Science and the Heaven of Light-Sound
Q: Buddhism says that the first ancestor of mankind came from the Heaven of Light-Sound. Doesn't this conflict with modern scientific theory? For example, in science the theory of evolution says the most primitive microorganisms, undergoing progressive changes through hundreds of billions of years, gradually evolved into apes, and finally into humans. Does this agree with Buddhism?
A: People came to the
earth from the Heaven of Light-Sound. Their coming wasn't just seven hundred
billion years ago. Perhaps such a situation already existed seven thousand
trillion years ago. When the gods from the Heaven of Light-Sound came to this
world, they were no longer that perfect and had already lost their wisdom. Why?
For the same reason that people lose their wisdom when they get reborn. In the
beginning, there were no humans in this world, and it was still undeveloped, an
indistinguishable mass, like a chicken egg. The gods flew to the world like
flies, thinking there was something good to eat here. To get from the Heaven of
Light-Sound to the earth, they probably had to travel a long time, just as now
it takes a long time for a satellite launched into space to enter its orbit,
perhaps several years in human time. The gods didn't come to the earth for any
special reason. They had been travelling and had lost their compass, so they
were in quite a flurry when they got to the earth. When they reached the earth,
they were not as intelligent as they had been in the heavens. All they had left
was a perceptive nature. They weren't as perfect and whole as when they were in
the heavens. In the same way, a person may be very intelligent, but when he dies
and gets reborn as a child again, he will have forgotten all about his previous
life. It is also like those victims of car collisions who fall into a coma and
become totally stupefied.
Although it's said that they
came from the Heaven of Light-Sound, they gradually lost their original virtue
and wisdom and only had a little bit of perceptive ability left. Although they
are said to have come from the Heaven of Light-Sound, only a few came, and
ultimately no one knows how many. No one can verify when they came either. There
are no historical records to consult, nor is there much basis for this theory.
As for the so-called science,
there is no real thing called science. People just made up the name "science"
and called it that. It's actually just a body of theories. Is this kind of
reasoning perfect or not? It depends on each person's perspective and faculty of
understanding. Some people understand it. Others have not studied science
before, and do not understand science. Does that mean the people who haven't
studied science before lack that kind of reasoning in their own nature? No.
Regardless of whether you've studied science or not, that kind of reasoning
exists in your nature. You cannot say that if someone has studied science, then
he has the ability to understand science, and if he hasn't studied science, then
he doesn't have the ability to understand science. It's the same with the
Buddha-nature; everyone has it in his own nature.
Science is only a small part
of the Buddha-nature, and it is not a very complete kind of reasoning. You may
say people are doing such and such research in science, and writing about such
and such theories, but actually, those are just the upside-down attachments of
people. They are as if "adding a head on top of a head." Having nothing to do,
they look for something to keep them busy. Busily doing this and that, they
never discover anything. They study science, investigating back and forth, but
they never reach any real conclusions.
People become attached to science, thinking it's something special. In fact, it is all inherent in our nature, and you don't need to look outside. If you seek outside, you'll never find it. You may say it's real, but that's just the superficial. The real thing can neither be found nor spoken of. Basically, science doesn't exist. It's just called science because that's what we call it.