Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Dharma Flower
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:40 pm

Wayfarer wrote:I think it's a mistake for Buddhists to get into creationism. The scientific account of evolution is perfectly sound, as far as it goes, but the Buddha never came to proclaim a scientific theory about the origin of species. He was concerned with demonstrating the origin of suffering because of dependent origination, and this doesn't depend on any specific theory about the origin of mankind and animals.

No use starting an argument where there need not be one.


What the Agganna Sutta describes is not creationism. Instead, what the Buddha teaches is that we devolved from beings from a higher realm, who fell to this earth and became more physical over time:
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/AggannaSutta.pdf

If the Buddha, as the perfectly awakened one, never taught deceitfully, what reason would there be to have an argument about it? We either accept what he taught in the sutta or we don't, and then we move on.

It just so happens that Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson, based on eight years of research, documented dozens of cases in which mainstream archeologists discovered evidences for extreme human antiquity, such as human artifacts and skeletal remains, millions of years deeper into the fossil record than the evolutionary timeline would allow. These discoveries were originally published in mainstream archaeological literature, only to then be suppressed or explained away because they didn't fit the dominant paradigm.

For example, Mary Leaky discovered three million year old footprints of anatomically modern humans, and then explained it away because it didn't fit the evolutionary paradigm:

So what do we have here? We have evidence that the Laetoli footprints are like those of modern humans, in terms of both their shape and gait. But none of the above mentioned scientists believed that the Laetoli footprints were made by humans like us. Why not? According to their theories, humans like us had not evolved yet. Supporters of the current evolutionary theories of human origins believe that humans like us first came into existence between one hundred and two hundred thousand years ago. Before that, there were (supposedly) only more primitive apelike an­cestors of modern humans. So according to these scientists and their colleagues, who actually did make the Laetoli prints? They have various theories. Mary Leakey, for example, believed that the footprints were made by some kind of apeman who had feet exactly like those of modern human beings. That is an interesting idea, but there is no skeletal evidence to support it. We have the skeletons of the apemen who existed at that time, three or four million years ago. And none of them have foot bones like those of modern human beings. Their toes are longer than modern human toes. In particular, the apemen of that time period have long first toes that can extend out to the side, sort of like the thumb of the modern human hand. Altogether, the feet of the apemen from that time (Australopithecus, Ardipithe­cus, Kenyanthropus, etc.) resemble those of apes. Actually, the only creature known to science today (from skeletal remains) that has a foot exactly like that of a modern human being is, in fact, the modern human species.
http://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/artic ... years-ago/


As Hindus, Cremo and Thompson believe the same thing about human origins that the Buddha taught in the Agganna Sutta, that our ancestors devolved from beings who came down from the higher realm. Their personal religious beliefs, however, are not mentioned in the book and are unrelated to the validity of the evidences they provide. This is the condensed version of Forbidden Archeology:
http://www.krishnapath.org/library/vedi ... -download/

If there is any evidence within the Agganna Sutta itself that the Buddha didn't intend it to be taken as actual history, please let me know. I would be happy to see whatever evidence that one is able to share.

This is Master Sheng Yen explaining human origins based on the Agganna Sutta:
http://ddmbachicago.org/where-did-the-u ... come-from/

This is Master Hsuan Hua explaining human origins based on the Agganna Sutta:
http://www.liaotuo.org/fjrw/hcrw/xhsr/97880.html

Please note that both of these Buddhist masters were aware of evolutionary theory, and yet they found the Buddha's explanation in the Agganna Sutta more compelling.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby boda » Thu Dec 29, 2016 11:13 pm

Wayfarer wrote:I think it's a mistake for Buddhists to get into creationism. The scientific account of evolution is perfectly sound, as far as it goes, but the Buddha never came to proclaim a scientific theory about the origin of species. He was concerned with demonstrating the origin of suffering because of dependent origination, and this doesn't depend on any specific theory about the origin of mankind and animals.


It may be a tad inconsistent with creationism.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:37 am

I interpret the Agganna Sutta as a fable. It is very interesting that it tells of the 'contraction and expansion of the Universe'. Barbara O'Brien, whose articles I generally admire, refers to it as a Buddhist creation fable. More to the point, fables tell us truths that science can't, but that doesn't make the science incorrect. It's simply that science has to stick with what can be measured and accounted for, and Spirit leaves no fossils. :smile:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:32 am

Wayfarer wrote:I interpret the Agganna Sutta as a fable. It is very interesting that it tells of the 'contraction and expansion of the Universe'. Barbara O'Brien, whose articles I generally admire, refers to it as a Buddhist creation fable. More to the point, fables tell us truths that science can't, but that doesn't make the science incorrect. It's simply that science has to stick with what can be measured and accounted for, and Spirit leaves no fossils. :smile:


What evidence is there from the Agganna Sutta itself or from Buddhist masters throughout history that it's meant to be read as a fable rather than a historical account of human origins?

The scientific method is based on what can be tested and repeated in the present. Prehistory doesn't fit that criteria because it is, by definition, before witnesses were around to record what really happened.

Any scientific theory on human origins will be based on one's interpretation of the evidence, rather than the evidence itself, since whatever happened millions of years ago cannot be observed and repeated in the present.

It is not creationism to believe the Buddha's account in the Agganna Sutta rather than the best guesses that modern scientists are able to make, since what the Buddha describes in the Agganna Sutta is not creationism. Please read the Agganna Sutta for yourself and honestly tell me what you think he meant by it:
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/AggannaSutta.pdf

What the Buddha describes in the Agganna Sutta is not creationism and it's not evolution either. Instead, it's our ancestors descending from the higher realm and devolving over time, as their bodies became more and more physical and their spiritual nature became more and more lost.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:22 am

After reading the Agganna Sutta with an open mind, I am now more confident in the truth of the Buddha's teachings than ever before, because it removed the Western materialistic blinders which prevented me from looking at the Buddha's teachings with the worldview that he originally intended.

Dharma Flower
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:21 pm

I'm sorry if I have given the impression that I am anti-science. I have a profound appreciation for science, especially for the late Carl Sagan.

What I don't appreciate is when there's a lack of respect for a diversity of perspectives on human origins, especially since no witnesses were around to record what really happened. The scientific method is based on what can be observed and repeated in the present.

Though a minority, there are many legitimate scientists who don't believe we share a common ancestor with apes, and some of them are definitely not young earth creationists. These scientists present valid reasons for doubting common descent other than their personal religious beliefs.

While there is no creator god in Buddhism, the depiction of human origins in the Agganna Sutta as described by the Buddha is nonetheless incompatible with the theory of human evolution:
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/AggannaSutta.pdf

Buddhist masters throughout history have based their understanding of human origins on the Agganna Sutta, even after Charles Darwin promulgated his theory. Even in our own time, Dharma masters like Sheng Yen have consciously chosen the Buddha's description of human origins over Darwin's.

This is not to say that it's impossible or unacceptable for a Buddhist to believe that we share a common ancestor with apes, but that would contradict the plainest meaning of the Agganna Sutta as taught by the Buddha.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:32 am

I would like to point out what probably goes without saying, that similarities between humans and chimps do not in and of itself demonstrate common ancestry.

Scientists have discovered numerous species with strikingly similar features that didn't result from common ancestry, and this is often called convergent evolution:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_e ... _evolution

Probably the most amazing examples are marsupial and placental mammals that are similar to each other in so many anatomical details, albeit not resulting from common descent:

Image

A Buddhist who believes that new species arise due to the outworking of karma, the universal law of cause and effect, might believe that species arise with similar features because the beings who reincarnated as those species had similar karma. Therefore, the beings who first reincarnated as placental moles might have had similar karma to the beings who first reincarnated as marsupial moles, etc.

The reason why chimps might be so similar to modern humans might be that the beings who first reincarnated as chimps had similar karma to the beings who first reincarnated as modern humans, an explanation distinct from both evolution and creationism.

According to traditional Buddhist teachings, only humans are capable of attaining enlightenment. Those who reincarnate as a "lower" species is because their karma hasn't ripened enough yet to be ready for a human lifetime. Please let me know if I am not explaining this clearly.

This process of species arising due to the outworking of karma, rather than Darwinian evolution, was described by Master Sheng Yen, in the same Dharma talk he gave based on the Agganna Sutta:

http://ddmbachicago.org/where-did-the-u ... come-from/

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Sat Dec 31, 2016 7:20 am

The similarities between placental mammals and their marsupial analogues are more than just anatomical. Studies of placental and marsupial genomes have found more genetic similarities than what might have otherwise been expected:

Marsupials and eutherians have been evolving along unique pathways for more than 100 million yr (possibly much more) and represent alternative, rather than inferior or superior, evolutionary solutions to the basic mammalian way of life. The essential similarities among metatherian and eutherian mammals--the legacy of their common ancestry--far outnumber and outweigh their differences. Indeed, their differences represent superficial variants on common mammalian themes that are best viewed as potential probes for the study of underlying molecular processes shared by all mammalian taxa.
http://ilarjournal.oxfordjournals.org/c ... 3/203.full


This might cause some to question that the genetic similarities between chimps and humans resulted from common descent.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Sat Dec 31, 2016 8:41 am

Here is more evidence of genetic similarities between placental and marsupial mammals that are more than what would have otherwise been expected:

"There are a few differences, we have a few more of this, a few less of that, but they are the same genes and a lot of them are in the same order," center Director Jenny Graves told reporters in Melbourne.

"We thought they'd be completely scrambled, but they're not. There is great chunks of the human genome which is sitting right there in the kangaroo genome," Graves said, according to AAP.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-austr ... P020081118


Such similarities are not what geneticists expected to find:

Des Cooper’s foresight in exploring the marsupial genome has paid off in ways we could not have foreseen. When I started mapping kangaroo genes at his behest, other scientists told me I was wasting my time; some avowed that marsupials would be so different from human and mouse that comparison would be meaningless, while others warned that the exercise was pointless as they would prove to be exactly the same as our familiar models.
http://www.publish.csiro.au/zo/Fulltext/zo13002


If placental mammals and marsupials are more anatomically and genetically similar than evolution would predict for such divergent species, then that calls into question that the anatomical and genetic similarities between chimps and humans are due to common descent.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:36 am

Here is another thing to keep in mind. According to Karl Popper, perhaps the most influential philosopher of science in the 20th century, who set falsifiability as the standard for scientific discovery, Darwinian evolution is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research program:

I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme—a possible framework for testable scientific theories. [Popper, 1976, p. 168]

. . . because I intend to argue that the theory of natural selection is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme; . . . [Popper, 1976, p. 151]
https://ncse.com/cej/6/2/what-did-karl- ... -evolution


Even though, under pressure, Popper publicly recanted his views on evolution, he never really changed his views:

Early in his career, the philosopher Karl Popper (yes, cited by F and P-P) called evolution via natural selection "almost a tautology" and "not a testable scientific theory but a metaphysical research program." Attacked for these criticisms, Popper took them back. But when I interviewed him in 1992, he blurted out that he still found Darwin's theory dissatisfying. "One ought to look for alternatives!" Popper exclaimed, banging his kitchen table.
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cr ... evolution/


Science has amazing ability to benefit our lives, based on what it's able to observe and test in the present. Matters of prehistory, on the other hand, are a different matter, since no one was around to witness what really happened.

People will need to read the traditional Buddhist teachings on human origins and then evaluate the evidence for themselves, with traditional Buddhist teachings in mind, and form their own conclusions. No one can be compelled to believe one way or another.

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Aemilius
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jan 02, 2017 9:44 am

Dharma Flower wrote:Are there any other sutras I should read about human origins besides the Agganna Sutta? I appreciate your recommendations.


The topic is implied in the teaching of the kalpas or world periods. Kalpas are mentioned in several sutras, but they are explained only in the Abhidharma, to my knowledge.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Mon Jan 02, 2017 10:10 am

Aemilius wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:Are there any other sutras I should read about human origins besides the Agganna Sutta? I appreciate your recommendations.


The topic is implied in the teaching of the kalpas or world periods. Kalpas are mentioned in several sutras, but they are explained only in the Abhidharma, to my knowledge.


In the sutras, how far back does human history go on this planet? In the Hindu scriptures, it goes back up to two billion years. I'm not very familiar with how far back human history goes on this planet according to the Buddhist scriptures. Thank you for any information you might have.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:04 am

If one doesn't believe that beings with god-like powers from the deva realm exist in the first place, then one will never believe that we devolved from them as told in the Agganna Sutta. While similarities between chimps and humans might suggest common ancestry, we should also consider our profound differences.

Humans share 98% of their DNA with chimps, but only if we ignore 18% of their genome and 25% of ours:

http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/disse ... ink-339756

There are also massive differences between chimps and humans in language and intelligence:

Jane Goodall's study of chimpanzees not only points to striking chimp-human similarities but also pinpoints differences. Aside from the obvious physical traits, perhaps the most significant difference is that chimpanzees do not have a spoken language. This is due to the fact that chimps do not have a vocal tract. This human development can be attributed to various human adaptations working in conjunction, including walking upright and learning to cook our food (leading to smaller jaws and larger brains).

Our intellect dwarfs that of even the most gifted chimpanzee. The fact that chimpanzees can learn from humans, to communicate using human languages such as American Sign Language or lexigrams, does not change this. Language is believed to have played a major role: humans can discuss things or events not present, share knowledge of the distant past, make plans for the distant future, while no other animals can.
http://www.janegoodall.ca/about-chimp-s ... ifferences

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:44 am

Dharma Flower wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:Are there any other sutras I should read about human origins besides the Agganna Sutta? I appreciate your recommendations.


The topic is implied in the teaching of the kalpas or world periods. Kalpas are mentioned in several sutras, but they are explained only in the Abhidharma, to my knowledge.


In the sutras, how far back does human history go on this planet? In the Hindu scriptures, it goes back up to two billion years. I'm not very familiar with how far back human history goes on this planet according to the Buddhist scriptures. Thank you for any information you might have.


There are accounts of the Buddhas previous to Shakyamuni, in this kalpa. You might be able to get some idea from that how many years it would sum up; there is the era of a Buddha's true doctrine and then the era of its degeneration, before a new Buddha can appear. And also the era before the appearance of the first Buddha of this kalpa.

Buddhism doesn't usually pay too much attention to animals, however Hirakawa Akira and Paul Groner say that some abhidharmikas have applied the formula of dependent origination to plants. These texts have not been translated into english.
Dependent origination includes animals, but it doens't give time frames of their appearance, normally. There is a progressive appearance of species (denizens of hell, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, etc.) in the Shurangama sutra, which has been popular in China. Astus knows something about the chinese buddhist evolution like teaching of the appearance of life in this world. You could ask him.

Accounts of the previous Buddhas are found in Buddhavamsa, Mahavastu, and Bhadrakalpika sutra. Theravadin commentator Buddhaghosha explains kalpas in his Path of Purification. Buddhaghosha also explains a method of meditation of remembering the purvanivasana, i.e. your previous births or previous dwellings. With that you could remember Yourself what actually happened during the past periods and eras and how long they lasted. Good luck!
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Wed Jan 04, 2017 9:32 pm

Aemilius wrote:Accounts of the previous Buddhas are found in Buddhavamsa, Mahavastu, and Bhadrakalpika sutra. Theravadin commentator Buddhaghosha explains kalpas in his Path of Purification. Buddhaghosha also explains a method of meditation of remembering the purvanivasana, i.e. your previous births or previous dwellings. With that you could remember Yourself what actually happened during the past periods and eras and how long they lasted. Good luck!


This might mean that human history on this planet goes back many millions of years earlier than what mainstream scientists are telling us.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:03 am

From what I've read so far, the first Buddha on this planet, Tanhankara, was from a previous kalpa. This would suggest that humans have existed on this earth for many millions of years before the evolutionary timeline would allow.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:04 am

Dharma Flower wrote: What evidence is there from the Agganna Sutta itself or from Buddhist masters throughout history that it's meant to be read as a fable rather than a historical account of human origins?

The scientific method is based on what can be tested and repeated in the present. Prehistory doesn't fit that criteria because it is, by definition, before witnesses were around to record what really happened.


I think the scripture can be read sympathetically, without it being read literally. Richard Gombrich, says in his book Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo the sutta can be understood as a satire of brahminical claims regarding the divine nature of the caste system, showing that such claims are nothing but a human convention. According to Gombrich, it is based on a satire of the Vedic "Hymn of the Cosmic Man".

It's a shame that you have such beliefs about the apparent discrepancies with scientific analysis. Let me make it clear, I don't accept 'scientific materialism' at all. But this doesn't rely on some 'alternative archeology' or the idea that scientists have somehow messed it all up. I'm sorry to say but this doesn't seem any more credible to me than finding Noah's Ark on some mountain somewhere. (And people do try and do that.)

I don't want to seem cruel or hostile, but I really feel you're being mislead in this matter. The so-called 'evidence' about fossil discrepancies and the like, really do have scientific explanations. And I think there is very, very solid fossil evidence that h. sapiens came into being sometime around 60-80,000 years ago. Sure there are many puzzles and unknowns, but the 'argument from ignorance' - the idea that 'science doesn't know what happened because it was a long time ago - is not a strong one. Science has discovered all kinds of things that were unknown in the Buddha's day.

The talk about 'mainstream science' is really like 'conspiracy theory' stuff - that 'they' are trying to hide things, or conceal things, or conform to a script. Science doesn't work like that. If some scientist found evidence of h. sapiens from a million years ago, it would be enormous news, there would be no way to conceal that or cover it up. Scientists love overturning accepted science - that is how science works. The only time 'dogma' comes into it, is when it becomes 'scientific materialism', but evolutionary biology, as such, doesn't necessarily support that

At the end of the Agganna Sutta, the 'moral of the story' is simply - follow dharma, understand dependent origination, practice the path. It doesn't need to depend on disputing the scientific facts. If the science is wrong, scientists will correct it, but if your belief system requires you to believe that the science must be wrong, then I think you ought to re-examine your belief system.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:09 pm

Wayfarer wrote:At the end of the Agganna Sutta, the 'moral of the story' is simply - follow dharma, understand dependent origination, practice the path. It doesn't need to depend on disputing the scientific facts. If the science is wrong, scientists will correct it, but if your belief system requires you to believe that the science must be wrong, then I think you ought to re-examine your belief system.


Can you please tell me which Dharma masters taught that the Agganna Sutta is just an allegory rather than a description of historical events? Can you please elaborate more on what evidence there is within the text itself that it's meant to be read only symbolically? Do the sutras state, if taken literally, that human history on this planet goes back many millions of years more than the evolutionary timeline would allow?

According to modern science, the universe is only about 14 billion years old, and yet the Infinite Life Sutra tells us that Amida attained Buddhahood ten kalpas ago. If the Agganna Sutta isn't describing historical events, simply because it contradicts mainstream scientific theories, why believe that Amida is a real Buddha, which also contradicts mainstream scientific theories?

Unless the evidence for common descent with chimps is unequivocal and incontrovertible, I will prefer the Buddha's explanation in the Agganna Sutta, as echoed by Dharma masters throughout history. Since no witnesses were around to record what really happened, we will have to interpret the evidence for ourselves and form our own conclusions. No one can be compelled to believe one way or another.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 10:23 pm

In respect of your question about dharma masters, this quotation is relevant:

“If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”



― Dalai Lama XIV, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality

This quotation is discussed in a Tricycle magazine article, Under One Umbrella, where Lama Thubten Chodron (Dalai Lama's translator) is asked to elaborate:

Q: The Dalai Lama has been widely quoted in the popular press as saying: “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.” How are we to understand this statement?

A: His Holiness understands that Buddhist thought has some aspects that involve empirical claims. These aspects are the ones that thoroughly engage with science. These empirical claims may or may not stand up to current scientific understanding. And if they don’t, in the light of new scientific findings, they are amenable to being changed. But there are other dimensions of Buddhist thought, such as its philosophical and ethical dimensions. His Holiness has a conception of science that does not claim the totality of reality.

It really depends on your conception of the scope of science. If you believe that anything that is knowable, anything that is real, has to somehow come under the scope of science, then of course you have conflict. But if your understanding of science is that science is a particular way of doing things—a particular way of knowing that includes a particular methodology—then some aspects of reality may fall into this category and some aspects may not.

For example, right and wrong, good and bad have no scientific status. Science cannot tell us what is right and what is wrong. You cannot derive moral statements from statements that have to do with fact. And this has been acknowledged in the West since David Hume’s time. Hume famously stated: “No ought from is.” And in a sense His Holiness is agreeing. Science is in the business of trying to understand the facts. But how we use the facts is a different category of question.


As one example that Dalai Lama acknowledges is the traditional cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism, created around Mount Meru. This is one of the issues that might need to be reviewed in light of the scientific knowledge of the Earth.

The meaning of 'Amida Buddha' is 'boundless' or 'immeasurable'. As indeed Amida Buddha is! The long periods of time in the traditional accounts are intended to convey the imperishable nature of Amida's compassion which never fails, never decreases, never perishes. And that is perfectly true, but that doesn't mean the time periods ought to be interpreted literally.

One of the facts about our age is that science is challenging many kinds of traditional belief and culture. As I've said, I am opposed to scientific materialism, and will always argue against it here and everywhere. But scientific discovery is another matter altogether. We have to accomodate whatever science discovers when it comes to matters of empirical fact. That is what the Dalai Lama acknowledges in his book. But, do read the rest of the interview with Thubten Chodron. He has studied the issue in great depth, AND, he is a Geshe. He is a trustworthy guide, I believe.

:namaste:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:44 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Q: The Dalai Lama has been widely quoted in the popular press as saying: “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.” How are we to understand this statement?


Unless there is incontrovertible and unequivocal evidence that humans share a common ancestor with chimps, then Buddhists will have to decide for themselves what to believe or not believe.

As for the age of the universe, there may have been many Big Bangs, followed by many Big Crunches. Buddhist cosmology, including the Agganna Sutta, describes an oscillating universe.


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