Buddhism and the Origin of Life Essay Example
Buddhism and the Origin of Life Essay Example

Buddhism and the Origin of Life Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (854 words)
  • Published: November 19, 2016
  • Type: Essay
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Buddhism is a religious and social philosophy which was founded by Siddhartha Gautama in the 5th century bc. He was the son of a noble from the northern part of India who became obsessed with finding the answer to the question of human suffering. He left his family, wife, son and a life of privileged comforts to go live in the forest in an effort to find the answer to the question that so tormented him. He lived in the forest for six years practicing extreme asceticism (The practice of self punishment and torture) and starvation.

He almost died due to the extreme conditions he was putting himself through. This was when he concluded the answer to his question could not be found in this manner. It was after this that he found the answer while sitting under a fig


tree. He started calling himself “The Enlightened One” and went around teaching people what he called the “Middle Way”. His teachings are what are today the basis of Buddhism. Buddhism states that every man in the universe is his own lord, controls his own destiny and is not controlled by any other man or any supernatural God.

This means that it fundamentally disagrees with the idea of Supernatural involvement in the process of creation as it does not recognize the presence of any one deity . Thus it disagrees with the Christian, Jewish and Moslem point of view. Although the Buddhism philosophy disagrees with the theory of Intelligent Design (creation by a supernatural deity), it does not contradict the theory of Evolution thus many Buddhists agree with it. However, questions about

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the origin of life and the size of the universe are under The 14 Unanswerable Questions which the Buddha described as counterproductive in the search to self-liberation.

As a result, many Buddhists do not think about these kinds of questions as meaningful to the Buddhist goal of relieving oneself and others from suffering. When a potential follower asked the Buddha for an answer to the problem of cosmogony (Any scientific theory concerning the coming into existence or origin of either the cosmos or universe and the so-called reality of sentient or rational beings), He replied by saying “Suppose someone was hit by a poisoned arrow and his friends and relatives found a doctor able to remove the arrow.

If this man were to say “I will not have this arrow taken out until I know whether the person who had shot it was a priest, a prince or a merchant, his name and his family. I will not have it taken out until I know what kind of bow was used and whether the arrowhead was an ordinary one or an iron one. ” That person would die before all these things are ever known to him. ”This further reiterates Buddha’s’ position on the matter, that our immediate mission is to be enlightened and not to speculate on the metaphysical which we are unlikely to find the answers to.

Although he states that the question is unnecessary in the quest to Enlightenment, The Buddha appears to give a highly detailed answer to this issue. This is found in the Agana Suta which is in the Pali Canon . The Pali Canon is

the standard collection of scriptures in the Theravada Buddhist tradition as preserved in the Pali Language . It is the most complete extant early Buddhist canon. The Buddha, speaking to ;Vasettha who was a former high priest or Brahmin ; goes on to present a model of cosmology that describes the universe expanding and contracting over extremely long periods of time.

This description has been found by some to be consistent with the Big Bang Theory and the Expanding Universe model. The Buddha seems to be saying in the Agana Suta that the universe expands outward, reaches a stable point and then turns its motion back to a central point and is thus destroyed . This process is then repeated infinitely . As this process is repeated, the objects within the universe go through periods of development and change over those long periods of time, according to the environment the find themselves in.

This is often interpreted as a very rough theory of Evolution. The Agana Suta creates an important question as to whether the question of Origin of Life really is meaningless or not. The answer to this question can be that Buddha likened his teachings to a doctors’ medicine to cure a patients suffering . The medicine must be of the right content and right amount to the right patient at the right time. Thus there is no absolute truth as there is no single, absolute cure-all medicine fitting all patients.

This is why he may have given Vasettha; the former Brahmin; the answer above, as he may have considered him close-minded due to his former education as a high

priest in the Hinduism religion. In conclusion, Buddhists are taught that they do not need to know the origin of life, nor agree with the Buddha’s position on scientific topics in order to achieve the desired result which in this case is the state of Enlightenment.

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