭicca Samuppāda. See “What Reincarnates? – Concept of a Lifestream.” Thus, a future life is not a “reincarnation” of an “unchanging essence” (soul/ātman) associated with the current life.

  • Any life among the 31 realms of this world has the following essential elements (Ref. 1): a hadaya vatthu and a set of pasāda rupa.
  • Thoughts (citta) arise not in the brain but in the hadaya vatthu in the manomaya kāya (gandhabba.)
  • The hadaya vatthu is essential. There can be no “lifestream” in the rebirth process without it. The hadaya vatthu (and any pasāda rupa) are created ONLY by kammic energy. It is a natural process.
  • When a manomaya kāya (with a hadaya vatthu and a set of pasāda rupa) dies, a new one takes over at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment via the “upādāna paccayā bhavō” step in “Akusala-Mūla Upapatti Paṭicca Samuppāda.”
Manomaya Kāya Is Primary, Not the Physical Body

5. “Dhammapada Verses 33-43” in the Citta Vagga provides some critical clues.

  • Verse #37 says, “The mind travels far, wandering alone; incorporeal (not composed of matter) it hides in a cave.” That verse refers to the manomaya kāya, which can travel far at high-speed, as confirmed by many NDE accounts: “Near-Death Experiences (NDE): Brain Is Not the Mind.” The “cave” (where it takes temporary shelter) is the physical body.
  • Verse #41 states:All too soon this body will die; bereft of consciousness, tossed aside like a useless log.” Here it says that the physical body will be a useless log upon death. The English translation in the link is good, and reading that series of verses is a good idea.
  • But the death of the physical body does not end the human bhava. The manomaya kāya/gandhabba will come out and wait to be pulled into another womb to make another material body.
  • A human or animal bhava is long, even though they are less than Deva or Brahma bhava. A person with a physical body lives only about 100 years, but that human bhava will last many thousands of years. The gandhabba/manomaya kāya will make many physical bodies during that time. Same for an animal. A fly lives only a few weeks, but that “fly bhava” may last millions of years. Note that only the manomaya kāya of a human or an animal is called a gandhabba.
  • In Deva and Brahma realms, the manomaya kāya is the only kāya. A birth from the womb or an egg with a separate (physical) body is not involved. See “Body Types in 31 Realms – Importance of Manomaya Kāya.”
A Hadaya Vatthu Defines a Bhava in Rebirth Process

6. Therefore, the easiest way to describe the rebirth process is as follows. A lifestream is ALWAYS an associated specific manomaya kāya (with a particular hadaya vatthu) created by kammic energy. In other words, a manomaya kāya results from one particular kamma. For example, a strong puñña kamma can create a human or Deva manomaya kāya. On the other hand, a strong apuñña (pāpa) kamma creates a manomaya kāya of an animal, for example.

  • The essential component of a manomaya kāya is hadaya vatthu, where cittā (thoughts) arise, and both will last through the end of a bhava.
  • When a manomaya kāya (with a hadaya vatthu) dies at the end of a bhava, the lifestream grasps a NEW manomaya kāya/hadaya vatthu compatible with the new bhava at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment. The new hadaya vatthu inherits all anusaya (hidden defilements.) However, that happens via viññāṇa dhātu; nothing “moves materially” from one existence to the next.
  • For example, suppose a Deva bhava ends, and a human bhava is grasped. At the end of the Deva bhava, the hadaya vatthu (and a set of pasāda rupa) associated with that Deva existence will die. A moment later, a human gandhabba will appear in the human realm with a NEW hadaya vatthu (and a set of pasāda rupa.)
  • It is essential to understand the following. Nothing from the Deva bhava (hadaya vatthu/pasāda rupa) “travels” to the human realm. Human’s manomaya kāya (hadaya vatthu/pasāda rupa) is created in the human world by kammic energy.
There Can be Many Births (with Physical Bodies) Within a Human Bhava

7. Suppose the human bhava started (with a human gandhabba) in the year 1900 in the above example. Suppose that gandhabba was born as “John Smith” in 1950, lived for 50 years, and died in 2000. During his life, he would not remember anything about a previous life since it was in a Deva realm. When John Smith dies, the gandhabba comes out and is again pulled into a womb, born in 2005 and given the name “Peter Pan.” When a few years old, Peter Pan may be able to recall his past life where he lived as “John  Smith.”

  • Thus, with the above mechanism, we can explain the phenomenon of accounts of previous lives by many children worldwide.
  • How would they explain rebirth accounts if anyone does not believe in the gandhabba state? I am yet to hear back from those who say the gandhabba concept is not in Buddha Dhamma. They should read the post “Gandhabba State – Evidence from Tipiṭaka.”
Two Adjacent Bhava Are Shielded from Each Other

8. Consider a lifestream transitioning from a Deva bhava to a human bhava. Deva bhava ends with the death of its manomaya kāya, and that is the cuti moment for that Deva bhava, and Deva disappears from that Deva realm.

  • At the next moment, kammic energy creates a new manomaya kāya of a human (with a new hadaya vatthu/pasāda rupa), which appears in the human realm (among humans.) Now, that is a human gandhabba without a physical body. It may be several years before that gandhabba is pulled into a matching womb.
  • That human gandhabba will not have any memory of the previous Deva existence. One bhava is separated from another.  
  • Even though some can remember previous lives within the human bhava, it is improbable that a human could recall life in a different bhava, say an animal or Deva bhava. I know of only one account – discussed at the forum: “Remembering Past Lives in the Era of Buddha.”
  • However, those with abhiññā powers may recall lives in several bhava. A Buddha can recall as many as he wishes.
Pubbe Nivāsānussati Ñāṇa and Cutūpapāta Ñāṇa

9. Only some people can recall their past lives; typically, it is just the previous life. In rare cases, a person may be able to recall a few past lives (in the same human bhava.)

  • However, those who cultivate the (Ariya or anariya) fourth jhāna may be able to recall several past lives. That ability varies from person to person and increases with further cultivation of the jhāna.

During the night of Enlightenment, the Buddha attained three types of higher knowledge:

  1. Ability to recall past lives in human births (pubbe nivāsānussati ñāṇa),
  2. The ability to see any living being’s cuti (end of bhava) and paṭisandhi (grasping of a new bhava). This is the cutūpapāta ñāṇa.
  3. The attainment of the Buddhahood with āsavakkhaya ñāṇa. That involved grasping the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path to Nibbāna.

10. The first one allowed him to recall past lives in the human bhava (of him or anyone else.) Note that “nivāsa” means a “house.” That refers to the fact that a gandhabba needs to “build a house” (i.e., a physical body) by entering a womb; see #5 above. The pubbe nivāsānussati ñāṇa allows a Buddha to see all previous human lives. 

  • The next ñāṇa that he attained was the cutūpapāta ñāṇa. Here, the word cutūpapāta comes from “cuti” (death) and “uppatti” (birth.) That refers to the ending of one bhava and the start of a new bhava. The “cuti-paṭisandhi moment” is when a lifestream ends one bhava and starts a new bhava. This cutūpapāta ñāṇa allows a Buddha to look at how any lifestream evolved from bhava to bhava as far as he likes.
  • Those two types of ñāṇa allowed him to figure out Paṭicca Samuppāda, i.e., how a lifestream moves from bhava to bhava based on the kinds of kamma done. That led to the arising of the āsavakkhaya ñāṇa and the Buddhahood.
  • The difference between the first two types of ñāṇa is that the first one is ONLY about births with physical human bodies. The second one is an “expanded version” of the first one, showing the complete evolution of a lifestream. There is no need for the first ñāṇa without the gandhabba mechanism.
  • Those who don’t believe in the gandhabba concept can not explain the difference between those first two ñāṇa.
Anusaya Gets Transferred from Bhava to Bhava

11. Any anusaya (“ingrained defilements”) associated with the dying manomaya kāya gets “transferred” to the next one. We can say that the anusaya of the dying hadaya vatthu gets transferred to the new one. Hadaya vatthu is THE critical element in a manomaya kāya, the “essence of a lifestream.”

  • Hadaya vatthu defines a given existence as a human, Deva, Brahma, or one in an apaya.
  • Thus, it is critical to understand that all anusaya associated with a lifestream gets transferred from one hadaya vatthu to the next.
  • Of course, anusaya will keep changing over time. It will disappear at the Arahant-phala moment.
Anusaya in Terms of Samyōjana

11. The strength of anusaya is related to the number of saṁsāric bonds or samyōjana.

  • An average human has all ten samyōjana.
  • The first three samyōjana of sakkāya diṭṭhi, vicikicca, and sīlabbata parāmasa are broken at the Sotapanna stage.
  • Two more samyōjana (kāma rāga and paṭigha) are reduced in strength in the Sakadāgami stage and removed at the Anāgāmi stage.
  • The last five are broken at the Arahant stage.
  • See “Dasa Samyōjana – Bonds in Rebirth Process” and “Āsava, Anusaya, and Gati (Gathi)” for details.

All related posts at “Gati, Bhava, and Jāti.”

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