Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The theory of evolution and the Buddhist concept of ‘Karma’

Recollections from the Tibetan Book of the Dead

I have often heard among Tibetan intellectuals, a popular saying oft-repeated, “When the West was exploring the outer space, we (Tibetans) were exploring the inner space.” I am not able to attribute this to anyone although some literatures claim that it was said by the Dalai Lama in one of his interviews in a TV channel.

A western Astronaut can be compared with the Tibetan Psychonaut who explores the consciousness of an individual’s self. In Buddhism, the self is the emanation of various positive energies and negative energies manifesting as deities.

The seed of Buddha hood is right within us veiled by ignorance. A self becomes a Buddha when he ultimately understands selflessness or emptiness.

Most of our understanding on emptiness is either clouded or point blank mistaken. Siddhartha Gautama, who achieved this wisdom said this about enlightenment:

“For that which clingeth to another thing, there is a fall, but unto that which clingeth, not no fall can come, where no fall cometh, there is rest, and where rest it, there is no keen desire. When keen desire is not, naught cometh or goeth. Where naught cometh or goeth, there is no death. Where there is neither death nor birth, there neither is this world or that, nor in between – It is the ending of sorrow.”

The most interesting thing about Buddhism is how it draws parallels with western science. For instance, there is a connection being drawn between the western Theory of Evolution with the Buddhist concept of Karma.

The Theory of Charles Darwin on the origin of species posits that species mutate and evolve based on their behavior and the changing environment. Those with versatile ability and who can quickly adapt to their changing environments survives.

In the Buddhist concept of Karma, species evolve over different lifetimes. Their next shape, form and birth depend on their actions in the current lifetimes. Under the concept of karma, species evolve over many lifetimes in the six realms and once they achieve the ultimate wisdom, they become enlightened and join the God Word.

The universe cannot function without balance and this is where the Newtonian theory holds, where for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.