Saturday, May 8, 2010

Darwinism and Buddhism

Question (Unedited):
Hi, according to Darwin, certain aggresive tendencies, anger for one, are instrinsic and even help with survival of the species.  These tendencies are therefore "natural"  Yet Buddhism speaks of "compassion"  These two characteristics are incompatible.  Isn't Buddhism, therefore, against human nature?
Man may do wrong out of ignorance.  But this may be natural for the species, even a species that can reason.  Can you please address these issues?

My comment: 
Hi M...,

Welcome back.

You like to dwell in intellectual analyses.  When we start to compare different ideas from different sources, we will inevitably face with contradictions.  We create further problems when we try to rationalize and/or to fit them together like a jigsaw puzzle.  This approach never gives satisfactory conclusions, especially when one source is flawed.   

Darwin's thesis was about the survival of the fittest, and selective evolution.  He explained about the natural instinct of survival, which is natural.  He was not explaining the cause(s) for this natural phenomenon.  He simply stated the facts from his observation and research of what was happening to life in this world.

The Buddha on the other hand was concerned about finding truth of existence.  He pointed out the horrors of surviving in this imperfect world, which was also Darwin's contention.  The Buddha did not stop there.  He discovered the cause of our existence, and provided the path for liberation from this unsatisfactory (and often horrific) existence.

If we are to maintain this "human nature" we will be caught in the web of suffering in this type of existence.  The three evil roots of human nature; greed, hatred and delusion are the resulting forces that drag us along in our rounds of birth and death.  

There is nothing wrong or contradictory in your comments.  It's a matter of realizing the Buddha's revelation and to make a choice.  The outcome will depend on your decision.

Smile from justinchoo :-)

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