Is Buddha only human past lives rebirth in sutta?

Dear Friend, Welcome to Discuss & Discover. I read in the sutta the Buddha past lives rebirths. I also knowing Jataka Story about Buddha past lives rebirths as animals.

When my mind had become immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward recollection of past lives. I recollected many kinds of past lives. That is: one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand rebirths; many eons of the world contracting, many eons of the world expanding, many eons of the world contracting and expanding. I remembered: ‘There, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn somewhere else. There, too, I was named this, my clan was that, I looked like this, and that was my food. This was how I felt pleasure and pain, and that was how my life ended. When I passed away from that place I was reborn here.’ And so I recollected my many kinds of past lives, with features and details.

Sutta have Buddha always with name and clan. Animal cannot have name and clan. Sutta have Buddha always with food. Can the God eat the food? Is Buddha only human past lives rebirth in sutta?

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I have read many Jataka tales. I know some jatakas where lord buddha was not human but he was sometimes naga, sakka the ruler of gods, and many other things other than human.

See jatakas are there to show how buddha perfected himself, how he fulfilled perfections to achieve buddhahood. So most of the time he was human or animal. That doesn’t mean in his innumerable past lives he was just human or animal. He was also god, Brahma. Life of gods is just filled with pleasures of senses so in Jatakas usually we don’t see story when Bodhisattva as a god is enjoying happiness in heaven. Reason is that, the purpose of jatakas is to show how Buddha in his past lives faced difficulties and fulfilled perfections, demonstration of his acts of compassion and wisdom. Only in human realm perfections can be fulfilled and merit can be attained and not in heavenly realms usually. Hence usually he is human or animal in jatakas. And difficulties are not there in lives of gods in heaven so his lives in heavens are not given Usually.

All of the things which can be enjoyed, I think gods can very well do that.


“Sāriputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through the round of rebirths.’ But it is not easy to find a realm in the round that I have not already passed through in this long journey, except for the gods of the Pure Abodes; and had I passed through the round as a god in the Pure Abodes, I would never have returned to this world.


Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures … and has right view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of the gods. There they survive feeding on the food of the gods. The conditions there too are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

All that said, I don’t believe that we find examples of the Bodhisatta’s lives in the suttas where he is anything other than a human. What conclusions we can draw from that I don’t know.


This is good. Thank you.

Buddha came from heaven and entered his mother womb in the MN 123.

This not answer the question. This is about abodes of purity and not about past lives rebirth.

Oh, of course. Forgot about that mention.

What it is saying is that he has not been reborn in the pure abodes. And that it’s hard to find any other realm of rebirth he has not been born in. That says to me that he clearly has been born as animal, ghost, hell, etc.

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Are there references in the suttas to gender changes across the Bodhisatta’s lives?

Are you asking if the Bodhisatta was ever born female in the suttas? I don’t think so. The suttas only have just a handful of lives mentioned. I’m not even sure if there is a Jātaka where he is born female.

Bhikkhu Analayo has an article entitled “The Buddha’s Past Life as a Princess in the Ekottarika-āgama


Thanks very much for the link.