What is reborn after death?

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clyde
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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by clyde » Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:59 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:21 pm
"Gandharva" is simply name for a being born in the antarabhāva, the intermediate state, or bardo, just like "human being" is a name for someone born in the human realm, "animal" is the name for a being born in the animal realm, "preta" is the name for a being born in the preta realm and so on. The term was derived from gandharvas, which are somewhat equivalent to fairies, and often depicted with horses heads in Indian mythology, they are associated with music. In this case however, the term was chose because beings in the antarabhava persist on smells— gandharva literally means, "odor eater."
Thank you. I wonder if I could ask you about the nature of gandharvas.

In the Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta which I quoted above, it speaks of the three conditions necessary for a human birth which includes the existence of a gandharva. What are the conditions necessary for the birth of a gandharva? Would it be correct to say that what is born after the death of a human being is a gandharva? (And perhaps, what is born after the death of the gandharva is a human being?) And how are the skandhas of a gandharva different (“subtle types”?) than the skandhas of a human being?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Bristollad » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:35 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:47 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:01 pm
I haven’t seen any passage which suggests “the notion of a spirit being that transmigrates from life to life” hence why I asked.
From this post:
During the period between death and the next birth, a being is said to exist as a spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas (aggregates). It is called a gandharva and must wander and search for the place of its next birth.
That's exactly what it suggests. Hence the question.
A spirit that transmigrates from life to life is not the same as saying a spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas. The first implies something soul-like travelling from existence to existence, the second does not but you seemed to have equated the two

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:16 am

I can’t see a meaningful distinction.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Bristollad » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:26 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:16 am
I can’t see a meaningful distinction.
Really? :rolleye:

What part of the second passage suggests something soul-like?

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Admin_PC » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:28 am

If the passage is the result of a translation from Japanese then the likely term is 魂. This term doesn’t just mean spirit or soul, but the heart’s true wish (at least according to the dictionary I was just reading). The definition I read made it seem like it was the true wish of the heart/mind 心
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
法然上人

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:06 am

Bristollad wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:26 am
What part of the second passage suggests something soul-like?
The part that says 'a being is said to exist as a spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas'. That seems a pretty fair facsimile for 'the soul'.

If you look at the book that Aemilius quoted from, it says 'the majority of the schools of Nikaya Buddhism argued against the recognition of the state between lives. ....The status of the antarabhava apparently inspired considerable controversy among the schools of Nikaya Buddhism'. And this is the same controversy that we are now engaging in. So I don't think the status of this purported being can be regarded as canonical.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Aemilius » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:19 am

clyde wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 4:29 am
amanitamusc wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:16 am
clyde wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:08 pm


I know the suttas and sutras are reported to be Shakyamuni Buddha’s words, his teachings.
You believe what is reported.You don't know do you?
Do you believe Shakyamuni Buddha taught Mahayana and Tantra?
I don’t know if Shakyamuni Buddha actually spoke the words as recorded in each and every sutta and sutra, but the suttas are the basis of all Buddhist traditions and the sutras are the basis of the Mahayana traditions.
How about Abhidharma? Several early schools accepted it as a teaching of the Buddha, and hence we have Tripitaka,Three Baskets. According to Hirakawa Akira & Paul Groner, and Etienne Lamotte it was possibly at first called Matrika, summaries of the Dharma, an later these summaries began to be called Abhidharma.
Etienne Lamotte in History of Indian Buddhism, p. 180.. 181:
"TRADITIONS CONCERNING THE COMPILATION OF THE ABHIDHARMAPITAKA.
The accounts of the first council do not agree about the extent of scriptural activity undertaken
at Rajagriha: Certain sources assert that the Elders of the council did no more than compile the
Dharma and Vinaya, in other words, the first two Pitakas. Other sources attribute to Kashyapa
the compilation of a Matrika, summary; Mula sarvastivadin vinaya, the Legend of Ashoka. Hsuang Tsang
also attributes the compilation of the Abhidharmapitaka to Kashyapa.
However, the great majority of the sources state that an Abhidharmapitaka
was compiled at Rajagriha and that it was recited by Ananda.
Notwithstanding, they are not in agreement over the number of books of which it is compiled.
Abh. in 4 sections and 5 recitations; Chinese preface to the translation of the Dirgha.
Abh. in 4 sections; Samgraha, SatpraSnaka, Samyoga, Prasthaana, Nandimitravadana
Abh. in 5 sections; Sasamcodanaviveka, Asamcodanaviveka, Samyoga, Prayoga and Sthaana: Dharmagupta Vin.
Abh. in 5 sections; SapraSnaka, ApraSnaka, Samgraha, Samyoga and Sthaana: Haimavata Vinayamatrika
Abh. in 7 sections; Dhammasarigani, etc. : Pali commentaries (Sumangala, Atthasalini, Samantapasadika,
Abh. in 7 books (one body and 6 feet); the Sarvastivadin tradition."
svaha
"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.
They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Sarvē mānavāḥ svatantrāḥ samutpannāḥ vartantē api ca, gauravadr̥śā adhikāradr̥śā ca samānāḥ ēva vartantē. Ētē sarvē cētanā-tarka-śaktibhyāṁ susampannāḥ santi. Api ca, sarvē’pi bandhutva-bhāvanayā parasparaṁ vyavaharantu."
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1. (in english and sanskrit)

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Aryjna » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:07 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:06 am
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:26 am
What part of the second passage suggests something soul-like?
The part that says 'a being is said to exist as a spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas'. That seems a pretty fair facsimile for 'the soul'.
I don't think it sounds anything like a soul, given that a soul is considered to be eternal and already one's actual essence even while in a human body. A 'spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas' sounds like a different kind of being, not a soul-like essence that is already present in a human or animal form and is then laid bare in the bardo.

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Vasana » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:53 pm

A question I have been pondering. Maybe someone can answer?

At what point does the grasping of a self imputed on the aggregates cease in the intermediate state?
At the moment of the next live's conception?
'When alone, watch your mind. When with others, watch your speech'- Old Kadampa saying.

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Bristollad » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:19 pm

Aryjna wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:07 pm
Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:06 am
Bristollad wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:26 am
What part of the second passage suggests something soul-like?
The part that says 'a being is said to exist as a spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas'. That seems a pretty fair facsimile for 'the soul'.
I don't think it sounds anything like a soul, given that a soul is considered to be eternal and already one's actual essence even while in a human body. A 'spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas' sounds like a different kind of being, not a soul-like essence that is already present in a human or animal form and is then laid bare in the bardo.
I agree with you which is why I'm confused with Wayfarer's pov. To me, it's just not supported by the language.

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:52 pm

One thing that ought to be spelled out is that Hindus didn’t use the term ‘soul’. That is word of Greek origin which has been used to translate the Hindu ātman. But the literal meaning of ātman is ‘I am’, and it has many different connotations to the Greek word ‘soul’ which developed in an entirely different cultural milieu. My understanding of the word ‘soul’ is not as a reference to something which never changes, but simply to the totality of the being. And I think denying the reality of soul often comes very close to denying the reality of anything more than the physical body- in other words, it comes close to materialism pure and simple. So, it’s certainly true that ‘the soul’ is not part of the Buddhist lexicon, but the dogmatic rejection of the very idea is another matter.

What is consistently rejected by the Buddha is the idea of there being a self which doesn’t change, which is ‘set fast like mountain peak’, that ‘remains the same while all else changes’. Along with that, was the teaching that the ascetic was able to be re-born in perpetuity throughout an endless series of lives, which is quite a rational thing to believe in a culture which recognises the truth of re-birth. (All of this is spelled out in the Brahmajala Sutta.)

As Thanissaro puts it:
The idea that death can be followed by birth was not universally accepted in India in the Buddha's time. As DN 2 and MN 101 show, some prominent contemplative schools actively rejected the idea of rebirth while others affirmed it. Thus when the Buddha taught rebirth, he wasn't simply following an unexamined cultural assumption. He was consciously taking a stand on one of the controversial issues of his time. However, his explanation of rebirth differed from other schools on both sides of the issue in that he avoided the question of whether or not there's a "what" that gets reborn, or if there is a "what," what it is (SN 12.12; SN 12.35). He also discouraged such speculations as, "If I take rebirth, what was I in the past, and what will I be in the future?" (MN 2)

He put all these questions aside because they interfered with the path of practice leading to the end of suffering. Instead, he focused on the process of how birth happens, because the process involves factors that are immediately apparent to one's awareness throughout life and lie enough under one's control to turn them toward the ending of birth. An understanding of the process as process — and in particular, as an example of the process of dependent co-arising — can actually contribute to the end to suffering, because it gives guidance in how to apply the tasks appropriate for the four noble truths to all the factors in the process leading up to birth. 1
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:03 pm

clyde wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:59 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 9:21 pm
"Gandharva" is simply name for a being born in the antarabhāva, the intermediate state, or bardo, just like "human being" is a name for someone born in the human realm, "animal" is the name for a being born in the animal realm, "preta" is the name for a being born in the preta realm and so on. The term was derived from gandharvas, which are somewhat equivalent to fairies, and often depicted with horses heads in Indian mythology, they are associated with music. In this case however, the term was chose because beings in the antarabhava persist on smells— gandharva literally means, "odor eater."
Thank you. I wonder if I could ask you about the nature of gandharvas.

In the Mahatanhasankhaya Sutta which I quoted above, it speaks of the three conditions necessary for a human birth which includes the existence of a gandharva. What are the conditions necessary for the birth of a gandharva? Would it be correct to say that what is born after the death of a human being is a gandharva? (And perhaps, what is born after the death of the gandharva is a human being?) And how are the skandhas of a gandharva different (“subtle types”?) than the skandhas of a human being?
Think of it this way:

When you reside in New York, you are known as a New Yorker. But if you get on a train to to move to LA, now you are known as a "passenger," and will remain so until you reach your destination.

You can think of the bardo as Penn Station. You can think of the six realms as six cities to which you might move, such as Washington DC and so on.

All beings who pass away spend 49 days in the intermediate state before they take rebirth as a being in one of the six realms. Any being in the bardo is known as a gandharva, just as any one on a train in known as a passenger (apart from engineer, conductors, and transit cops).
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by clyde » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:24 am

Malcolm; Thank you again. However, while I understand your explanation, it doesn’t answer my questions.

The Buddha is reported to have spoken of the three conditions necessary for the birth of a human being which includes the presence of a gandharva, but what are the conditions for the arising of a gandharva or does it simply arise at the death of a being? And is it only the death of a human being or any sentient being? And what are the conditions for the passing away of a gandharva; i.e., does the gandharva cease a conception?

It seems that the gandharva is a bodiless being (“spirit”), yes? And the gandharva is composed of the five skandhas, yes? How is that possible without a body and the sense organs?


p.s: Given a succession of states from gandharva to human to gandharva to human . . ., one could just as easily call the human state the intermediate state!
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Bristollad » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:58 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:52 pm
One thing that ought to be spelled out is that Hindus didn’t use the term ‘soul’. That is word of Greek origin which has been used to translate the Hindu ātman. But the literal meaning of ātman is ‘I am’, and it has many different connotations to the Greek word ‘soul’ which developed in an entirely different cultural milieu. My understanding of the word ‘soul’ is not as a reference to something which never changes, but simply to the totality of the being. And I think denying the reality of soul often comes very close to denying the reality of anything more than the physical body- in other words, it comes close to materialism pure and simple. So, it’s certainly true that ‘the soul’ is not part of the Buddhist lexicon, but the dogmatic rejection of the very idea is another matter.

What is consistently rejected by the Buddha is the idea of there being a self which doesn’t change, which is ‘set fast like mountain peak’, that ‘remains the same while all else changes’. Along with that, was the teaching that the ascetic was able to be re-born in perpetuity throughout an endless series of lives, which is quite a rational thing to believe in a culture which recognises the truth of re-birth. (All of this is spelled out in the Brahmajala Sutta.)

As Thanissaro puts it:
The idea that death can be followed by birth was not universally accepted in India in the Buddha's time. As DN 2 and MN 101 show, some prominent contemplative schools actively rejected the idea of rebirth while others affirmed it. Thus when the Buddha taught rebirth, he wasn't simply following an unexamined cultural assumption. He was consciously taking a stand on one of the controversial issues of his time. However, his explanation of rebirth differed from other schools on both sides of the issue in that he avoided the question of whether or not there's a "what" that gets reborn, or if there is a "what," what it is (SN 12.12; SN 12.35). He also discouraged such speculations as, "If I take rebirth, what was I in the past, and what will I be in the future?" (MN 2)

He put all these questions aside because they interfered with the path of practice leading to the end of suffering. Instead, he focused on the process of how birth happens, because the process involves factors that are immediately apparent to one's awareness throughout life and lie enough under one's control to turn them toward the ending of birth. An understanding of the process as process — and in particular, as an example of the process of dependent co-arising — can actually contribute to the end to suffering, because it gives guidance in how to apply the tasks appropriate for the four noble truths to all the factors in the process leading up to birth. 1
So unlike the quote from Thanissaro, "He also discouraged such speculations as, "If I take rebirth, what was I in the past, and what will I be in the future?" (MN 2), the suggestion is that there is a totality of being that moves from rebirth to rebirth? I would contend that it is not just the word soul which is outside of the Buddhist lexicon, I would suggest this concept is also outside of Buddha's teachings. Using the word soul imo is problematic because its own associated meanings, not simply because it is not an exact correlate for ātman.

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:04 pm

clyde wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:24 am
It seems that the gandharva is a bodiless being (“spirit”), yes? And the gandharva is composed of the five skandhas, yes? How is that possible without a body and the sense organs?
Hell Beings, Preta and Gods in the formless realm also lack bodies and (human) sense organs. What is your point?
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Malcolm » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:42 pm

clyde wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:24 am
Malcolm; Thank you again. However, while I understand your explanation, it doesn’t answer my questions.

The Buddha is reported to have spoken of the three conditions necessary for the birth of a human being which includes the presence of a gandharva, but what are the conditions for the arising of a gandharva or does it simply arise at the death of a being? And is it only the death of a human being or any sentient being? And what are the conditions for the passing away of a gandharva; i.e., does the gandharva cease a conception?

It seems that the gandharva is a bodiless being (“spirit”), yes? And the gandharva is composed of the five skandhas, yes? How is that possible without a body and the sense organs?


p.s: Given a succession of states from gandharva to human to gandharva to human . . ., one could just as easily call the human state the intermediate state!

This has been explained, but I will explain it again. [Begin by placing your mind in the cosmological world view of the four elements] The body of a bardo being is made up principally of the element air, so bardo beings have a body, but it's physical body is principally the air element. The other four aggregates are mental, being mind and its mental factors.

The gandharva arises after the dis-integration or breaking up, of the five aggregates of this life at death. One's mind immediately appropriates this "subtle" body, which in the first three weeks after death, resembles the body of the deceased in features and proportion. However, being subtle, it is not visible to ordinary people. It has all senses organs because it has a subtle body. The kind of birth they have— out of the four types of birth, apparitional, warmth and moisture birth, egg birth, and womb birth— is apparitional birth, like devas, pretas, and hell beings. Gandharvas persist in the bardo for a maximum of 49 days. This time period is deceptive, because time does not function in the bardo the same way we perceive it. These forty nine "days" can elapse in moments, in any case, the classical time period is 49 human days.

When a gandharva enters the womb at conception it loses consciousness, and is not longer a bardo being, so it "passes away."
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by clyde » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:43 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:04 pm
clyde wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:24 am
It seems that the gandharva is a bodiless being (“spirit”), yes? And the gandharva is composed of the five skandhas, yes? How is that possible without a body and the sense organs?
Hell Beings, Preta and Gods in the formless realm also lack bodies and (human) sense organs. What is your point?
My question is how does the gandharva, a bodiless being “a spirit composed of subtle types of the five skandhas (aggregates),” have form (rupa)? Have sensation (vendana)? Have perception (sanna)?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by DGA » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:56 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:04 pm
clyde wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:24 am
It seems that the gandharva is a bodiless being (“spirit”), yes? And the gandharva is composed of the five skandhas, yes? How is that possible without a body and the sense organs?
Hell Beings, Preta and Gods in the formless realm also lack bodies and (human) sense organs. What is your point?
I think clyde was just asking a question there.

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by Grigoris » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:13 pm

DGA wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:56 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:04 pm
clyde wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:24 am
It seems that the gandharva is a bodiless being (“spirit”), yes? And the gandharva is composed of the five skandhas, yes? How is that possible without a body and the sense organs?
Hell Beings, Preta and Gods in the formless realm also lack bodies and (human) sense organs. What is your point?
I think clyde was just asking a question there.
Indeed. I think Malcolm answered it quite well.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: What is reborn after death?

Post by clyde » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:42 pm
This has been explained, but I will explain it again. [Begin by placing your mind in the cosmological world view of the four elements] The body of a bardo being is made up principally of the element air, so bardo beings have a body, but it's physical body is principally the air element. The other four aggregates are mental, being mind and its mental factors.

The gandharva arises after the dis-integration or breaking up, of the five aggregates of this life at death. One's mind immediately appropriates this "subtle" body, which in the first three weeks after death, resembles the body of the deceased in features and proportion. However, being subtle, it is not visible to ordinary people. It has all senses organs because it has a subtle body. The kind of birth they have— out of the four types of birth, apparitional, warmth and moisture birth, egg birth, and womb birth— is apparitional birth, like devas, pretas, and hell beings. Gandharvas persist in the bardo for a maximum of 49 days. This time period is deceptive, because time does not function in the bardo the same way we perceive it. These forty nine "days" can elapse in moments, in any case, the classical time period is 49 human days.

When a gandharva enters the womb at conception it loses consciousness, and is not longer a bardo being, so it "passes away."
Malcolm; I appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer my questions. And if you’ve explained it to me before, I don’t recall and apologize for re-asking.

But I still don’t understand.

When you say that the gandharva’s “physical body is principally the air element,” do you mean that literally or that it’s a gaseous body composed of what?

When you say that “[o]ne’s mind immediately appropriates this "subtle" body” (the gandharva), what does that mean and how does that occur?

When you say that the gandharva has sense organs, does that mean the gandharva has eyes? Ears? Nose? And if not, what?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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