There are numerous events reported by people having an out-of-body experience (OBE or Mano Kaya) especially during surgeries.These events typically involve a mind floating outside one’s body and, in some cases, perceiving one’s physical body from a place outside one’s body. Although the word “Mano kaya” is absent in Theravada Tripitaka cannon, the word “Manomaya kaya” can be found throughout the Theravada Tripitaka. “Manamewa Kayo Mano kayo” (” The body formed by the mind”) is the definition given for Manomaya kaya in Theravada Tripitaka, which mainly include the psychic abilities of creating things through mind a meditator gains after having completed the fourth Jhana ( Absorption) level through Tranquility meditation (Samatha Bhavana). These psychic abilities attained through meditation are threefold namely;
1. Adhistana Iddhi – Creating various objects through determination.
2. Wikurwana Iddhi – Creating various forms, appearing & disappearing, etc
3. Manomaya Iddhi – creating bodily forms similar to oneself. Ex : performance of the Buddha during twin miracle, Abhidhamma sermon, : performance of the monk Cullapanthaka, etc.
The super normal psychic abilities exist in the celestial beings is called “ Samuddimaya Manomaya kaya”, which means psychic abilities gained due to their wholesome merits in past births.
Apart from these two types of Manomaya kaya, there is no other type of Mano Kaya present in Theravada Tripitaka similar to out-of-body experience (OBE).
The interpretations like astral body projection or out-of-body experience do not quite adhere with Theravada Buddhism with regards to Five Aggregates, Laws of mind (Citta), etc.
* From the Theravada Buddhist perspective with regards to Five Aggregate, the beings are made of Five Aggregate namely, Rupa (Forms), Vedana (Feelings), Sanna (Perception), Sankhara (Volitional deeds), Vinnana (Mind) Which constitute both Nama ( Last four the five aggregates) and Rupa. Out of the 31 planes of existence, 26 (including human plane) are regarded as planes of Five Aggregates (Pancha vokara bhava) where both Nama and Rupa are present and cannot be separated. In Asannasatta plane only the Rupa exist without Nama and in four formless planes (Arupa realms) only the Nama exist without any Rupa (Eye, Ear, Nose, etc).
* Apart from the ten consciousness exist only in five senses (Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, Body), the rest of the 79 or 111 consciousness are Heart based (Hadaya wattu Rupa), exist only in the Hadaya wattu Rupa, an integral part of the body. In General anesthesia (GA) state during surgeries, a patient’s five senses ceased to function along with 10 related sense door cittas and mind based (Manodwarika) cittas. During this GA state, the life continuum or bhavanga are the only types of cittas that exist in the mind.
The Mind (Citta) coming out of the material body and wandering around in five Aggregates planes do not quite adhere with theravada Buddhist teachings.
May all Beings be well and happy & attains the fruits of Nibbana.