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Buddhists/Evolution Question


There seems to be some kind of guiding intelligence behind evolution.  Is there anything in Buddhist teachings that would explain this phenomena?

For example: How do spiders know how to build a spider web?  How do bees know how to build a bee hive?  How did birds develop the ability to fly?  How did beavers develop the intelligence to  build dams, and beaver lodges?  There so many other examples.  It doesnít seem like these abilities could have evolved by chance alone.

Hi Jim,

Thanks for asking these age-old questions.  I like answering this type of questions because it is very easy as they really don't have answers that can be proven 100% correct. Humans are intellgent thinking beings and it is natural that they want to seek answers for everything in the world.  The big problem comes when there are really no answer to many "down-to-earth" questions like the ones you asked.  So where do we go from here?  

The Westerners or Caucasians are used to the concept of the all-powerful God.  And with this concept of "God" all these seemingly difficult questions seem to fall neatly into place when the belief that God is responsible for everything.  Many millions of intelligent humans can accept this explanation.  But there are also many billions who don't subscribe to this type of "one size fits all" hype.

In the Buddhist perspective, one is reminded that relying on human intelligence alone will not get all the answers.  The brain has limited capabilities to know all.  What we can see and discern can be resolved through intelligent reasoning and research.  But beyond the physical realities, the brain has no mechanism to know the unknowable.  In Buddhism there is this very important factor called the consciousness which not only drives and directs the brain but also goes beyond human intelligence. The Buddha had successfully harnessed the power of this consiousness to the ultimate level that he was able to penetrate through time and space, and to understand the workings of the whole universe, of which the Earth is just a very minute entity existing in the unfathomable vastness of countless universes!  He explained the nature of the vast macrocosm of the universe and also the minute microcosm of human beings on how the consciousness operates.  Sometimes the word "consciousness" is substituted by "mind".  Unless we have the capability of transcending the power of the brain and expand our consciousness to the infinite, there is no way we can find "solid" proof of the truth of the answers to questions like those you ask.   In the end, one can only "Believe" or for Buddhists, to analyze and "see for oneself" whether the Buddha's explanations are logical and acceptable.  If not acceptable, then also not a problem.  Then the person can go on searching for the "real" answers until the end of his or her life.

Be that as it may, this is the Buddhist answer to your questions.  The whole universe from the very minute to the very vast has one common denominator, that is, in a state of continuous moving flux.  Nothing is static, and everything is in perpetual state of change.  The only permanent feature is this continuous change taking place in every single thing. Any scientist will confirm this fact. This is the answer to "evolution".  Charles Darwin's observation was correct. The whole universe is composed of energies, binding together in perfect synchronization.  Beings (humans and creatures alike)are also formed from energies. Look at a dead body, no energy no life.  So; is there a "guiding intelligence"?  Depending on how you want to perceive this "guiding intelligence". If you think this "guiding intelligence" is "God" then God it is.  Buddhists consider all life processes as a phenomenon.  Dictionary meaning;"a fact, occurrence, or circumstance observed or observable."  We do not go beyond this definition by asking who or what causes these "observable" activities.  We also do not take them as evolved "by chance".  They just evolve; "phenomenon"!

Another "easy" way to answer the "why" questions is to ask ourselves,"Why not?"

Justin Choo  


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Justin Choo


All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.


I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ and my blog posting at

I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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