A Rabbi, a Sikh priest and a Buddhist monk

So there was a time, a rabbi, a sikh priest and a Buddhist monk (me!) was at an interfaith sharing for youths.  After each of us have shared about our respective religion, a youth stood up and ask

“In light of Evolution Theory, what does Judaism have to say about it?”

The rabbi leaned forward, held up the Torah in one hand, and with the other in a firm gesture, said:

“As far as the Holy book is concerned, God created the world in seven days.  Period”.  And with that, he leaned back.  No persuasion, no argument, just that.

There was a moment of awkward silence.

The facilitator quickly thank the rabbi and extended the question to the Sikh priest and then on to me.

While I do not agree with the rabbi’s belief, or more correctly, do not subscribe to his belief, I respect him for sticking to the text as it is.  No politically correct message, cherry picking or reading between the lines.  There’s always the problem of reading things too literally all the time, but that’s another article altogether.

… what we know is that if the monkey loses its prized possession “banana”, it gets upset …

There is sometimes confusion about Darwin’s Evolution Theory (DET), thinking that it explains how life started.  It does not.  DET explains how the plethora of species come about, evolved from single cellular living organism.  Abiogensis theories attempts to explain how life started from non-living matter.

Throughout history, mankind has been quite concerned with how this world started and how it will end.  Religions have offered different answers for this and it often involves one or more divine being while science over the centuries has come up with its own set of theories.

Personally, I do not know how the world come about.  I do not know.  But if we look at the Buddha’s discovery and teachings, it is said that there is no discernible beginning, that we have been wandering in births and deaths through our karma.  Conceptually, I agree with it, but personally, I have not reached that level of cultivation to be able to say that I know it is so.

For most people, as far as religion is concerned, it is the same.  Most people do not know as well.  They learn it from their respective holy text and accept it … on faith.  There is really nothing wrong with having faith, except if we impose that onto others or start fighting and killing over beliefs.

But I did not quite share the last paragraph that day.  Perhaps I should have.

Anyway, the thing we know is this.  Today, if you go to MacRitchie Reservoir park and find a monkey with a banana … … do not try to snatch its banana or peanut for that matter.  You will get an angry monkey.  (You will probably go down in history as the first person to snatch a banana from a monkey, but I digress)

That much we know.  It does not matter how the monkey come into being.  Whether it evolved from single cellular cell, or was created by God or Gods (which God?), or was planted on earth by Martians or some alien beings, or if it was designed by some Intelligent Designer, what we know is that if the monkey loses its prized possession “banana”, it gets upset.

That much we know.

If we lose our prized possessions that we become sad, upset, anguished, depressed, even as others look at our prized possessions as mere ‘banana’.  And it does not matter how we come about.  This is how we are currently.  That we suffer when the things we are attached to is damaged or lost and it does not matter how we came about, whether we were created, designed, through abiogenesis+DET or otherwise.

That much we know.

Buddhism is more concerned with how suffering arises and cease, than how this world come about and cease.

The Dharma is not a dogma that we simply have to accept blindly on faith.  It is an invitation to examine our life, our world, our suffering, the things that tick us off, make us cry, shed tears and weep.  But not just that, also the things that make smile, turn our heads, delight, crave and desire.

To know suffering, it’s origin, the true end of Suffering, and the path that leads to the end of suffering.

Ehi Passiko.  Come and see for yourself.


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