Evolution & Reincarnation

Discussion in 'Eastern Religions and Philosophies' started by Kaldayen, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. Kaldayen

    Kaldayen Spiritual ronin

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    This topic was inspired to me from the "Theory of Evolution Conflict" in another thread.

    I believed that reincarnation was a possibility. That said, I'm searching answers to a question : How can we reconcile that belief with all the archelogical evidences we've found? Assuming the "fact" that we once were monkeys... would evolving toward humanity be a way of reaching nirvana? Or would it "only" be an adaptation to the changing environment or the african savanna?

    I'm not sure if I'm being clear ;) Do eastern civilizations even ask this question or is it my occidental eye that create invisible walls in my mind? :)

    Kal
     
  2. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Kal,

    thanks for the post.

    Buddhism, though not the only "eastern" tradition by any means, supports the theory of evolution without issue.

    though we'll need to seperate "reincarnation" from "rebirth" to become technical, we can interchange the two terms and still get close to our meaning. i'm not really sure of the question along this axis, could you elaborate?

    rebirth and reincarnation are not reserved for humans alone. this is the case in the Jewish tradition of Gilgul, though i may be mistaken on this. thus, the fossil record isn't something that overly concerns a Buddhist. based on ones own disposition, one would find evidence of dinosaurs and so forth to simply consistent with their current world view, or it would be a challenge, depending on the view that you held.

    you know... Evolution does not say that we came from monkey or that birds suddenly come from reptile eggs :) those are strawmen. the TOE is simply the explanation for how a genetic population changes over time. we have tons of examples of this all around us... heck.. one of the most recent was a bacteria that lives at the bottom of garbage dumps and now eats nylon exclusively as it's food source.

    so.. there is no problem with a Buddhist or a Taoist, i would say, supporting TOE.

    Nirvana, in the Mahayana view, is no different than Samsara.. this cycle of birth, old age, sickness and death. it's not something that you "attain" and it's not someplace that you "go" it is, rather, something that you "realize" and "experience". so i would have to say that evolution has no bearing on this at all.
     
  3. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Imagination, entertainment and business

    For my part, although I am not a scientist, I am fairly convinced of the fact of evolution. Mind you, I say the fact; because evolution explains a lot of things in the differentiation and complex elaboration of animals and plants, at least for me and I think for a lot of people who are like me.

    Up to the present I can't understand why religious people like conservative Christians, Catholics and Protestants, are adverse to the theory. For me, one can have religion with all the errors, contradictions, mistakes, inconsistencies found in any particular religion. It's like having nutrition notwithstanding the massive quantity of junk that one swallows into the digestive system, provided it is not lethally poisonous.

    Now, for me religion is lethally poisonous when it preaches hatred, prejudices, violence in the name of religion. That is why I seem to see that we are into a new era in the history of religion in mankind, in that most religious people today don't subscribe to hatred, violence, prejudices in the name of religion.

    Coming now to reincarnation, rebirth, resurrection, and what have you, they are not facts.

    They are essentially what I might call imaginations, no different from the Dracula stories. And they can be or indeed from many aspects pure entertainment when not sources for human consolation, a balm to the sorrows of earthly passage.

    But there are commercial angles to the entertainment aspect of rebirth, reincarnation, resurrection, a lot of people make a lot of money from the belief of others in these ideas.

    All religious workers who deal with the dying and the dead and prepare them for their watch, post death existence and their possible return in one way or another, they do very good profit generating businesses. They are professionals, do a professional job; and like many a professional like lawyers and accountants, they don't believe in the ideals of their professions.

    The Catholic Church used to prohibit cremation, because of the resurrection of the body; of course Catholics know the adage "From dust thou art, to dust thou shalt return".

    If not for beliefs in rebirth, reincarnation, resurrection, there would be missing so much of commercial activities bringing employment and of course sizable revenues to enterprising people.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  4. samabudhi

    samabudhi New Member

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    Those religions see evolution as a threat because they are based on dogma, not principles. They emphasise the absolute nature of the Bible. They take it completely literally. Whether we are the result of evolution or we are the result of evolution manifested by God is irrelevent. It is simply because it wasn't stated in the Bible that they disclaim it. Like, if God didn't explicitly say it, it can't be true. The concept of evolution is a result of our own experiments and not handed down knowledge. It undermines the church's power if you draw your own conclusions. What purpose is there left for the church if you could find out everything by yourself. The motives are purely political.

    I don't think they are pure fantasy. I think they are metaphors for processes which people back in the past and simply people of today can and could not explain by rational thought. The idea of karma is a simile of what happens with each waking thought. The Buddha said that each moment we are born and we die. It is easy to judge something like reincarnation as primitive ignorance. Perhaps we, like many others who have heard about it and passed it on (without comprehending it fully) just misunderstand the idea and take it too literally, just like those who have taken the Bible too literally and effectively sentenced the Christian tradition to it's end.

    There are so many people who say that the religion they follow is correct but that it is just misunderstood by the masses. I hear this a lot from the Muslims. The effects of this can be seen in the multitude of schisms in the Abrahamic traditions. All the time they miss the point and with great zeal seek to convert the heathens rather than understand their point of view.

    Old world traditions like shamanism are open-ended. Nothing is set in stone. There is no place for feelings of superiority or arrogance to arise as everything is seen in equality so long as it's aims are good. Despite wanting peace and happiness look how easily modern man fights. People will die over a strip of desert. Not even that! They will sentence their children, the people they live with, the people on the other side of the river or across the Atlantic, to an eternity of suffering over some trivial aspect of life.

    Life is about choices. Choices are about priorities. Modern man has lost his priorities. He is well and truly clueless and despite learning something everyday (as the saying goes), continues to presume that he knows it all.
     
  5. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    No choice but to be humble

    Samabudhi, you say: I think they are metaphors for processes which people back in the past and simply people of today can and could not explain by rational thought.

    Then, according to you rebirth, reincarnation, resurrection, and similar entities are processes. I would like to ask you where these processes are taking place in terms of time and place and people or entities the processes occur in and to, just from your musing or whatever way you can think about them.

    The Buddha said that each moment we are born and we die.

    That's obvious. Buddha discovered that; but everyone like me knows that, even without Buddha.

    Life is about choices. Choices are about priorities. Modern man has lost his priorities. He is well and truly clueless and despite learning something everyday (as the saying goes), continues to presume that he knows it all.

    Choices and priorities, I know that, and in all humility; also people like me. No, I don't presume I know it all, otherwise why would I be here in this forum, even feeling all the time that my posts may be deleted, I would be given a warning, or I may suddenly be blocked or 'banned'.

    I don't know about other modern men, but for me and I know others like me, I am not clueless. I know where I am going.

    And since I got born into Christianity and grew up in it, I still opt to continue in the luxury of taking God and Jesus with some attention; although I guard my liberty and inquisitive mind most jealously from any fellow humans who might want to tell me what to do with my liberty and how to use my mind.

    On the other hand, I don't have any trouble joining in any religious observances of other people, provided I am at least tolerated there.


    To my vanity, I am happy that someone like you, Samabudhi, reads my messages and even better, reply to them however they do it.

    As Vajradhara has taught me: IMAHO, Samadbuhi man.

    Let's have a giggle together, alright?

    Giggle giggle giggle giggle giggle giggleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.....

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  6. samabudhi

    samabudhi New Member

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    In your mind.

    I don't think you understand. Each waking moment, that means each instance of consciousness, we are born and we die, born, die, born, die. As fast as a thought enters into our mind, it leaves or transmutes, which is still dieing since it ceases to be what it was.

    Fancy that.

    This clinging to liberty and jealosy tells me immediately that you are not where you think you are. The whole idea of ignorance is that you don't know you're in it.

    I'm happy you're happy.

    There is something, and I hope your sense of liberty won't get in the way here, but the reason I think you feel like you're scaling the edge of the code of conduct all the time (not that I've read many of your posts) is that you lack sensitivity - a problem, which I'm sure you could find examples of in this very forum (check the Islam sector (where the real action always is in forums) for mine), we both share.
    They should suspend me for such bad grammar.
     

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