Friday, July 4, 2008


Question: (unedited):
How do Buddhists view extraterrestrials? The possibility of life elsewhere in the universe? Thank you very much!

My comment:
The Buddha’s explanation of the universe was what the present scientists found out to be. He divided the process of "creation" (for lack of better word) into four stages...formation, existence, degeneration, and destruction. Upon destruction, all the material elements returned to their original base elements, and after a long long time, they began to group together and the process of formation would start again. So you can understand, that the whole process is a cycle, and has no beginning or ending. These forces of "formation, existence, degeneration and destruction" are universal throughout the entire cosmic space which has no ending. Time is a non factor, it has no meaning in this cosmic display of life cycle. Space is also a non entity; it is just void.

At any point in time there is this incessant cycle of creation, existence, degeneration and destruction of stars, planets, and even galaxies! Space has no ending, which can be better described as void. The Buddha called our galaxy, Cakkavala. Cakka meaning wheel or spiral. Our galaxy is spiral in shape. The whole universe, the Buddha called it Loka Dhatu, meaning, world of elements. In this endless void, there exists countless galaxies. The size and distance of these galaxies are beyond our human imagination and understanding! Our earth world is just an insignificant speck of dust in this whole unimaginable universe of cosmic existence! As a law of probability alone, if such an insignificant speck of dust can support life, what about the others in this gigantic display of cosmic drama! The answer to both your questions is that Buddhists know that there exists extraterrestrials; but very very very far away.

In many of the Buddha's discourses there was always the mention of beings from 10,000 world systems gathered to listen to him. The Buddha also revealed that in our world alone there were 31 planes of existence (life forms). Humans and animals are 2 planes that we can see. The others, such as ghosts and higher plane beings, we cannot see with our limited vision. All are subject to this universal cycle of formation, existence, degeneration, and ultimate destruction; and the cycle repeats itself ad infinitum.

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