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:
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:
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.