Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:55 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:Unless there is incontrovertible and unequivocal evidence ...


I'm sorry, but I think the fossil evidence is stronger than 'a scripture says that....'

However, it might interest you to know that the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection had a second author, namely, Alfred Russel Wallace. He had developed a very similar theory to Charles Darwin, and was about to publish it, when Darwin contacted him and they published a paper together (although Darwin was sole author of On the Origin of Species.)

When Darwin later published on the Descent of Man, Wallace questioned whether Darwinian evolution alone accounted for the abilities and nature of h. sapiens. This was the subject of one of the chapters of a book of his, Darwinism Applied to Man. He accepts that evolutionary theory can account for the physical characteristics of the human species, but questions whether the 'moral, intellectual, musical and artistic faculties' can be so explained, which he doubts. He concludes the chapter:

We... find that the Darwinian theory, even when carried out to its extreme logical conclusion, not only does not oppose, but lends a decided support to, a belief in the spiritual nature of man. It shows us how man's body may have been developed from that of a lower animal form under the law of natural selection; but it also teaches us that we possess intellectual and moral faculties which could not have been so developed, but must have had another origin; and for this origin we can only find an adequate cause in the unseen universe of Spirit.


Generally, science has chosen to neglect Wallace's objections, because he was interested in spiritualism, and to concentrate on Darwin's ideas.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:50 am

Wayfarer wrote:I'm sorry, but I think the fossil evidence is stronger than 'a scripture says that....'


Forbidden Archeology was based on eight years of researching evidences for extreme human antiquity, discoveries that were originally published in mainstream archaeological journals by mainstream archaeologists, only to be suppressed or explained away by the wider archaeological community because they didn't fit the evolutionary timeline:

http://www.krishnapath.org/library/vedi ... -download/

Wayfarer wrote:He accepts that evolutionary theory can account for the physical characteristics of the human species, but questions whether the 'moral, intellectual, musical and artistic faculties' can be so explained, which he doubts.


As I've previously suggested, the anatomical similarities between chimps and humans might be an outward manifestation of similar karma, rather than evidence of common ancestry.

As for the radical differences between chimps and humans, are they more likely to have resulted from the gradual accumulation of fortuitous biochemical changes, or are we at least willing to consider the possibility that humans devolved from beings of a higher realm?

It's worth at least considering the possibility that the Buddha meant what he said in the Agganna Sutta, especially since it's been echoed by Dharma masters throughout history.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:35 am

I'm not sure what more can be said in this thread that hasn't been said already. Unless someone is able to present incontrovertible evidence that humans share a common ancestor with chimps, and reason to believe from within the Agganna Sutta itself as to why Dharma masters throughout history have interpreted it incorrectly, there might not be much more to add. People sometimes just need to agree to disagree.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:15 am

Image

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby DGA » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:23 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:I'm not sure what more can be said in this thread that hasn't been said already. Unless someone is able to present incontrovertible evidence that humans share a common ancestor with chimps, and reason to believe from within the Agganna Sutta itself as to why Dharma masters throughout history have interpreted it incorrectly, there might not be much more to add. People sometimes just need to agree to disagree.


Define "incontrovertible" in the context of how evidence is used among competent scientists, and we'll proceed.

Can you name one competent scientist who argues, from evidence and not from a conspiratorial fantasy, that humans do not share a common ancestor with chimps?

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby DGA » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:28 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:As I've previously suggested, the anatomical similarities between chimps and humans might be an outward manifestation of similar karma, rather than evidence of common ancestry.


Sure. Might be. But anything might be. "Might be" is evidence of nothing. Claiming that Stevie Wonder might be able to see is no evidence that he can.

As for the radical differences between chimps and humans, are they more likely to have resulted from the gradual accumulation of fortuitous biochemical changes, or are we at least willing to consider the possibility that humans devolved from beings of a higher realm?


Sure, I'll consider the possibility when you produce some plausible scientific evidence to support your claims about science. If you are willing to restrict your speculations to the realm of theology or metaphysics, then the bar for evidence is different.

It's worth at least considering the possibility that the Buddha meant what he said in the Agganna Sutta, especially since it's been echoed by Dharma masters throughout history.


Sure. It's worth considering the possibility of many things, such as the cosmology articulated in the sutras. (protip: on a Mahayana board, you will have an easier time convincing others if you cite Mahayana scriptures.) Anyone who has attended the first day of a statistics course in middle school knows that possibility is not the same as likelihood, which is not the same as certainty.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby DGA » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:30 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:Image


Don't you think we should consider the possibility that internet memes might be stupid and unconvincing?

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Jan 06, 2017 10:44 pm

That book, "Forbidden Archeology", seems a complete crock. It is published by the Krishna Consciousness movement, in support of Hindu creationism. Why it is even being discussed on Dharmawheel beats me. Best to take note of the comment on the homepage, from noted paleo-anthropologist Richard Leakey:

'“Your book is pure humbug and does not deserve to be taken seriously by anyone but a fool”.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:46 am

Dharma Flower wrote:
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


Please note that Sheng Yen and Hsuan Hua are not basing themselves on the mentioned pali sutta, rather they are referring to the material that exists in the Chinese Tripitaka. Sheng Yen mentions three sutras as his source in his foot note, viz.: The Chronicle of the World Sutra, The Daloutan Sutra, and The Sutra on the Arising of the World.
The Mahayana and Abhidharma world views are not dependent on the pali sutta, they have there own source sutras.
Last edited by Aemilius on Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:11 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:01 am

Dharma Flower wrote: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.


Tanhankara is not the "first" Buddha according to the Mahayana. Mahayana has much longer lists of previous Buddhas than the one found in the Buddhavamsa. Longer lists of previous Buddhas are for example in the Lalitavistara Sutra (the Voice of the Buddha) and the Mahavastu. Also the Pureland Sutras and the Lotus of the True Law Sutra describe Buddhas from a very distant past.

At the end of the previous great kalpa the world (i.e. this planet, solar-system, galaxy or the system of galaxies) was destroyed. In what sense would Earth be "same world" as some destroyed world of the previous kalpa?
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:34 pm

Wayfarer wrote:That book, "Forbidden Archeology", seems a complete crock. It is published by the Krishna Consciousness movement, in support of Hindu creationism. Why it is even being discussed on Dharmawheel beats me. Best to take note of the comment on the homepage, from noted paleo-anthropologist Richard Leakey:

'“Your book is pure humbug and does not deserve to be taken seriously by anyone but a fool”.


The thing is that Forbidden Archaeology doesn't depend on Michael Cremo. It exists independently of Cremo and Hindu-creationism.There is a series of videos about it, which I watched some years ago. Unfortunately, in our fast and fragmented age, you have to devote several hours of time to it, if you really want to know something about it.

phpBB [video]
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Mon Jan 09, 2017 3:30 pm

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



It may be useful to remind that according to Master Sheng Yen this theme is, besides the sutras in the chinese tripitaka, also found in four separate suttas in Digha Nikaya of the pali canon:
Mahagovida sutta DN.19 ; Patika sutta DN.24 ; Cakkavatti Sihanada sutta DN.26 ; and Aggañña sutta DN.27
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Dharma Flower » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:55 am

Please keep in mind that I didn't start this thread to hurt or offend Buddhists who accept the mainstream theory of evolution. My only point was to say that it isn't wrong or unreasonable for a Buddhist to believe the traditional Buddhist understanding of human origins, especially since no witnesses were around at the time who recorded what happened.

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Anders » Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:19 am

Dharma Flower wrote:Please keep in mind that I didn't start this thread to hurt or offend Buddhists who accept the mainstream theory of evolution. My only point was to say that it isn't wrong or unreasonable for a Buddhist to believe the traditional Buddhist understanding of human origins, especially since no witnesses were around at the time who recorded what happened.


It is a seminal point of Buddhism that the teachings of Buddhism are not a priori wise, such as the Bible claims for itself, but wise because it stands up to scrutiny.

Evolution stands up to scrutiny to a very great extent. It therefore accords with Buddhism to give it credence.

On the other hand to reject something out of hand, regardless of its merit, only because a scripture does not accord with it, is not really in the spirit of Buddhism.

Maybe the aganna sutta is a later composition, maybe it's not. Either way, it can be laid aside on this matter with little issue according to the principle of 'a handful of leaves'. It is a subject matter at best tertiary to the matter of dukkha and as such not a topic that Buddhist need to go to the mattresses for.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Malcolm » Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:10 pm

Seishin wrote: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?


It is clear that it was taken seriously across a broad spectrum of Buddhist schools and still is. The Agañña Sūtta does not exist in a Tibetan recension, but the barebones of the story are preserved in Various Mahāyāna sūtras and some śāstras.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:48 am

Anders wrote:
Dharma Flower wrote:Please keep in mind that I didn't start this thread to hurt or offend Buddhists who accept the mainstream theory of evolution. My only point was to say that it isn't wrong or unreasonable for a Buddhist to believe the traditional Buddhist understanding of human origins, especially since no witnesses were around at the time who recorded what happened.


It is a seminal point of Buddhism that the teachings of Buddhism are not a priori wise, such as the Bible claims for itself, but wise because it stands up to scrutiny.

Evolution stands up to scrutiny to a very great extent. It therefore accords with Buddhism to give it credence.

On the other hand to reject something out of hand, regardless of its merit, only because a scripture does not accord with it, is not really in the spirit of Buddhism.

Maybe the aganna sutta is a later composition, maybe it's not. Either way, it can be laid aside on this matter with little issue according to the principle of 'a handful of leaves'. It is a subject matter at best tertiary to the matter of dukkha and as such not a topic that Buddhist need to go to the mattresses for.


There is the aspect of enlightenment itself, i.e. that remembering past lives is an aspect of enlightenment, and that therefore innumerable persons in the history of buddhism have had visions or memories of their past lives. In certain cases this includes remembering things for several kalpas. Buddhaghosha has a chart how far back in time different disciples, pratyekabuddhas, once-returners, non-returners, arhats and fully enlightened buddhas remember their past lives.

Buddhaghosha writes in Vishuddhimagga, Path of Purification, page 405:
"There are six kinds of people who recollect these past lives. They are: other sectarians, ordinary disciples, great disciples, chief disciples, Paccekabuddhas, and Buddhas."
"Herein other sectarians recollect only as far back as forty eons. Ordinary disciples recollect as far back as hundred eons and as far back as thousand eons. The eighty great disciples recollect as far back as hundred thousand eons. The two chief disciples recollect as far back as an incalculable age and hundred thousand eons. Paccekabuddhas recollect as far back as two incalculable ages and hundred thousand eons. But there is no limit in the case of Buddhas." (slightly condensed)
Buddhaghosha then gives practical advice how to develop the recollection of past lives.

He also says that "they remember many eons of world expansion, many eons of world contraction."
The teaching of world expansion and world contraction has been self-evident in Buddhism. I find it strange that some people wish to take it away from the Dharma.
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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Anders » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:35 pm

Buddhaghosha is at any rate not normative to Mahayana Buddhism.

And you are extending your argument beyond reason by going on to the topic of world formation.

The fact is we don't have many other scriptures of weight besides the aganna sutta that gives a human creation myth. Which also means it is not a significant topic for Buddhism.
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As your companion in practice"

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Sādhaka » Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Seishin wrote: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?


It is clear that it was taken seriously across a broad spectrum of Buddhist schools and still is. The Agañña Sūtta does not exist in a Tibetan recension, but the barebones of the story are preserved in Various Mahāyāna sūtras and some śāstras.


It is found in the Sutra section of Jigme Lingpa's Treasury of Precious Qualities; and also in Asanga's & Vasubandhu's Abhidharma, right?

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Re: Origin of mankind and animals according Buddhism.

Postby Aemilius » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:30 am

Anders wrote:Buddhaghosha is at any rate not normative to Mahayana Buddhism.

And you are extending your argument beyond reason by going on to the topic of world formation.

The fact is we don't have many other scriptures of weight besides the aganna sutta that gives a human creation myth. Which also means it is not a significant topic for Buddhism.


Creation or formation of the universe and beings is necessarily implied in the teaching of kalpas or eons. It is often implied in the teachings of reincarnation, karma and rebirth, and the supernormal faculties. It is part of the frame work of the buddhist view of existence. It is thus implicitly present in different teachings and sutras. Kalpas and the formation and disintegration of the universe are found also in the Mahayana sutras and in the Abhidharma. There is no question about that.

Buddhism doesn't conceive of worlds without beings, like the modern astronomy does. In the Dharma formation of the worlds always implies and includes its inhabitants or its beings.
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