What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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DooDoot
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What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by DooDoot » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:28 am

Dear forum

Suttas such as AN 4.123 say (per translation):
There is the case where an individual, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that. Staying there — fixed on that, dwelling there often, not falling away from that — then when he dies he reappears in conjunction with the Vehapphala devas. The Vehapphala devas, monks, have a life-span of 500 eons. A run-of-the-mill person having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, goes to hell, to the animal womb, to the state of the hungry shades. But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, is unbound right in that state of being. This, monks, is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor, between an educated disciple of the noble ones and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person, when there is a destination, a reappearing.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
If a deva does not have a physical body, how does a deva age and how does a deva have a "lifespan"? In other words, what causes make the deva fall away from their pure abode? For example, in the case of a physical person who has mastered jhana, I imagine they would remain a master of jhana in their life on earth until some very serious decay occurred to their physical body. I can see no reason why an adept yogi would lose their skill of jhana (apart from some serious physical illness or decay). Therefore, how do devas lose whatever conditions that sustain their pure abode? Do any suttas or commentaries offer any explanation of this? Thanks

:)

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by budo » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:22 am

My personal rationalization is that the human body contains earth and water properties, and deva bodies do not, thus their decaying process is longer. I remember reading when a deva gets angry they die. Anger is heat, and so the heat may disperse their energy. Humans also die when they get angry, as anger is cortisol, and cortisol leads to aging.

They are born instantly and I forgot the word for it, but just an image. They have no moisture like an insect being born from.

The 5 aggregates are everywhere, certain combinations lead to shorter life spans, other combinations lead to longer ones. Therefore I am inclined to believe they are "images" or "projections" with low amounts of heat, and perhaps similar to a mind made body which is also just an image.

Which is probably why Mara can take on many forms, as Mara is just an image.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by SarathW » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:38 am

I never had a doubt about this matter. I think it is quite feasible.
Every conscious moment has a lifespan. We have a conventional acceptance of what lifespan is.
Strictly speaking (perhaps as per Abhidhamma) we live only for one thought moment. (duration of a thought can be varied)
Based on that argument we live forever unless you attain Nibbana.
This is no different to conventional speech such as infant, boy or girl, adolescence, old man or woman etc.
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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by robertk » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:41 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:28 am

If a deva does not have a physical body, how does a deva age and how does a deva have a "lifespan"? I

:)
All devas have physical bodies. It is only the beings in the arupabrahma world thst are sans rupa( and thus no body) . They exist due to the force of kamma.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by budo » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:07 am

SarathW wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:38 am
I never had a doubt about this matter. I think it is quite feasible.
Every conscious moment has a lifespan. We have a conventional acceptance of what lifespan is.
Strictly speaking (perhaps as per Abhidhamma) we live only for one thought moment. (duration of a thought can be varied)
Based on that argument we live forever unless you attain Nibbana.
This is no different to conventional speech such as infant, boy or girl, adolescence, old man or woman etc.
I would say all these things aside, the saddest moment of existence is loss of memory. To me, loss of memory is death as it's relationships that give meaning to life. Even if you live forever, if you forget the people who love you, then you have nothing.

Imagine you wake up one day in the middle of the woods, and you forget that you have a family that loves you. Sure you won't be in pain in that moment because you don't know what you don't know, but imagine, that for a fleeting moment those memories flood back to your brain and you remember about your family and they're probably worried about you, and if you can get back to them then you'll feel like you're in heaven again, but if they're permanently gone, then you'll feel like you're in hell. This alone, would make me not ever want to be reborn as to not be in a position of losing anything again.

This edit of the animatrix sums it up, including showing all the alternate infinite existences and realities in the beginning, the boy at 1:31 being in the pod (trapped in samsara) reliving his memory, and the deva caressing him, which zooms out to show the infinite realities again.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by SarathW » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:16 am

Imagine you wake up one day in the middle of the woods
Yes, I was thinking about this scenario too. :D
Just imagine you wake up in the Buckingham Palace.
Imagine you wake up in your enemies house.
Imagine you wake up with some animals.
In this case, imagine you wake up as Deva.
Last edited by SarathW on Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by Dinsdale » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:06 am

budo wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:07 am
I would say all these things aside, the saddest moment of existence is loss of memory. To me, loss of memory is death as it's relationships that give meaning to life. Even if you live forever, if you forget the people who love you, then you have nothing.
With loss of memory you wouldn't even know who you are. I've seen this happen, a close relative with dementia.
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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by Volovsky » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:08 am

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:28 am
If a deva does not have a physical body, how does a deva age and how does a deva have a "lifespan"? In other words, what causes make the deva fall away from their pure abode? For example, in the case of a physical person who has mastered jhana, I imagine they would remain a master of jhana in their life on earth until some very serious decay occurred to their physical body. I can see no reason why an adept yogi would lose their skill of jhana (apart from some serious physical illness or decay). Therefore, how do devas lose whatever conditions that sustain their pure abode? Do any suttas or commentaries offer any explanation of this? Thanks
Are you asking about all devas or only of the rūpa jhāna planes? Or only the pure abodes? Anyway, I will answer the way I understood your question (i.e. lifespan of form sphere, non-pure abodes devas).

I would say their lifespan is limited because the power of jhāna, through which their lifes are sustained, is limited. The maximum it can give is a corresponding lifespan in a particular plane. But after that they may (or may not) be reborn in the same deva realm or in the higher one.

For the Mahābrahma (1st jhāna plane) the life cannot exceed 1 mahākappa also (in addition to the above reason) because the corresponding plane is destroyed at the end of the kappa, and they all are reborn in the higher planes.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by budo » Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:28 am

Dinsdale wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:06 am
budo wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:07 am
I would say all these things aside, the saddest moment of existence is loss of memory. To me, loss of memory is death as it's relationships that give meaning to life. Even if you live forever, if you forget the people who love you, then you have nothing.
With loss of memory you wouldn't even know who you are. I've seen this happen, a close relative with dementia.
With loss of complete memory yes, memory loss is not all or nothing, there is a varying degree. I've had short term memory loss where I didn't recognize my mother for about a minute. But in general the average person has a relatively poor memory. Do you remember what happened 3 months ago, the first Tuesday at 1:35pm? Not just your schedule but the exact 5 senses, your feelings, thoughts, etc.. Probably not, because you don't have perfect memory.

And in fact, research has shown that the more you recall a memory, the more you distort it because you're "overwriting" it every time you recall it. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/ob ... nge-video/

"And every time we subsequently recall that memory, it has to go through a new storage process—another slight delay for another consolidation. During that window, new information can interfere with the old information and alter the memory. Phelps says it is like playing the school game of telephone, where one student tells a short story to a second student, then that person retells it to a third, who tells it to a fourth, and so on. By the end of the chain the story is usually quite different from how it began."

This is also why Freud's psychoanalysis was problematic because he could easily implement fake memories into people, like that they were raped, when they weren't. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_memory

This is also why 30+ year old rape allegations are absurd, but that's another topic for another forum.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by whynotme » Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:43 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:28 am
Dear forum

Suttas such as AN 4.123 say (per translation):
There is the case where an individual, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that. Staying there — fixed on that, dwelling there often, not falling away from that — then when he dies he reappears in conjunction with the Vehapphala devas. The Vehapphala devas, monks, have a life-span of 500 eons. A run-of-the-mill person having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, goes to hell, to the animal womb, to the state of the hungry shades. But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, is unbound right in that state of being. This, monks, is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor, between an educated disciple of the noble ones and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person, when there is a destination, a reappearing.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
If a deva does not have a physical body, how does a deva age and how does a deva have a "lifespan"? In other words, what causes make the deva fall away from their pure abode? For example, in the case of a physical person who has mastered jhana, I imagine they would remain a master of jhana in their life on earth until some very serious decay occurred to their physical body. I can see no reason why an adept yogi would lose their skill of jhana (apart from some serious physical illness or decay). Therefore, how do devas lose whatever conditions that sustain their pure abode? Do any suttas or commentaries offer any explanation of this? Thanks

:)
Deva does not have physical body. All the other realms except human and animal use sanna or perception bodies.

If they are physical, scientist has already detected them. Another evidence that the deva world is not material, is that deva can not interfere with this physical world. Actually many people see a part of that world, but there is not even a smallest single evidence that the deva can interact with physical objects, given all the greed, hate and ignorance they still have. Most of the old sutta only tell the world of perception, i.e. a dream world. Of course the world of sanna must be based on material, but currently no one has show a consistent model that link these worlds.

You can think the world of deva is similar to the virtual world on the computer, where the hardware creates the 3D image on the screen. That is the world of deva. It must be based on material but it is just virtual perception.

And since everything must be based on material, it must decay. E.g. let say you create a virtual world in your computer, and you set a character that has a billion year lifespan. But the hardware that runs your software will be dead long before that. And the character in your virtual world will collapse.
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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by Zom » Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:51 pm

All the other realms except human and animal use sanna or perception bodies.
No.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by cappuccino » Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:09 pm

St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by Dinsdale » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:40 am

budo wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:28 am
Probably not, because you don't have perfect memory.
Sure, and in my experience memory is also very selective. But memory does seem to have a major role in identity. You know like when sometimes you wake up from a deep sleep, and for a few moments you're not sure who, what or where you are - then the memories return?

Anyway, this might be another thread.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by santa100 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:29 pm

DooDoot wrote:Therefore, how do devas lose whatever conditions that sustain their pure abode? Do any suttas or commentaries offer any explanation of this?
The answer is right there in the question: "whatever conditions that sustain". Conditioned phenomena, no matter how great and wonderful, like the form and formless jhanas are still conditioned. As such they cannot escape the grip of Anicca, Dukkha, Anatta.

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Re: What exactly is the "lifespan" of a deva?

Post by James Tan » Sat Oct 27, 2018 2:54 pm

DooDoot wrote:
Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:28 am
Dear forum

Suttas such as AN 4.123 say (per translation):
There is the case where an individual, with the abandoning of pleasure & stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain. He savors that, longs for that, finds satisfaction through that. Staying there — fixed on that, dwelling there often, not falling away from that — then when he dies he reappears in conjunction with the Vehapphala devas. The Vehapphala devas, monks, have a life-span of 500 eons. A run-of-the-mill person having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, goes to hell, to the animal womb, to the state of the hungry shades. But a disciple of the Blessed One, having stayed there, having used up all the life-span of those devas, is unbound right in that state of being. This, monks, is the difference, this the distinction, this the distinguishing factor, between an educated disciple of the noble ones and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person, when there is a destination, a reappearing.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
If a deva does not have a physical body, how does a deva age and how does a deva have a "lifespan"? In other words, what causes make the deva fall away from their pure abode? For example, in the case of a physical person who has mastered jhana, I imagine they would remain a master of jhana in their life on earth until some very serious decay occurred to their physical body. I can see no reason why an adept yogi would lose their skill of jhana (apart from some serious physical illness or decay). Therefore, how do devas lose whatever conditions that sustain their pure abode? Do any suttas or commentaries offer any explanation of this? Thanks

:)
I thought deva has a refine rupa which is of matter element .
Isn't that kamma determine the life span ?
When deva lifespan is reached their crown flowers will wither away , body would shrink ,
they started to sweat and body also smelling .
Some lower deva also has illnesses .

What I understand is there is some realms not
of deva and they practices dhamma . Of course , this is not in the Canon .
:reading:

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