More about Gender

I found valuable information about the two Bhāvarūpas here.
And I think females are born only in lower brahma realms, according to the Abhidhamma and Commenta
See here
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I always thought Brahmas didnt have gender at all. Only devas or lower had gender.


That’s true according to the abhidhammatasangaha:

In the rupa -plane decads of nose, tongue, body, sex and the material groups produced by food do not arise. Therefore to them at the time of rebirth there arise four material groups produced by Kamma, such as the three decads of eye, ear, and base, and the vital nonad. During life material qualities produced by mind and physical changes arise.

Some of those who have spontaneous birth in the kama -sphere are asexual. But all beings who are Spontaneously born in the rupa -sphere are not only asexual but are also devoid of sensitive nose, tongue, and body, though they possess those physical organs. The sensitive material qualities (pasadarupas) of those particular organs are lost as they are not of any practical use to Brahmas.

What I wonder is why do devas require gender at all since they are reborn spontaneously.

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Devas from tavatimsa and below can still have sex. so even though they cant get pregnant its a type of pleasure they can enjoy, and thus the point of having genders. devas above tavatimsa are still gendered but do not have sex (although they physically can and have the organs I believe) because they have much better things to enjoy but they still have romantic relationships

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The purpose of copulation is to ensure the lineage of a species and gene diversity. Nature usually does not design things with pleasure as purpose. If there is pleasure it is an incentive for a biological reason. If devas has gender simply for pleasure then I think it is kind of silly.

To be reborn in the deva realm someone need to accumulate lots of merit. That means practicing self control, generosity, etc. and not chasing pleasure and greed. I expect the kind of pleasure a deva enjoy to be in line with the behavior of someone that has the capacity to be reborn in the deva realm.

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Do you have any text on that, just as a matter of interest.


Brahmas don’t have a gender.

But the females who practice jhanas considered to be born as a genderless-brahma in a lower brahma realm than the male counterparts.

Eg: Brahmaparisajja < Brahmapurohita < Mahabrahma are reserved for the 1st Jhana.
Males can go to any of the three.
Females can only go to Brahmaparisajja. (to even Brahmapurohita, according to another opinion).
Either way they can’t go to Mahabrahma, according to traditional explanations.

That is why the Thatagata said a Female can’t be a Mahabrahma, according to traditional explanations.

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I dont think so. Everything about the deva realm is about sensual pleasure. They eat ambrosia, and enjoy fabulous pleasures. It would make sense gender for the sake of sensual pleasure would exist among devas, but not brahmas, who get their pleasure from superior jhanic bliss.

Page 535

To learn a few more details about the Yāma world and its inhabitants, we must leave the Pali
sources behind and turn to the Abhidharmakośa. That text tells us that the overall dimensions of
the Yāma realm are identical to those of Tāvatiṃsa, reinforcing the image
of the higher realms as more sublime translations of the lower.⁶⁵⁷ The height of the individual
Yāma devas is cited as three-quarters of a krośa in size. This is a unit of measurement not found
in the Pali, but according to the Abhidharmakośa itself, a krośa is one eighth of a yojana.⁶⁵⁸ This
measurement is not compatible with the Theravāda system. The Pali sources often state the height of
the Tāvatiṃsa devas as being three- quarters of a yojana, and it would not be likely given the
general assumptions of the cosmology, to have a higher class of beings smaller than a lower class.

The passage of time in the higher saggas is not measured by the sun, which does not rise above the
height of the Yugandhara Mountains⁶⁵⁹ but by the singing of birds, the opening of flowers and the
natural sleep cycle of the devas.

The Yāma world is still on the plane of sense desire, the beings are divided into genders and they
make love with one another. However, as we ascend through the levels the sensuality becomes more
refined and sublime. While the devas of the two “terrestrial” saggas copulate much like human
beings, except that the males emit no semen, the Yāma devas make love simply by embracing.⁶⁶⁰

Thank you. Although I think we need more than the Abhidhammakosa to rely on - it is not Theravada.

Anyway we know in the deva world there are female and male and some male devas have many wives.
So there must be some sort of physical interaction.


yeah you would expect that, especially since every deva realms ruler has a wife.


The going phrase “500 wives” is quite common in cross religions.
If you look at those who are very religious and participate in Church or Buddhist Dhamma-talks, you will see a large disproportion of female to male. Not exactly 500 to 1 but maybe 5 or 10 to 1. Definitely more than double.
If you were to think about “olden times” from which most of saṃsāra exists, the man does all of the dirty work to earn the living, while the female just takes care of the family. It makes a lot of logical sense actually.

Yes, and even in mahayana temples bhikkhuni usually outnumber bhikkhu. Women are generally more religious, perhaps just by nature as an impulse to keep the family secure.

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I searched for the term “wife” in Vimanavatthu (using this pdf [1]) and did not find any statement that indicate that devas has wife. For both devas and devis they are accompanied by a lot of nymphs though. I am not sure what nymphs refer to.

[1] (rename .jpg to .pdf)

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In Asian culture. Any (female) who you have sex with is a “wife”. Asia has a term called a “short-term wife” that you pay for. Marriage ceremonies don’t matter actually. For 3rd precept, you need the female protector’s permission.
When the father “gives away the bride”, well… that is some of the old school tradition found even in the West.

I’m not sure if this applies to the text reference you quote. But what is said here by itself is relevant.

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This famous Dhammapada store has “husband”

[36] 4. Patipūjikakumārivatthu

4. husband-honorer

  1. Even while a man is gathering flowers, while his heart is absorbed in pleasure,
    Even before he has satisfied his desires, death overpowers him.
    This religious instruction was given by the Teacher while he was in residence at Sāvatthi with reference to a woman named husband-honorer, Patipūjikā. The story begins in the World of the Thirty-three.

It is in reference to her previous life as a human.

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I think you need to read the whole story.
Her merit dedicated in honor of her husband was for her deva husband and to go back. The funny part was everyone thought it was for her human husband. You fell for the same thing… :slight_smile:

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You are right. It was in reference to the god Garland-wearner in the realm of thirty-three.

It is funny though that the deva criticize the humans for sleeping even though they only have a short life span while he is being decked by flowers by 500 nymphs above and below.