Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

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pael
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Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby pael » Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:58 pm

Buddha said mankind developed from Abhassaras. (Agganna Sutta) Where animals (mammals and reptiles) come from? Who/What/Which are their ancestor according by the Buddha/Sutras?
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Seishin
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Seishin » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:29 pm

Does he say "mankind" or does he say "beings"?

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Malcolm
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Malcolm » Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:35 pm

Seishin wrote:Does he say "mankind" or does he say "beings"?


Humans. But to answer the question, the asura, human, animal, preta and hells realm were all gradually filled sentient beings who took rebirth there from the third and fourth form realm.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby pael » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:19 pm

Were first animals of this world born from egg, womb, moisture or miracle (4 forms of birth)?
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Malcolm » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:22 pm

pael wrote:Were first animals of this world born from egg, womb, moisture or miracle (4 forms of birth)?


The first three, no animals are born by miraculous birth.

But, there is no account I am aware that goes into detail on this issue.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Seishin » Fri Nov 20, 2015 3:57 pm

I have heard some scholars say that this sutta was not meant to be taken literally, but was a rebuttal, almost taking the mickey, of the Brahman creation story. What are your thoughts on this?

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby pael » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:09 pm

I was wondering, how buddhist thought evolution? I have also been thinking Buddha was sarcastic during that discourse. Do buddhist interpret scientific research results throught view of karma?
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:41 am

Malcolm wrote:
pael wrote:Were first animals of this world born from egg, womb, moisture or miracle (4 forms of birth)?


The first three, no animals are born by miraculous birth.

But, there is no account I am aware that goes into detail on this issue.


The teaching of Pratitya Samutpada, or the 12 Nidanas, applies also to animals and the animal kingdom. According to Hirakawa Akira and Paul Groner (in their HIstory of Buddhism in India) the application of dependent arising to animals etc is explained in the Abhidharma literature.

Etienne Lamotte says that when Shanavasa, the disciple of Ananda, died, 10 000 works of Abhidharma disappeared from this world.
According to Lamotte again the Vibhasha says that "Much of the sutras have disappeared and little remains", and that "Ekottara Agama went originally from 1 to 100, now only the sutras from 1 to 10 remain". The teaching of the gradual appearance of different life forms may have existed in the lost Sutras or in the lost Abhidharma.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:00 am

I don't think classical Buddhism has any idea equivalent to evolution by natural selection, if that is the question. However the fact that it doesn't may not be of great significance overall.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:57 am

pael wrote:Buddha said mankind developed from Abhassaras. (Agganna Sutta) Where animals (mammals and reptiles) come from? Who/What/Which are their ancestor according by the Buddha/Sutras?


That does not mean that Abhassaras are a substantial, self-existing cause and origin for the development of humanity. Such idea is contrary to Buddhism.
How and when did Abhassaras/Abhasvaras arise? Can You please tell us?
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Anders » Tue Nov 24, 2015 2:08 pm

Wayfarer wrote:I don't think classical Buddhism has any idea equivalent to evolution by natural selection, if that is the question. However the fact that it doesn't may not be of great significance overall.


It seems to have more of a model of (d)evolution by moral selection. But interesting to note that the typical precursor for such devolution is that the environment goes to shit first. Ie, greed and avarice literally frak up the planet.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby boda » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:40 pm

Anders wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:I don't think classical Buddhism has any idea equivalent to evolution by natural selection, if that is the question. However the fact that it doesn't may not be of great significance overall.


It seems to have more of a model of (d)evolution by moral selection. But interesting to note that the typical precursor for such devolution is that the environment goes to shit first. Ie, greed and avarice literally frak up the planet.

So like the dinosaurs were immoral because some of them ate flesh and that caused an asteroid to collide with the earth?

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby smcj » Tue Nov 24, 2015 11:47 pm

Wayfarer wrote:I don't think classical Buddhism has any idea equivalent to evolution by natural selection...

No, but we do have the idea of interdependence, which evolution fits into quite nicely.
Do buddhist interpret scientific research results throught view of karma?

Both karma and interdependence. Personally I do, but I can't speak for others. I see the incredibly long time we creatures on this planet spent in the karmic loop of being dinosaurs as symptomatic of "endless cyclic existence". There's a teaching about seeing all the waters of the oceans as being equal to the blood you have spilled in previous existences. I think that sounds about right.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:58 am

I gave a lunchtime talk at University a long time ago on 'evolution and re-incarnation'. I remember I made a flyer for it - it was the early days of desktop publishing - with this graphic on it:

Image
Escher, 'Sky and Water'

Looking back on it, it was a pretty controversial topic (and I copped a bit of heat during the Q&A too!) At the time I believed in a kind of new-agey 'evolution of consciousness' idea - I have subsequently discovered this has become a movement called 'Conscious Evolution'.

Now my view is - well, first and foremost, the scientific account of evolution is a true account. But insofar as it is a biological theory, then there are many types of questions it won't and even can't consider. So regarding it as the explanation of everything about life and mind gives rise to 'biologism' or 'biological reductionism', which basically goes 'you're just another species, and the only reason you're here is to propogate'. This view is nowadays very influential in Western thinking.

I noticed a review in the Western Buddhist Review of Thomas Nagel's book Mind and Cosmos (here) which says, in part:

Nagel’s basic argument is this. If materialism cannot explain consciousness, then materialism cannot be a complete explanation of the natural order. ...It is perhaps easy to suppose that we could fully explain the beginning of the universe in terms of matter and forces and so on. But if the arising of life and subsequently consciousness cannot be explained in terms of matter and forces – that is, that life and consciousness are not susceptible to reductionist explanations – then materialism has not explained the natural order. Life and consciousness must always have been possibilities within the natural order, even before the conditions for their actual arising were not fully present. Therefore materialism is not a complete theory. Nagel does not stop there. In a chapter on ‘Cognition’, he goes on to argue that the faculty of reason, by which he means the capacity (for a few of us) to intuit truths that are independent of the mind, such as mathematical or logical truths, cannot be explained by evolutionary theory alone. Neo-Darwinian theory must explain the appearance of faculties such as reason as somehow adaptive, but we cannot explain the capacity for insight into the truth in terms of adaptation for survival. And in a chapter on ‘Value’ Nagel argues that our capacity to make correct moral judgements is based on the objectivity of good and bad, it being an objective matter that certain actions are good and certain bad, which is similarly inexplicable in terms of materialism alone. For each of these broad areas – consciousness, cognition and value – Nagel sketches what might count as more satisfactory explanatory theories. One such sort of theory would be intentional – that God has set up the natural order is such a way that there is consciousness, that we can intuit the truth and know good and bad. But Nagel does not explore intentional theories as he does not believe in God. He plays with panpsychism – the theory that mind is somehow in everything – but does not find this kind of metaphysical theory very useful. His preferred tentative solution is what he calls ‘teleological naturalism’, meaning the theory that the natural order is biased in some way towards the emergence of life and consciousness, as more-than-likely directions or potentials of development. He does not develop this theory but merely indicates that it might at least be along the right lines.

...Nagel’s starting point is not simply that he finds materialism partial or unconvincing, but that he himself has a metaphysical view or vision of reality that just cannot be accommodated within materialism. This vision is that the appearance of conscious beings in the universe is somehow what it is all for; that ‘Each of our lives is a part of the lengthy process of the universe gradually waking up and becoming aware of itself’.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby smcj » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:41 am

I've got a pet theory that I actually came up with on my own. It is 100% mine. To the best of my knowledge it is the only example I have of my own completely original thinking.

Anyway, it occurs to me that evolution is the antithesis of entropy. So if on some sort of universal esthetic, the universe has to keep the entropy/creativity balance, then wherever it is possible for sentient life to appear, there is an esthetic "pressure" of sorts for it to do so.

Now that's not a scientific hypothesis. It is an esthetic, poetic or literary appreciation of how things are. But since we are talking about stuff I thought I'd share my one original thought in life. Maybe someone else has thought it up too, but I did not get it from them.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:13 am

Incidentally, that Nagel book is really interesting, he caught all kinds of crap from the New Atheist crew for it. I enjoyed it, but found it weird because he puts forth the possibility of a teleological view of evolution, but seems to have literally no idea whatsoever that some Eastern thought has had a Teleological bent for thousands of years. Worth reading, if you can get past his being stuck in purely Western ideas.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:05 am

@smcj - have a look at http://www.informationphilosopher.com/i ... /creation/ (found via Philosophy Forum)

@jd - have a look at http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/ ... 07692.html

Thomas Nagel, 'heretic'.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby smcj » Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:34 am

Wayfarer wrote:@smcj - have a look at http://www.informationphilosopher.com/i ... /creation/ (found via Philosophy Forum

Spoilsport.

Well, I did come up with it on my own. And I thought it wasn't going to be scientific at all. Those damn scientists! :tantrum:
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Aemilius
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:51 am

Anders wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:I don't think classical Buddhism has any idea equivalent to evolution by natural selection, if that is the question. However the fact that it doesn't may not be of great significance overall.


It seems to have more of a model of (d)evolution by moral selection. But interesting to note that the typical precursor for such devolution is that the environment goes to shit first. Ie, greed and avarice literally frak up the planet.


Theoretically Buddhism sees that beings have no fixed nature, that they can change in the process of rebirth from human to deva, from animal to human, from god to human, or from human to hell being, etc.. Thus there are several kinds of development occurring in the wheel of becoming. Also according to Buddhism animals, insects etc, have volitions, which create karma, that shapes their future namarupa, ie name and form.

At the time of Vasubandhu there was in Abhidharma a discussion whether a species exists or not. See http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=13377&p=174882
The ideas in Buddhism about nature and species seem to have been quite rudimentary. The Shurangama sutra divides each of the six realms into ten subcategories, and accordingly there are also ten kinds of animals, in the Shurangama.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:36 am

Shurangama Sutra presents a kind of progressive evolution in the chapters of: Ten Categories of Hungry Ghosts, Ten Categories of Animals, Ten Categories of Human Beings, Ten Categories of Seers,...
The Sutra describes how hungry ghosts become animals, how animals become human beings, how human beings become seers (rishis), etc...
It is from page 258 onwards in the Charles Luk translation, http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/surangama.pdf
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