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Gandhabba

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Gandhabba (Pali) (i) as a celestial musician, (ii) as a being to be born; one of the three conditions required for conception.

In the case of most animals, a newly embodied life begins at conception or soon afterwards. The Buddha said that for conception to take place three things must be present – the sexual union of the parents, their fertility and the presence of the gandhabba, ie. the consciousness of the being who is to be reborn (M.I,265). This consciousness absorbs itself in the fertilised egg and begins to animate it so that it grows into a fully formed being.

The lowest among devas of the Cātummahārājika are regarded as heavenly musicians. Used in the second definition of a being to be reborn, there is much debate in Buddhism as to if this implies an In between state.

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