Are there any beings on earth that are samsedaja (born or arisen from moisture)? Are bacteria samsedaja?

  • Yes, I think binary fission, a form of asexual reproduction, is. Jun 28, 2014 at 3:42
  • 1
    The scientific term for the process is abiogenesis. The material that gives rise to abiogenesis is a variety of chemicals. The Scientific Buddha by Lopez gives an unsympathetic account of the attempt to match up Buddhism to science. Buddhist Biology by Barash is a more sympathetic attempt to do the same. I haven't finished reading either, can't say if they address the origin of life. Jun 29, 2014 at 1:06
  • @MatthewMartin, thanks for the book recommendations, I will give them a good read!
    – fxam
    Jun 29, 2014 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


Mahasi Sayadaw says:

Conception in moisture-laden media such as moss etc. (sansedaja), represents the coming into existence of some larva etc.


In this view, the larva seems to be seen as an embryonic stage.

Nina Van Gorkom says:

Queen Padumavati was conceived in a lotus blossom and Queen Veluvati in the hollow of bamboo plant. Cincamana who slandered the Buddha took rebirth in a tamarind tree.


These allusions are to cases where a human being was born miraculously outside of the womb; somewhat apocryphal.

She also says most insects are samsedaja, but that doesn't seem technically correct.

As for bacteria, I'm only going to state as an opinion that given that stem cells are not sentient, I'm not convinced that bacteria are either. There seems to have to be a higher level of organization for sentience to be possible. At any rate, there is no reason to assume that just because something is alive and reproducing that it is also sentient; unless the mind takes hold of the organism, there will be no sentience even in the case of a fertilized egg.

  • Thanks! What do you think about bacteria? Do they belong to animal realms, which can be taken rebirth as?
    – fxam
    Jun 28, 2014 at 23:35
  • sorry for missing the bacteria question; added some thoughts to the answer, but I have no real conclusion about them. Jun 28, 2014 at 23:50

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