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
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
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.