Buddha’s Universe of Devolution and Evolution Cosmologically Compatible
Posted on February 25th, 2014

Prof. Suwanda H J Sugunasiri, (US Fulbright Scholar writing from Canada)

 1. Overview of  the Breakthrough Research in Popular Format

 Encountered Evolution recently? No, not the Darwinian.   I mean the real one – evolution of the universe!  If not, don’t worry. The Buddha has done it for you.

            It’s in the Agga¤¤a Sutta (Digha Nikaya, # 27).           

            Western Science has long been  looking at the evolutionary process, and so wouldn’t it   make sense to  see how  the Buddha’s characterization fares with the Western Scientific understanding?      And I did. So what did I find? That indeed   the Buddha’s characterization is not only compatible with Western Science,  but improves upon it! More than one western scholar sees satire and parody in it. But I found no   satire here, but hard, objective science.

            And the evidence? Here’s then a Chart that shows the reality up-front. Don’t panic. I’ll guide you through:

1

2

3

4

Agga¤¤a Sutta

PHASE

 

Agga¤¤a Sutta PHYSICAL EVOLUTION

Agga¤¤a Sutta

SENTIENT

EVOLUTION

Western Science

EVOLUTIONARY YEARS

MAJOR:

Devolution 

 

“This world devolves”

 

             

          _

Appearance of

¢bhassara Beings

Evolution I

13 +  billion years ago:  

Big Bang

 

MAJOR:

Evolution I

 

“This world evolves”

 

No moon-sun; 

 

 

“All water”

 

“Leaving ¢bhassara body” , Beings come to be in ‘the present state’

 

No female-male …

Evolution II

9  billion years ago:

Post-Big Bang ,

cooling off phase

MAJOR:

Evolution II

 

‘This world evolves again”

 

Appearance of Earth;

 

Appearance of

moon & sun,

day & night…

Beings feeding  on

‘Earth savour’;

 

Resulting change

of skin colour &

 body  coarseness

Evolution III

4.55 billion years ago

 

Formation of earth

 

SUB-:

Evolution I   

 

“for a very long stretch of time”

‘Earth savour’

          

 

 

       

Continue feeding  on

‘Earth savour’

 

Continuing change

of skin colour &

body coarseness  

Evolution IV

575 million years ago: 

Oldest animals

 

500 million years ago: 

Plants evolving

 

SUB-:

Evolution  II  

 

“for a very long stretch of time”

Ground-pappa±aka

(mushroom-type)

 

Bad lat 

creepers

feeding  on

Ground-pappa±aka

 

Further change of skin colour / coarseness;  

 

Feeding  on

bad lat 

 

Evolution V

225 million years ago

 

Plant variegation;

Vertebrates

 

SUB-:

Evolution III

 

 

“for a very long stretch of time”

Rice

                   

Continuing to feed

on bad lat 

 

Further  Change of colour / coarseness   

 

Appearance of

Rice

 

Female  sexuality & male sexuality > intercourse

Evolution VI

150 thousand 

years ago

 

“Anatomically modern humans”

                        CHART: Evolutionary Phases and Sub-phases in the Buddha’a

                                    Agga¤¤a Sutta in relation to Western Science

Do you note the two MAJOR phases, Devolution and Evolution  in Col. 1, Rows 1 to 2?  And the third , also showing Evolution.  Now taking our eyes all the way to Col. 4, what does Western Science show in 1 to 3? Changes taking billions of years, the Buddha’s  wording, back in Col. 1 being ‘this world devolves’, ‘this world evolves’ and ‘this world evolves again’. What shows at the third? Earth (Col. 2), confirmed in Western Science (Col. 4).

            But you’ll note that Western Science shows all three phases to be part of Evolution. It begins with The Big Bang, 13.5  billion years ago (bya, for short ” let’s get a little scientific here, eh!).  That for the Buddha is Devolution (samvaá¹­á¹­a‘turning in‘), followed by  Evolution  (vivaá¹­á¹­a  ‘turning apart’)  ( 9 bya).  Next for him is ‘Earth’, with the ‘moon & sun’ ” yes, that’s the order in the text, appearing (4.5  bya).  

            Before looking at Col. 3, let’s continue down along Col. 1, Rows 4 to 6. SUB-phases within Evolution. Take your eyes to Col. 4. Rows 4 & 5. We now see that the  count is in ‘Millions and 6 in ‘Thousands’.  Our  text shows each of these sub-phases as lasting “for a very long stretch of time”.  No mention of evolution.

            So then while the Buddha identifies no specific time, he makes clear the distinction between  the relatively long vs relatively less long.   A Buddhist calculation might  be in mahā kappa and  kappa, each very long.

            So far so good? Good!

            Row 1 under Western Science  shows the Big Bang.  So what’s that? Here’s what you’ll find in the Wikipedia: “At this time, the Universe was in an extremely hot and dense state and began expanding rapidly.” Although in the Agganna itself  the Buddha says nothing about it,  elsewhere,   in the Anguttara Nikaya,   he  talks of the ‘seven suns’ drying up all water and burning up  everything else ” land, plant life and animal life.  Hm!

            “After the initial expansion [Big Bang], the Universe cooled ” (Wiki).  What  does the text say? Yes, ‘All water’ (Col. 2). Right on! It adds that ‘no moon and sun’ were to be seen either. The smoke of the Big Bang was thick enough to shut it out,  making it ‘pitch dark’.

            When we read in Row 3 under Western Science ‘formation of the earth’, Buddha tells us how ‘a savoury earth spread over the waters’.   Not only. Moon and sun appear, too. And day and night. Magic? Noooo..  As the dust cloud of the Big Bang expands and settles down, the sun appears,  and voila, there’s sunshine and daylight. Of course, the day ends with the night, when the moon appears.

            575 million years ago (mya), Western Science tells us (Col. 4, Row 4),   ‘Oldest animals’ appear with  ‘Plants evolving’500 mya  and ‘Plant variegation’ 225 mya, along with vertebrates. Looking at Col. 2, we see no one to one match in the text. However, we’ll note that the Buddha talks of  plant variegation of three types. The first is ‘ground pappataka‘, a ‘mushroom’ like plant.  Next is a creeper: badalat  ” note the term ‘latā’? (Reminds you of nārilatā ‘human creeper’?) The label could mean ‘wish-fulfilling creeper’. But there’s no wondering about the last type: s li, meaning ‘rice’. Could well have been a type of kurakkan (Sinhala) ‘finger-millets’, with a  variety of names in Indic languages (e.g.,  Ragi  in Karnataka). ‘Seed on seed’, the text says.

            Sure, not enough variety  to fill a supermarket, but not bad, eh, for an emergent plant life.  

                Now Western Science says nothing of what happens to the animal types that emerge alongside   plant life. The Buddha, however, is specific. As the Beings begin to enjoy the food, ‘for a very long stretch of time’ (translation: mya) in relation to each type,  two things happen. They become coarser, and their skin colour changes (down Col. 3). Both can be linked to new cells beginning to grow. 

             Let’s note that, at the beginning,  there were ‘no females or males’ (yes, listed in that order) (Col. 3, Row 2). But when Western Science introduces us to “Anatomically modern humans” 150 thousand  years ago (last Row), the Buddha introduces  us to  ‘females and males’  getting their  ‘linga‘,  and  let’s hear this one, engaging in intercourse! For how else can there be a continuity of the species? Well, here’re his words:

‘The female  linga appeared in the female, and the male linga in the  male The female looked at the male just so long as did the male at the female.  Looking at       each other for long, passion arose in them,   burning all round entering their bodies.     Because of this burning, they indulged in  sexual behaviour. Those  other Beings, seeing them indulging in sexual behaviour,  threw earth (at them), some  ash,  others             cow-dung, (saying) “Away with your filth, away with your filth!”, [adding further] “How             could a             Being do such a thing to another Being?”‘.       

            Sexual evolution! Or should we say ‘sexual revolution?  This, then, is how   Evolution appears, in the Buddha’s characterization,  at  the doorstep of  the human being.

          But how did it all begin?  Taking our eyes back up  Col. 3,   Rows 1 & 2, the text introduces us to ‘¢bhassara Beings’ in the Devolutionary phase, continuing to be in the Evolutionary ‘present state’.

            Oops! You haven’t  met ¢bhassara Beings, have you? Alright, let’s meet them then.

            Here’s   the Buddha introducing  them to two  Brahmin youth   looking to be ordained under him:           

There comes a time, V se±±ha,   when somehow  or other, at times, after the passage  of a long time beyond,   this world  devolves. In this devolving world,    as is the norm,     ‘There happens  to be existing in this devolving world  ¢bhassara-Beings’.  There they remain mind-based, self-luminous, moving through space, feeding on rapture ….,  for a very long stretch of time.  Somehow or other, after the passage of a long time beyond, V se±±ha, this world evolves. In this evolving world, as is the norm,   having passed away   from their ¢bhassara-bodies   Beings come  into the present state.  Here  they remain,   mind-based, … for a very long stretch of  time.

            But, you ask, who the dickens are these ¢bhassara Beings? Now now, let’s watch our language. Let’s be respectful. But that’s exactly what I asked myself reading the Sutta in Pali. ¢bhassara Beings are humans whose meditation has taken them to the level of the second jhāna. Upon death, they end up as ¢bhassara Brahmaloka. 

            But where?  Remember how they are said to be ‘mind-based,  self-luminous, moving through space’? Exactly. In the sky. Being mind-based means they are sentient beings, with a mind and body. But, how, up there?

            You now owe me a million dollars. For that is the million dollar question I’ve answered. An ¢bhassara Being is  nothing but a photon!

            A what?

            Oh sorry. Photon is an electric energy  in space but with no mass, and if you ask Einstein, he’ll define it as a ‘quantum of energy’, quantum, of course, meaning ‘packet’. So how come I packet this packet into a photon? Oh, that was easy. All I had to do was brush up my Pali, and break up the word ¢bhassara. You can do it, too. So let’s do it together. Here we go: ¢  + bh s + sara.

            ¢-  = ‘hither’

            -bh s = shine

            -sara = arrow.

In plain English, ‘Hither-bound shining arrow’. If you’re reminded of a shooting star, you got it right.  Let’s note the Buddha’s line, ‘In this evolving world, … having passed away   from their ¢bhassara-bodies,    Beings come  into the present state.’ Exactly! So these are beings that have come to ‘this  world’, meaning this Evolutionary Phase, from an earlier world of a Devolutionary phase.

            Now  these Beings  land on  earth when the earth appears in the new Evolutionary phase.  Photon-the-sky-being now becomes  land-being.  These Beings  may not be at your dinner table, but  they do have to have their food. ‘All beings are food-based’  doesn’t the Buddha tell us?  Remember from the chart the three  types of food that appear over the millions of years: pappaá¹­aka, badalatā and rice? This, then, is  their  food.

            You’ll remember something else, too,  from the Chart. As they eat these different types of food, their   bodies get ‘coarser’. Read that to mean that they are putting on fat and muscle to support the growing bones, and getting an increasingly complex body structure. It is the final product of this process of growth over millions of years that the Buddha now introduces to us as human beings, having sex.

          This brief overview, then, suggests the following: 

 

1.      That  the universe goes through a cycle  of Devolutionary (samva±±a) and Evolutionary (viva±±a) Phases.

2.      That  there was sentient  life in the universe prior to the existence of the earth.

3.      That   the origins of such sentient life vis-a-vis the earth of the present Evolutionary phase was   in space!

4.      That with the appearance of the earth there came to exist conditions conducive to sentient life.

5.      That over time, to be counted in billions, millions and thousands  of years, sentient life culminated in human life (and society, as later in the text).

            So now, how’s all that for accuracy, huh!  While Western Science is specific as to numbers – billions, millions and thousands of years,  the Buddha is more detailed in terms of plant life and human life.   The reason is obvious. The Buddha’s description of  evolution of the physical universe   is only as a backdrop to    the story of how ¢bhassara Beings ends up as human beings. 

            Complex enough? But I hope that by now you have  an idea, if still foggy,  of the Buddha’s view of the process of evolution of the universe, from Devolutionary phase to Evolutionary phase, the growth of beings in relation to food types and the beginning of family life. So we can       see that the Buddha is not talking about evolution just for the sake of explaining the universal flow, but to set in motion the evolution of man in his relationship with nature.

            If  you’re still in a dizzy, just close your eyes, take a deep breath, return to the Chart, and take the eyes through the Columns and Rows, in measured step. The picture will appear before your eyes before you know it.  

            Not only do we, then,  see  the  Buddha as scientist, but also that he goes beyond Western Science,  which  begins with the Big Bang, a first cause.  Though not said in so many words, isn’t a creator God   implicit in it?        

            Now imagine that for an objective science!

            Should that surprise us? After all, beginning with all the way back from Greek times, up to the time of Einstein, western scientists believed in God, and what they were trying to do was figure out God’s secrets. By contrast,  the Buddha gives us a cyclical universe, with no beginning, no end.  Here then is the improvement on Western Science.  

            For the original scholarly version (87 pages), please type in  Canadian Journal of Buddhist Studies. Or here’s the URL: http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/cjbs

            If you like to contact me, here’s my email: [email protected].

2. A Few More Comparative Details

            We have seen above the parallels between the Buddha’s lay of the land of  the evolutionary process  and that of Western Science, but in broader terms.  Let me then share with you  some more details.

            It was noted that  the Big Bang in Western Science is    the Devolutionary phase  for the Buddha. By definition, of course, a Devolution suggests and earlier Evolutionary phase.

            Not  much  said about the Devolutionary phase, however,in the Agga¤¤a Sutta. But luckily for us,  we find the Buddha talking about it elsewhere (Anguttara Nikaya, IV 101):   

There comes a time, Bhikkhus, when rain does not fall for many years, for many hundreds of years, for many thousands  of years, for many hundreds of thousands  of years. When rain does not fall, seed life and vegetation, medicinal plants, grasses, and giant trees of the forest wither and dry up and no longer exist. (Bhikkhu Bodhi translation, 2012, 1071-3).

            Next he speaks of a ‘second sun’, again ‘after a long time’, when  ‘small rivers and lakes dry up and evaporate  and no longer exist’. Moving along through the 3rd to the 6th sun, he eventually comes to the seventh sun:

With the appearance of the seventh sun, this great earth and Sineru, the king of mountains, burst into flames, blaze up brightly, and become one mass of flame. As  the great         earth    and Sineru are blazing and burning, the flame, cast up by the wind, rises even [up] to the brahma world… 

            Here, then, we have the end of the Devolutionary phase in the Buddha’s thinking.. And,  let’s note here for future reference, that the blaze goes only ‘up to’ or ‘as far as’ the Brahma world, i.e., leaving it unscathed. But before we move into the Evolutionary phase, let us see if Western Science has anything to say.

       The Sun does not have enough mass to explode as a supernova. Instead it will exit the main sequence in approximately 5.4 billion years and start to turn into a red giant. It is calculated that the Sun will become sufficiently large to engulf the current orbits of the solar system’s inner planets, possibly including Earth.

    Even before it becomes a red giant, the luminosity of the Sun will have nearly doubled, and the Earth will be hotter than Venus is today. Once the core hydrogen is exhausted in 5.4 billion years, the Sun will expand into a sub-giant phase and slowly double in size over about half a billion years. It will then expand more rapidly over about half a billion years until it is over two hundred times larger than today and a couple of thousand times more luminous. This then starts the red giant branch (RGB) phase where the Sun will spend around a billion years and lose around a third of its mass.   <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun#After_core_hydrogen_exhaustion>

          While this is not literally seven suns, but a single sun getting much bigger and hotter, it speaks to  much of the effects of the process: “over about half a billion years until it is …  a couple of thousand times more luminous.” And “engulfing … the earth”. 

          In this  Devolutionary phase, says the Buddha:  “There happens  to be existing in this devolving  world ¢bhassara-Beings”.

            “Oh”, you ask, “But didn’t everything go up in flames under the scorching of the seven suns”?

            Glad you asked. ‘No’ is the answer. Ending up as the ¢bhassara Beings means they come to be in the ¢bhassara Brahmaloka. The seven suns, as noted,  stops at the boundary of this Brahmaloka.  So  the ¢bhassara Beings can be said to come  in their shining armour, ‘energy’ being the shine.

If the phase is said to last about six and a half  billion years, as in the above lines (you can do the math), we may note the Buddha’s words, “This world evolves again”.  Decay is what we have here, under the principle of ‘change’ (anicca), or as in Western Science,     ‘entropy’,  ‘a driving force for physical and chemical changes (reactions)’ <http://www.science.uwaterloo.ca/ ~cchieh/cact/applychem/entropy.html>.                                            

Continuing with our text, we’ll remember that  the Buddha   says   that the ¢bhassara Beings are ‘self-luminous’ and   ‘sky-traveling’. So clearly, it can’t be in a human form that ¢bhassara Beings  exist.  Interpreting them as ‘Hither-come-shining-arrows’, they have been identified by us  to be photons – ‘quantum of light’, ‘quantum of energy’.                            

Let us now turn  to Western Science to see if we could get some understanding of this sky-born and self-luminous Being called ¢bhassara. We begin with electrons, a sub-atomic particle.

                        “Electrons somehow “jump” between specific orbits, and as they do,  they appear to absorb or emit energy in the form of light, i.e., photons”, (italics added), say scientists             Kafatos & Nadeau (1990, p. 31), in their book, The Conscious Universe. As for ‘absorbing’, Einstein “argued that the energy of light is …. concentrated in small, discrete bundles …      or ‘quanta’, of energy. … It is the energy of the individual quanta, rather than the brightness of the light source, that matters.”   

                        So it appears, then,  that a case may be well made that  the shine-emitting/absorbing  ¢bhassaras are indeed ‘photons’. Further,  

             “If photons could not crowd together in the energy of light,  the light energy that fuels          quantum mechanical process that lead to the evolution of chemical structures, including          what we call life, would not  exist”.

      So we could take the ¢bhassara Being  to be a variation of (a form of) photons, in some primordial version. We may now see the connection between the Devolutionary phase ending up burning  under the seven suns (as above) and the shining ¢bhassara-Beings. They can be  said to be survivors of the burning hot Devolutionary phase, looking for a home in the newly emerging Evolutionary phase.                                                                                                                    But the point is that there is no earth to step on to! So how does the earth come about?. In the text, at the time of the Being coming to be in the Evolutionary phase, it is, as we remember,  “all water”.Then, as   “this world evolves again”,     a savoury-earth  spread itself  over the waters”.  

                Western Science explains the appearance of water when the initial burst of energy of seven suns comes to be dissipated, gradually cooling off. To begin with, the sun itself contains 87% Hydrogen. Explains the UK-based Prof. Cyril Ponnamperuma, “Of every hundred atoms in the universe, ninety-three are hydrogen atoms.” Further, when “our planet was formed  from the primordial solar nebula, the cloud of hydrogen which enveloped it, as it revolved with the dust particles in orbit around the central dense mass, played a vital role in determining the kind of molecules present”. The oxygen present, interacting with the hydrogen, “would have yielded water” (42).                       

             A cooling process begun, ultimately ending up in ‘water’, there now emerges the earth  –  ‘savoury earth  spread itself  over the waters’. ‘after the lapse of a very long  time beyond’,  suggestive of the billions of years prior to the forming of the earth some 4.5 billion years ago  as is the current calculation for the age of the earth. This, then,  is where the Beings now come to be. How do we know? Because now they begin to taste the savoury earth, and in due course, three vegetation types.

            But how did these earth food types come to be?

            It was noted how the sun was the most powerful source of energy for the earth.   Ponnamperuma (51-61) points out how the varied energy sources – electrical discharges in the form of lightning, radioactivity, heat energy, solar heat, shock waves generated by meteorites passing through the atmosphere, etc., would have been “responsible for much organic synthesis in primeval earth conditions”.  

            The pappa±aka, creepers and rice could, then, be seen as the early products of such  organic synthesis. In this connection, it is interesting to note certain developments in relation to the primitive earth that are suggestive of the three types.

            Let’s do an experiment  here. Say the word pappa±aka.  Again. Ground- pappa±aka.  How does it sound? Does it sound sort of  ‘crusty’. Let’s see what Ponnamperuma has to say: “During the early stages of the earth’s formation, volcanic activity was probably rampant throughout its surface. As the embryonic earth began to take shape, the gravitational forces caused contractions in the crust.” So would it be surprising that the nutritive  outgrowths of a crusty earth  would also be crusty?  It is of interest to read in the Sutta that it is pieces of the ground that the Beings first eat.

            The ground pappa±aka is described as ‘snake’s parasol’. It is with interest, then, that we read about “The strange umbrella-like shape of Kakabekia umbellata which  flourished in the Pre-Cambrian era” (Ponnamperuma), understood to be prior to 1.8  bya going all the way back to the formation of the earth 4.5 bya, as scientist Prof. Karl Zimmer,  notes.

            Now how about the ‘bound-creepers’ (bad lat ).  Again in Western Science, we   note with interest “thread-like assemblage of bacteria”,  the reference being  to the fossil algae,  said to be two million years old (Ponnamperuma). But there is nothing to say that the beginnings of thread-like plant life did not originate much earlier, when the “earliest evidence of chemical life” appears in 3.8 bya  (Zimmer).       The bound creepers   are also said, in the Sutta,  to be  ‘bamboo-like’.  Now  what do you make of the  “rod-shaped bacteria” dating back to two billion years  (Ponnamperuma), that “may be related to the modern iron bacteria”?        

          So we now have:

·         four food types: earth-crust, ground pappa±aka , bad lat   and rice;

·         continuing physical changes  in colour and coarseness;

·         new physical development: appearance of  female    & male sexuality;

·         new human activity: intercourse, this last relating to continuity of the species.

Thus is shown the emerging complexity in the last stage of evolution. We may note that this is the phase in Western Science when ‘anatomically modern humans’ appear.

            So we now have a few more details. But even in the segment discussed,  left out are other dimensions. One is the evolution of language. The other  is the emergence of sentient characteristics such as craving (when eating), and   anger and hatred ( “Those who were good-looking despised those who were ugly: ‘We are better-looking than they are; they are uglier than us!’”). In broad terms, they show the beginnings of lust, hatred and ignorance (r ga, dosa, moha). 

      A third is how the social classes   ” Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra, have come to emerge. This latest  actually come to be linked to the wider issue  of the Sutta, namely the claims of the Brahmins to be the ‘chosen people’. The Buddha shows  how this is one big fat lie, a joke. While they claim to be ‘born of Brahma’s mouth’, the Buddha minces no words in telling it like it is – that “Brahmin women, wives of Brahmins,  menstruate, become pregnant, have babies and give suck”!  

            What you see in this paper is admittedly  my own understanding and interpretation  of how life comes to be, based in the Sutta, Abhidhamma and Western Science.   A closer look at what Western Science has marvelously  come up with painstaking research shows that the devil is in the detail. That is to say that when it comes to the detailed timing  in relation to the evolution of plants, animals and humans, etc.,  there are devils waiting to take you on. However, it is difficult to ignore two factors ” first,  the division between Major and Sub, as distinguished by billions of years to millions to thousands, and second,   the similarities of the shapes and features of the various forms of pre-Cambrian organic matter.  Too close to be coincidental. Of course, while Western Science is working at the micro level when it comes to the physical universe and life,  the Buddha is dealing at the macro level. But I hope that I have danced with the devils successfully.  

            But I   know that, as I keep ringing in the good news,  I’m in for  a sound thrashing from two quarters. First from Scientists, Western and  Eastern.  The nerve of a mere Pali student, who can perhaps barely spell the word Science, if that, daring to invade Science? And from the other side is the earful from the traditional Buddhist, and Buddhist scholar, for a different reason. It is  blasphemy!  Why need Western Science to prove the Buddha right?

            I can understand the sentiment. But, as for myself, I don’t need proof that the Buddha is right. I’ve known it all my life. But consider this. Western scholars doing extensive studies of the Agga±±a have seen  it as  ‘satire’ (Prof. Collins, U of Chicago) or  ‘parody’ (Prof. Gombrich of Oxford). So the only way I have been able to see it as an  objective and   accurate picture  of the universe is reading it from the perspective of Western Science.  Only by stepping out of the box, into Science, funny enough, that I don’t know,  have I been able to outbox myself.  My exercise   shows  me the importance of going outside of your own narrow discipline and look for cross-disciplinary study. Fools rushing to where angels fear to tread? Or am I exonerated or am I exonerated!

            But there’s another reason for getting out of the box. Buddhists know and respect the Buddha. The knowledgeable West takes him to be another religious teacher, which, of course, he is. But only. No ear will be lent to hear him out for what more he is – discoverer, a discoverer of the truth, of superior intellect,  empirical and objective to the core. And so, if his teachings can be introduced in an idiom  Western Science speaks, then, perhaps there is a chance that they just may, just,  hear his words. Good enough reason?  Wish me luck!         

            Given in particular that I come with no background in Science at all, my analysis may be full of holes, in which case I invite your valuable kind and critical comments.  Please be my kalyāna mitta ” honest, and brutal,  yet intending no harm but only good.  Thank you.

            For the original scholarly version (87 pages), here’s the URL: http://jps.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/cjbs.

            You may contact me at  <[email protected]>.

Author Bio

(The researcher, with degrees from London, Philadelphia and Toronto, is an intradisciplinary student and author of a popular treatment of the Abhidhamma,  You’re What You Sense: Buddha on Mindbody, 2001 (Sri Lanka: Buddhist Cultural Centre; also online: <https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/4328>). An earlier (2012) breakthrough research of his is Arahant Mahinda as Redactor of the Buddhap¥j  in Sinhala Buddhism  (also online <https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/33767>, and on Utube).

           

4 Responses to “Buddha’s Universe of Devolution and Evolution Cosmologically Compatible”

  1. Senevirath Says:

    IT IS GOOD THAT U SAY — WE DONT NEEDNEW WESTERN SCIENCE TO PROVE BUDDHA DHAMMA—

    batahira vidyava vinaya denne netha
    vinayen thora vidyavaking palak netha
    batahira vidyava karanne apa thavath nivanin ivath karana ekay
    vidyava vinaya diya yuthuy –VIDYA DADATHI VINAYAN

    BUT IT MIGHT HELP WESTERNERS TO READ AND THINK MORE ABOUT BUDDHA DHAMMA

    ANY WAY GOOD LUCK BUT NEVER EVER SAY THAT BOTH ARE SAME

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    It is the words of the Buddha to take the “middle path” on anything. In that sense take the facts of Buddhist evolution and those facts of western evolution which are comparable to each other, making sure that any part of these theories can be backed by facts and evidence and make it part of the education process of Sri Lanka.

    A comparable scientific situation is the proven benefits of Ayurveda which has medicines that treat the same diseases which western medications do but with adverse side effects. Sri Lanka like India have developed a fully sustaining Ayurvedic system where the Doctors are also taught western medical and surgical techniques. I am a personal witness to an Ayurvedic clinic where I happen to wander into a hall where the Ayurvedic Doctors were watching a movie of a cow giving birth. Even at that young age and having a westernized Physician as my father I knew that what was occurring in that Ayurvedic clinic was a synthesis of Eastern and Western medical techniques.

    If so then other fields of Science should be analyzed for the traditional value of truths and facts and reclaim the heritage that the Western cultures now claim as exclusively theirs.

  3. douglas Says:

    As I see there are TWO elements the writer is explaining:

    1 The Origin of the Earth
    2. The origin of Life on this Earth.

    As regards the “Origin” of this planet Earth is described arising out of the so called “Big Bang” dating back to 15 Billions years. So, it is relevant to go back to the era prior to the 15 Billion period and question “How did the Big Bang occur?”. In common with Buddhist theory and Scientific findings, there could have been a “CAUSE” that erupted this Big Bang. As per science it is possible to assume there could have been an era of construction leading to the Big Bang and we could name it as a “Big Crunch”. But unfortunately this “Big Crunch” cannot be explained or structured because that process would have been completely wiped out. However, a possible explanation could be the modern day findings of a “Black Hole” in the universe, that “gobble” small planets by a “powerful monster planet” in a galaxy, by means of gravitational pull into unexplained “Hole” that creates massive “blasts” and send out small portions through the mouth into space again. These “portions” blasted out of the Black Hole could, eventually form into planets and join a galaxy of another planetary system. Such “planets”(sufficient mass) would possibly go through the same process as that of the earth we are living today. So it is in short an “unending cycle” that which cannot be either explained or find an “origin”. Is this “cycle” called “ANNANTHA” ? I tend agree that it is.

    2. The origin of Life on Earth : This too went through a period of 12 billion years after the Big Bang, according to scientists. This is the period “Microscopic Life” forms were beginning to appear. A plausible explanation for this viz. the appearance of “microscopic life” forms could be the presence of varying chemicals, such as protons and neutrons and relative abundance of hydrogen and helium formations in the interior of the planet. With this “cosmological transformation” of the very ‘structure’ of the planet coupled with space and time, varying living forms, including vegetation, would have emerged and undergone considerable “adaptability” changes, that we called today as “evolution”. So originally this “living form” could have been “Abhassaro Being” and possibly evolved with time and space (in practical terns) on the basis of (1) Random Variation (2) Struggle for Survival and (3) The Survival of the Fittest.

    This “Evolution” has not and will not cease. It is a non ending process of which the beginning cannot be explained. In Buddhism, as I understand, it is this process of “origin” and “ending” that has to be conquered, if we are to be “FREE”.

    THAT ATTAINMENT OF “FREEDOM”, IS NOT THE SUBJECT MATTER OF SCIENCE.

  4. Nanda Says:

    BW,
    “It is the words of the Buddha to take the “middle path” on anything.” YOU ARE MAKING A WRONG STATEMENT AGAIN.

    Buddha did not say “middle path on anything”. You have added the “anything”. Please show us where you can find “ANYTHING” in pali test, connected to “majjima patipada”.

    “Path” referred to here is the path to cessation of suffering , not the path to success or path to victory.

    Similarly Buddha never said “everything is suffering” which some people speculate to make Buddhism negative.

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