Four forms of birth
four forms of birth
四生 (Jpn shi-sho )
A classification of the ways of coming into existence. They are:
(1) birth from the womb, as in the case of mammals;
(2) birth from eggs, as in the case of birds;
(3) birth from dampness (or moisture)—the way worms were thought to be generated; and
(4) birth by transformation, that is, spontaneous birth without the womb, eggs, or dampness, as in the cases of deities and beings in the hells.
It is said that, after their previous lives end, such beings suddenly appear in this fashion due to their karma, without the help of parents or any other agency. The term "four forms of birth" often appears in conjunction with the six paths, such as in "transmigrating through the six paths and the four forms of birth" and "the living beings of the six paths and the four forms of birth."